• The town of Templeton is within the bounderies of the former Rancho Paso de Robles, Mexican land grant.
  • Many people speculated and profited fro the combination of railroad construction and the breakup of the Spanish land grant ranchos. Chauncey H. Phillips was one of those. He came to San Luis Obispo County in 1871 to organize the first bank with other leaders of SLO County. Under his leadershiop, the bank withstood a number of challenges, including institutional consolidations, and the failure of the Bank of California in 1875. He retired from the bank after serving as its manager for 5 years. (Information from Joe Morris Historics Walking Tour of Templeton, 2/4/18)
  • C.H. Phillips was a member fo the West Coast Land Company, as were R.E. Jack and Morris Goldtree as well as 21 other merchants. This Company developed the bulk of San Luis Obispo County. As is documented in the Photos from the Vault, San Luis Obispo Tribune: 

“THE TRIUMPHANT SUCCESS of the West Coast Land Company in developing San Luis Obispo County has now become a matter of history and is a marvel in the development of the state. In plan, execution, and general results the work of the Company forms a brilliant exception to all other like undertakings. Beginning in 1884 with the purchase, subdivision and sale of the Huer Huero Ranch, and followed in 1865 by the purchase, subdivision and sale of the Paso Robles, Santa Ysabel and Eureka Ranches by the West Coast Land Company–comprising 100,000 broad acres of the Finest Section of the State for the production of Wheat, Oats, Barley, the vine, the Olive and all Deciduous Fruits–the six years have accomplished the settlement on these lands of five hundred fammilies of the most intelligent and enterprising of settler , have increased the population of the county ten thousand and the taxable wealth $10,000,000. In short have made out of an empire formerly used exclusively for sheep-grazing. A VERITABLE GARDEN OF EDEN”

  • Templeton was founded in 1886 when the West Coast Land Company surveyed 160 acres to set aside for a town site, as part of the land company’s larger purchase of 63,000 acres.

Pacific Rural Press, Volume 33, Number 15, April 1885:

“Extraordinary Offer of the West Coast Land Co… Town Lots in Templeton and Ranch Subdivisions to Go Under the Auctioneer’s Hammer. Notwithstanding the unprecedented success of the West Coast Land Company in the last four months, as evidenced by the sale of over 10,000 acres of farming land, in subdivisions of convenient size for men of moderate means, and the sale of town lots, which has, within the same period, built up the busy and flour milling town of Templeton from absolute nothingness, the owners of the property— which, less the sales of the last four months, embraces 64,000 acres—have decided to offer it all —town lots and farm lots— at public auction on the 14th, 15th, and 16th of April inst. Practically the property will be SOLD WITHOUT RESERVE…

  • The Chuancey Hatch Phillips Home can be seen on the north side of town. It is a large, graceful home of mixed Victorian architecture.

    Chaucey H. Phillips House, Templeton, CA

  • The town was originally, meant to be named “Crocker” after the V.P. of the Southern Pacific Railroad, however, it was named after Crocker’s son, Templeton, instead.
  • The town’s early success was largely related to the development of the Southern Pacific Railroad. From the time of its inception, until 1889, Templeton was the terminus of the railroad, and subsequently, it boomed! Within a few months of the railroad coming to town,

Templeton “contained one extensive and two smaller (but quite respectable) hotels, three general merchandise stores, a well-stocked drug store, a well-supplied meat market, a shoe shop, two blacksmith shops, five saloons, a billiard saloon, a large lumber yard, a sash and blind shop, several building and painting establishments, two barber shops, a public hall, a post office with daily mail service and 25 to 30 dwelling houses.”

  • In 1898, a fire destroyed much of the town and the orginal buildings have been rebuilt, but are well marked with hsitorical plaques. Since then, many of the buildings have been moved from their original sites.
  • Templeton posseses a lovely Lutheran church, which is oldest continuously used Lutheran Church in California.

Bethel Lutheran Church, Templeton, CA

  • In 1927, Highway 101 went straight through the middle of town on  Main Street.
  • In 1957, Highway 101 was re-routed about 0.5 miles west of downtown Templeton.
  • The history of the community is well-preserved by the Templeton Historical Museum Society.

Today’s Community

  • The town has about 8,000 people.
  • It retains the flavor of the Old West with common use of Western false front architecture on Main Street.
  • It has of the best Farmer’s Market’s, which occurs every Saturday in the park.
  • The Templeton Gap District AVA contains 22 wineries and a total of 834 planted wine grape acres.
  • Templeton Unified School District is an above average, public school district located in Templeton, CA. It has 2,447 students in grades K-12 with a student-teacher ratio of 23 to 1. According to state test scores, 45% of students are at least proficient in math and 61% in reading.

Books and References:

Anderson, Burton. The Salinas Valley: The History of the Salad Bowl. Monterey County Historial Society. 2000.

California Digital Newspaper Collection. Extraordinary Offer of the West Coast Land Co. Pacific Rural Press. April, 15, 1887. https://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=PRP18870409.2.29.1

Historic101.com, The New Home of Don wilson’s Highway 101 Project. http://www.historic101.com/Templeton/main.htm

Photos form the Vault. West Coast Land Company, When Land Was $15 an Acre. San Luis Obispo Tribune. May, 14, 1890. http://sloblogs.thetribunenews.com/slovault/2009/12/973/

Templeton Historical Museum Society. Early Templeton History. http://www.templetonmuseum.com/history.html

Wikipedia. Templeton. California. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templeton,_California