Literally everywhere you look in San Luis Obispo, California there is a reminder of the rich history belying the modern, bustling college town and food, wine and adventure destination.
You may be strolling down a busy street and pass the historic home of the county’s first winemaker, a California pioneer named Pierre Hypolite Dallidet.
You may be nodding your head at a reggae concert in an open plaza, without realizing that you’re leaning on a more than 200-year-old structure.
Driving down the high-volume Los Osos Valley Road, it may not be obvious that the name (locally shortened to just “L.O.V.R”) stems from the bears that once dominated over the native Chumash people in this valley, and on which the early missionaries once survived starvation.
Picking up Chinese Chop Suey from Mee Heng Lo’s, it may escape you that this is the Chinese district, founded by Ah Louis who led immigrant Chinese workers to burrow tunnels through the Grade for train tracks and build roads to the harbor in Avila Beach.
Roots go deep in San Luis Obispo.
But the community, made up of many families that have been here for multiple generations, is more than happy to tell you all about it. Just stop in at the free admission History Center and ask the docents for a guided tour of the exhibits, schedule a guided walking tour of downtown, or make an appointment with a librarian to get a glimpse of historic photos in the History Center basement.
Or if you’re more of a do-it-yourself type, download a free 90-minute podcast and see downtown through lens of the past.