Ghosts of Christmas Past

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Learn the history of Christmas, as well as the strange story of how it was celebrated in Old San Luis, as you stroll the holiday-bedecked streets. Find out how Jewish, Chinese, and Anglo merchants all played a part; where we got Christmas trees in this arid climate;...
SLO, the SP, 101, and the Beats

SLO, the SP, 101, and the Beats

Jami Cassady at Secret SLO holding her mother Carolyn’s 1991 painting of Jack Kerouac, based on a 1952 photograph taken shortly before Kerouac’s stay in San Luis Obispo Jack Kerouac’s original 1951 scroll of On the Road, 120 typewritten feet, mentions San Luis Obispo...
The Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road”

The Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road”

Jack Kerouac wrote On the Road in twenty coffee-fueled days in the New York spring of 1951, on eight long pieces of drawing paper he had inherited—along with his apartment and wife—from Bill Cannastra, an artist who died the previous autumn climbing out a subway train...
SLO County’s First Private Winemaker

SLO County’s First Private Winemaker

Original Zin and Original Sin: The Implausible Story of SLO County’s First Private Winemaker The Mission San Luis Obispo had a large wine vineyard of Mission grapes—the Spanish varietal Listán Prieto—possibly from the 1780s and certainly by 1800. Its forty acres...
Queenie Warden Bridge Dedicated Downtown

Queenie Warden Bridge Dedicated Downtown

On Friday, August 24, the city dedicated a plaque to Queenie Parr Warden, who in 1917, six years after women gained the vote in California, became the first woman to run for mayor of San Luis Obispo. The dedication is on the bridge built by and named for Queenie...
Mission to Mosque

Mission to Mosque

Trace two centuries of sacred architecture and religious communities—Christian, Jewish, and Muslim—from the Mission San Luis Obispo (1793) to the Mosque of Nasreen (2008). Find out how to interpret the visual symbols and learn about the lives of the...
Making Sense of the Madonna Inn

Making Sense of the Madonna Inn

San Luis Obispo has buildings by Julia Morgan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Richard Neutra, but the Madonna Inn is our most famous piece of architecture. It’s arguably better known than San Luis Obispo itself, and it may be the world’s most famous work of theme...
San Luis Obispo’s Fremont Theater and Ancient Greek Eye Candy

San Luis Obispo’s Fremont Theater and Ancient Greek Eye Candy

San Luis Obispo’s Fremont Theater and Ancient Greek Eye Candy In 1942 S. Charles Lee made one of the most outrageous experiments in architectural history, the Fremont Theater. Instead of recreating a Greek theater with dignified columns, friezes, and pediments around...
What Mission San Luis Obispo Looked Like in Its First Sixty Years

What Mission San Luis Obispo Looked Like in Its First Sixty Years

The date on the front of the Mission San Luis Obispo reads 1772, but what you see today took more than a half century to build—and another century for various parts to fall down, get demolished, burn, and finally be restored. Father Serra showed up in la Cañada de los...
Modern Masters of Architecture

Modern Masters of Architecture

Little San Luis, equidistant between San Francisco and Los Angeles, attracted some of the best architects from both, who gave us some of their most unusual work. Greek and Roman Revival interpreted through Streamline Moderne, Colonial Revival in stucco and tile, and...