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San Luis Obispo




an Luis Obispo (Spanish for St. Louis, the Bishop) is a city in California, located roughly midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on the Central Coast. Founded in 1772 by Spanish Fr. Junípero Serra, San Luis Obispo is one of California’s oldest communities. The city, referred to locally as San Luis or SLO, is the county seat of San Luis Obispo County and is adjacent to California Polytechnic State University. The population was 45,119 at the 2010 census.

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Most famous for it’s hikeable peaks, san luis is also home to hidden gems - like this fIeld of wildfLowers.

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Discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes. - Marcel Proust



History T

he earliest human inhabitants of the local area were the Chumash peoples. One of the earliest villages lies south of San Luis Obispo, and reflects the landscape of the early Holocene when estuaries came farther inland. These Chumash people exploited marine resources of the inlets and bays along the Central Coast and inhabited a network of villages including

sites at Los Osos and Morro Creek.

at 696 Monterey Street. The San Luis Obispo CarSan Luis Obispo negie Library was was also a popubuilt in 1905 with lar stop on both a grant of $10,000 U.S. Route 101 and from Andrew CarCalifornia State negie, who funded Route 1 with the the establishment rise of car culture. of 142 California Due to its populibraries in the larity as a stop, it early 1900s. The was the location Romanesque style of the first motel, building was dethe Milestone Mo- signed by archiTel. tect W. H. Weeks of Watsonville, Among San Luis California and was Obispo’s historical built by contractor buildings is the Joseph Maino of former San Luis San Luis Obispo Carnegie Obispo. Library, located


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Demographics T

he 2010 United States Census reported that San Luis Obispo had a population of 45,119. The population density was 3,489.4 people per square mile (1,347.3/km). The racial makeup of San Luis Obispo was 38,117 (84.5%) White, 523 (1.2%) African American, 275 (0.6%) Native American, 2,350 (5.2%) Asian, 65 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 1,973 (4.4%) from other races, and 1,816 (4.0%) from two


or more races. His- holds, out of which 3,178 (16.6%) had panic or Latino children under the of any race were age of 6,626 persons (14.7%). The Census reported that 43,937 people (97.4% of the population) lived in households, 967 (2.1%) SLO’s historic beauty lived in undeniable. non-institutionalized group quarters, and 215 (0.5%) were insti- 18 living in them, tutionalized. There 5,690 (29.6%) were 19,193 house- were opposite-sex

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married couples living together, 1,336 (7.0%) had a female householder with no husband present, 586 (3.1%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,104 (5.8%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 124 (0.6%) same-sex married cou-

ples or partnerships. There were 20,553 housing units at an average density of 1,589.5 per square mile (613.7/km), of which 7,547 (39.3%) were owner-occupied, and 11,646 (60.7%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was

1.6%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.7%. 17,225 people (38.2% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 26,712 people (59.2%) lived in rental housing units.

San Luis Obispo Racial Makeup

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Source: 2010 United States Census Naturally San Luis Obispo




he Madonna Inn is a famous local landmark. Established by Alex Madonna in 1958, the inn is famously eccentric. The Fremont Theater, a

historic Art Deco theater from the 1940s, still plays first run movies on the huge screen. Murals adorn the walls of the main theater while neon swirls

light the ceiling. The Palm Theatre boasts solar heating and is home to the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. Another destination is Bubblegum Al-

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ley. Since about 1960, people have been sticking chewed gum on the walls of this alley. The doctor’s office on the corner of Santa Rosa and Pacific streets is one of very few commercial buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. San Luis

also has a Carnegie Library which is now home to the San Luis Obispo County Historical Museum. A sculpture of a child and bear at the Mission in downtown San Luis Obispo. A fish was added after the photograph was taken.

Lots of mystery surrounds the “underground city”, or the series of tunnels that exists beneath the city. One of the largest Mardi Gras parades West of the Mississippi used to be held in San Luis Obispo, but it has been canceled

The sea, once it casts it’s spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever - Jacques cousteau

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celed in 1945 due to war rationing. It began as a show-andtell for students to display their projects. It traces its origins to the 1904 Farmer’s Institute and Picnic Basket. By the 1980s, as the college became “the most popular... university in the ANOTHER HIDDEN 19-campus CSU system”, Poly TREASURE. Royal began recently because drawing over of difficulties re100,000 people lated to crowd from throughout control and alcothe state, including hol consumption. 126,000 people in 1985. Concerts, Cal Poly’s open parties, and othhouse, Poly Royal, er entertainment was held annually were added and it from 1933 earned $3–4 milto 1990. It lion in revenue was can- for the city every


year. Following a “mini-riot” in 1989 at an off-campus apartment during Poly Royal, the events in 1990 would cancel the event “indefinitely.” Two nights of rioting on April 28–29 led to 127 arrests, over 100 injuries and 14 police injuries on top of “several hundred thousand dollars” worth of damage. A liquor store near campus, Campus Bottle, was destroyed by revelers demanding alcohol. The second night was much larger than the first as people were leaving a concert on campus and parties

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off-campus were broken up and revelers flooded the streets. Mayor Dunin called the events “the worst experience in the history of San Luis Obispo.” Af-

ter a meeting between Mayor Dunin and University President Warren Baker the following Monday, Poly Royal was canceled from that point forward. The

name Poly Royal returned in 2001 as “Open House Presents Poly Royal”, a scaled down version that was designed for students and parents.

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San Luis Obispo has been home of several other events, including a stop on the way of the Olympic Flame Relay, the Tour of California bicycle race, Cinco

is the development of Edna Valley into a well-known wine region. Just south of the city, people can spend an afternoon wine tasting several wineries in the

During Summer months, local residents and visitors congregate in the Mission Plaza for a free outdoor concert every Friday evening. The event is

beauty can even be found during slo’s dry season.

de Mayo celebrations, an annual Mozart festival, held every July, and a long-standing Christmas Parade. Another attraction


area with a very short drive. The wine region extends north beyond Paso Robles (30 miles north) and south to Santa Ynez (70 miles south).

called Concerts in the Plaza. Other noteworthy events include the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, Festival Mosaic, and the Plein Air Festival.

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San Luis Obispo hosts a Farmer’s Market every Thursday night from 6-9PM on Higuera Street, between Osos and Nipomo Streets. During this weekly event, the street is closed to vehicle traffic while vendors sell food and goods and various visual and music artists perform for the crowds.

Mission Plaza with their bikes. The bikers then go around on multiple circuits on the main streets of downtown adhering to the traffic laws (for the most part). The ride is considered a fun/social ride meant to encourage people to get back on their bikes and to have fun. Each Bike Happening has a theme and Since June 2000, a large portion the first Thursof the crowd is day of every in some costume month is The adherent to the Bike Happening theme. (also known as Bike Nite) in San One of the culLuis Obispo. Peo- tural focal cenple gather afters of San Luis ter the Farmer’s Obispo is the Market at the Christopher Co-

hen Performing Arts Center built on the Cal Poly Campus, which was constructed utilizing the donations of local businesses and individuals. The Performing Arts Center consists of multiple venues, including the original Spanos Theatre. The largest venue, Harmon Hall, seats 1,300. Many high school and college programs are scheduled. Local artists perform plays, music and dance. The addition of the Performing Arts Center attracts many touring performances

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which are usually not found in communities of comparable size to San Luis Obispo. The Summer of 2007 was the opening concert of the Forbes Pipe Organ, which was built elevated into a side wall of Harmon Hall and required the donation of a further $3 million for purchase and installation.


happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true - tupac shakur


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Paige Cross Magazine  

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