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;...
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...
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...
California Craftsman Style

California Craftsman Style

The West Coast borrowed the bungalow from Bengal and created the California Bungalow, an embodiment of “artistic beauty and cozy convenience” that spread across the world. The Craftsman bungalows of San Luis Obispo, of simple materials and muscular features, range...
Rise of a Railroad Town

Rise of a Railroad Town

Railroads were the United States’ key technology in the nineteenth century, able to move food, energy, and materials within our huge land mass. Once San Luis Obispo was no longer in the business of saving souls, it needed a way to get goods in and out, and that need...
Victorian Houses, Wild West Lives

Victorian Houses, Wild West Lives

San Luis Obispo transformed in the 1870s, when the new Pacific Coast Railway made redwood transported by coastal schooners easily available here. Wood fantasies in the Gothic, Italianate, Romanesque, Stick, Eastlake, Aesthetic, and Queen Anne styles popped up; exotic...