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First Atascadero News

January 22, 1916




L. D. Beckwith, Managing Editor

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This, the first issue of our Colony newspaper, comes just one year earlier than the general construction schedule originally placed it. In fact we are ahead of our schedule all down the line with the single exception of orchard planting. Rome was not built in a day, but the progress of the past year in the face of general conditions throughout the country, which brought almost every large undertaking, enterprise and industry to a standstill, has been little short of marvelous. Thus railroad construction during 1915 was practically nothing, being less than in any previous year since 1864, while nearly forty thousand miles of railroads were forced into receivership, representing a capitalization of seven hundred million dollars and an indebtedness of a billion and a half dollars. In the face of such financial conditions the Atascadero Colony was able to construct twenty-one miles of its water system, over sixty miles of its road system, surfacing seventeen miles of it; clear, plant and cultivate more than three thousand acres of orchards; construct and operate its brick plant and build eleven thousand dollars of spur tracks, build and equip the printery and nearly complete the great administration building, while one hundred and twenty-eight private homes were erected, on which the Holding Corporation advanced the owners’ loans of over eighty thousand dollarsIt will surprise some who have little, if any, appreciation of the facts, to know that those construction works have required to date a cash expenditure as follows:

Roads, curbs, gutters and bridges ...................$417,919.94

Water system, mains, pumps, etc. .....................232,304.46

Clearing for orchards.......................................... 361,077.69

Cultivating and planting orchards ....................... 292,912.92

Administration building ........................................135,676.00

Printery (exclusive of equipment) ..........................33,350.00

While the warehouse stock of materials and supplies is approximately $50,000.00, yet the total indebtedness, exclusive of the balance of the original purchase price of the Colony estate is less than the amount spent on roads and streets alone.

Now we are entering a new year and an astonishing era of general prosperity. This nation is today fabulously rich. Prices of everything are jumping up by leaps and bounds. We ourselves are placing a bond loan of two million dollars to immediately complete the construction of the remaining improvements. We have opened up a new and rich country, little known before the advent of the Atascadero Colony.We have lead the way to a new era of development of the great natural resources of this section and begun the day of intensive cultivation by the small landowner in place of vast estates owned by a single man and given over to cattle and hogs.

Under the original Atascadero plan, until the general improvements were completed, the purchasers were not to take up residence, the purpose being that they should not become resident in their new home until every convenience, comfort and advantage was first provided The opening of the Colony in advance of schedule meant that the first comers entering during the construction period would of necessity be obliged to meet more or less discomfort and lack of conveniences. The problem was, would they appreciate this fact, meet conditions courageously and help, or would they become a sore handicap and detriment to the construction? The answer has been a splendid response to requirements and a splendid spirit of helpfulness.

Another year, or at best two, and the great work of major construction will have been completed; the bond issue making it possible to do this year what was scheduled to take three more. Then the builders, the engineers and the construction staff will have done their part and move on to new fields, while the people themselves, the owners, will take possession of the structure that has been erected for them. Now we are in the midst of the first winter of Colony life. At this time a year ago there were three houses in our forty square miles and but one child on the estate. Today nearly a hundred children attend our schools and more than a hundred homes are occupied by their owners.

Today the first issue of the Atascadero newspaper makes its appearance. A year from today if it but follows the growth of everything else Atascaderian, it will be a daily paper with a circulation of many thousand. In our Colony the immutable law of progress will weed out any weak hearted, the unfit and the never-do-well and replace with stronger breed, but a spirit of mutual helpfulness, a kindly feeling that each after all must to some degree be his brother's keeper, has taken deep root.We are all human and each has his own peculiar problems to work out, but we can each give the other a kindly helpful word and all together unite in the one master effort to make Atascadero the best place to live in America.The spirit which grasps at any false report, which hearing something derogatory of a neighbor, hurries to spread it abroad and whisper it in a hundred ears, has no place in Atascadero. What is the grief of one of us is the pain of all of us, and high on Pine Mountain are enshrined the ancient graces “Speak no evil, Hear no evil, See no evil”.

It is the easiest thing in the world to tear down and destroy a good building or a good name or a good project, but oh so hard to build one up.A polecat twelve inches long can empty St. Paul's Cathedral of ten thousand sincere people devout in worship of their Maker.So one man or woman hearing an evil report, which in their own heart they know to be false, and who seizing it eagerly, hurries about to spread it in a hundred whispers, calling aside a neighbor to say “Oh! did you hear or read about so and so?”and then dropping the poison into new veins and channels, can be greater menace and injury to a whole community than even an earthquake. The Atascadero Colony by its very plan has enlisted a great body of people of more than average intelligence and courage and its creed is: “We will keep our faces to the sunshine and we will not see the shadows."

Soon the few short weeks of life-giving rains will have passed and eight months of glorious California sunshine stretch ahead of us.One thing of importance, not perhaps realized, will have been accomplished in those few short weeks: the bringing out of the real courage and helpfulness of many strong, fine, souls, and the uncovering of the week links in the chain.Thereal leaders of the social, economic and human fellowship of this community are coming quietly to the front. E. G. L.

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