San Luis Obispo began—and persists—as the Northern Chumash village of tilhini. We’ll talk about the complex Chumash culture, hear the words of early Spanish visitors, and learn the terrible costs of this meeting of peoples. Walking the mission and surrounding adobes, we’ll explore the real history of these buildings and hear the stories of the outcasts who lived nearby in Barrio del Tigre. We’ll also experience the sites and events of the dramatic American takeover.

A visit to the few remaining buildings of Chinatown reveals a compelling history of injustice and triumph, followed by a stroll down the historic thoroughfare of Monterey Street. Once part of El Camino Real, which was originally a coastal Indian trading trail, Monterey Street takes us in a few blocks from the cast iron architecture of the 1880s to the Streamline Moderne of the 1940s and one of the most unusual buildings in the Greek Revival movement, a neon movie palace.