About the Colony

Putting a bow on city’s centennial

Lon Allan
Lon Allan

Last night was the final meeting of the Centennial Committee, which was composed of about a dozen civic leaders who wanted to put together a celebration of the city’s 100th anniversary in 2013.

The purpose of that meeting was to distribute some money left over from the city’s 10-month celebration to a few local organizations, such as the Colony Days Committee or the Atascadero Historical Committee.

The group, headed up by Atascadero Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Lindy Hendy, had been meeting for almost a year. Members of the committee represented Atascadero Mutual Water Co., AAUW, Quota, Kiwanis, Rotary, Colony Days, Atascadero Community Church and private individuals .

For example, the group that produced the two-act musical based on Atascadero’s history in July was represented on the Centennial Committee.

What started me thinking last night was asking the question, “How did it go?”

The answer would have to be that it was a resounding success. As Atascadero is closing out its 100th birthday year, it looks much better than it did this time one year ago.

Just stand in the middle of the Sunken Gardens and look around.

The fencing around the City Administration Building is gone, replaced by the beautifully restored city hall. Surrounding that building are four water fountains that hadn’t flowed in more than 60 years.

East Mall has been opened once again to vehicular traffic, and the parking lot in front of the Historical Society’s Colony House/Museum is open.

It probably won’t be too long until the old school buildings are removed from the site now that the building management firm is through using them. I predict the brick building that housed the old airconditioning unit for city hall will be demolished as well in the next year.

The solid piece of Carrara marble statue is back on its pedestal after a quarter-million-dollar restoration, and a new community clock now occupies a front corner of the gardens, where at one time a service station was built in the 1950s. Fortunately, the plan to “develop” the Sunken Gardens was stopped when people realized they might lose the gardens forever.

Out at Atascadero Lake is the Centennial Bandstand, built at a cost of $125,000 by Atascadero Kiwanis Club as that group’s gift to the 100-year-old city.

The Sunken Gardens Christmas lights illuminate a successful community effort to celebrate the very colorful history of a town that turned 100 years of age through the vision of one and the work of many.

Lon Allan’s column is special to The Tribune. He has lived in Atascadero for nearly five decades and his column appears here every week. Reach Allan at 466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net .