Take a step back in time and visit the Cambria of yesteryear at the Historical Society’s Walking Tour. Learn about Cambria’s fascinating history deeply rooted in the old west. This coastal hamlet was not always the quaint artist’s community that it is today. Established in the 1800s, Cambria’s harsh landscape and rugged terrain made settling here a challenge. It took a special breed of pioneer to harness the Wild West. Early Cambrians were some of the original frontiersmen whose grit, tenacity and determination helped shape the Cambria of today.
With early roots in farming, ranching, mining and the lumber industries, Cambria grew to become a bustling hub of the Central Coast as region’s center for supplies and services. By 1880, Cambria had grown to be the second biggest town in San Luis Obispo County. But the growth was not without its challenges. From the great fire of 1889 to the sinking of the Montebello by a Japanese submarine during WWII, Cambria has overcome adversity and grown into a thriving coastal community.
The Historical Society’s self-guided tour will allow you to see East Village through the eyes of early Cambrians. Visit the historic buildings and lavish homes of Cambria’s founding families, restored and now operating as thriving businesses. You’ll learn the history of some the area’s oldest structures.
Tour the San Luis Obispo County’s first Catholic Church, the Santa Rosa Chapel and Cemetery, where stars like Bing Crosby and Gary Cooper attended services as guests of William Randolph Hearst. Stop by The Blue Bird Inn, originally the residence of prominent Cambria merchant George Lull and his wife Mary. It’s rumored that Mary’s ghost can still be seen roaming the halls at night. Or check out Camozzi’s Bar and Hotel (once known as Mariano’s Saloon), the site where bartender Tony Mariano was shot and killed for slapping his neighbor’s face after an argument over fence lines. From land speculators to bootleggers to professional gamblers, Cambria’s past is full of colorful characters that bring the Wild West to life.
Are you a history buff? Try your hand at our Cambria Historical Crossword Puzzle!
Over the years, the picturesque village of Cambria has grown into a favorite destination for a seaside retreat. From past presidents to glamorous stars Hollywood’s bygone era, Cambria has been host to society’s elite and travelers from around the world. The walking tour is a must see for anyone interested in California history.