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History on the SLO CAL Coast


Cruise back in time as you traverse Highway 1 along the scenic SLO CAL coast. From illuminating lighthouse tours to Hearst’s famous castle overlooking the Pacific, the region’s rich history is revealed with every ebb and flow of the tide. Sure, the whaling ships and Dune-dwelling poets may be long gone, but they’ve left behind something far more valuable than whale oil or abalone. Each piece of SLO CAL’s historical tapestry adds fresh perspective to your experience today.


Get lost in time and love every moment of it. The History and Heritage Trail offers up a useful interactive map detailing landmarks along Highway 1 designed to bring visitors face to face with SLO CAL’s remarkable coastal roots. You’ll discover bygone relics as you step into someone else’s shoes: Perhaps a brave lighthouse keeper living on a rocky point, a Native Californian fishing with generations of inherited knowledge, or a visionary clipper ship captain looking out to sea off a newly built pier.


Get a historical view of Cambria on two feet when you visit one of Cambria‘s oldest homes, the Guthrie-Bianchini House. Built in 1870 by Thomas Clendinen, it is now the home of the Cambria Historical Museum. The stately old building sits on the corner of Burton Drive and Center Street in Cambria’s East Village, the perfect place to while away an afternoon window shopping. The original house, a small “salt box,” was sold in 1882 to Benjamin Franklin (rumored to be a relative of that Benjamin Franklin). From the Historical Society, you can embark on your own walking tour of Cambria, a quiet seaside town with a rich history dating back to the 1860s. You’ll visit 26 historic structures along your way, including the old cemetery, a Chinese Temple, the mid-1800s Santa Rosa Chapel, the old jailhouse, and more.

Check it out: The best part? All this history can be enjoyed from the street, free of charge. Visit the Historical Society for more information.

Cambria Historical Museum


First, you’ll admire the stunning oak tree in the front yard, believed to be 250 years old. It kind of makes the home—built in 1889—look new! The first resident medical doctor in Arroyo Grande, Dr. Edwin Paulding, lived in this home after settling in the area circa 1882. He soon married Clara Edwards, and the couple were overjoyed to deliver their daughter, Ruth—right there in old home place. The story comes full circle, as Ruth—a beloved teacher in the Arroyo Grande community—passed at the age of 93 in the same house that she was born in.

Check it out: Docents are available to answer your questions at the Paulding House by appointment. The house is also open to the public the first Saturday of the month from noon to 3 p.m. Call 805-473-3231 for more information.

Paulding History House, Arroyo Grande


Kick back in SLO CAL’s original coastal hangout. The Captain James Cass House, located in downtown Cayucos, has been many things to many people. The house was built between 1867 and 1875, when Cayucos had little to offer—thus, the dwelling became the social center of the community throughout the late 1800s. At that time, the town boasted a single storefront (owned by Captain Cass), a warehouse, one private dwelling and the now historic pier (all of the building materials were transported by ship along the coast from San Francisco). Now, the house is still buzzing, believe it or not. With a restored inn, restaurant and bakery, the old captain’s quarters are as lively as ever.

Check it out: The Cass House Bakery is open Thursday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and the restaurant will be open for community nights each Monday beginning March 2020. For more information, or to book a room, contact Cass House directly.