Take a trip back in time at the Templeton Museum
–Do you know why Templeton became a “boom” town in the late 1800s? Do you know what the first store building was in Templeton? Do you know why the army came right through downtown Templeton in the early 1900s? Do you know when the first class graduated from Templeton High School?
You can find the answers to these questions and more with a visit to the Templeton Historical Museum at 309 South Main Street. Look on the south side of the street for the little white house, sitting slightly back from the street. The museum is fulfilling its mission to collect, preserve and exhibit artifacts relating to the history of Templeton and the area. Browse through the tabletop display of local historic photographs and Templeton High School yearbooks. Check out a wall telephone, a vintage refrigerator (a great invention, following the icebox), a stove that used either gas or wood to supply the heat for cooking, a wringer washing machine, and much more.
Behind the house is a railroad depot warehouse that houses a horse-drawn buggy, a 1925 Model T Ford car, a baggage cart, and other items. The cart is now loaded with a new display of interesting old railroad items, collected by a local railroad enthusiast.
The dream of a museum began with the Templeton Chamber of Commerce in 1981, but it wasn’t until seven years later that the dream started to become a reality with the donation of property by Al and Carla Willhoit. When the Templeton Presbyterian Church enlarged their facilities, they had a house to move, and they donated it to the museum. The museum has been open to the public since 1998. In 2001, Andrew Charnley donated Templeton’s railroad warehouse to the museum.
Al Willhoit’s brother, Neil, in 2004, left a substantial bequest to the museum. Because of that gift and a generous offer by Robert Tullock Jr., the museum was able to purchase the former blacksmith shop building next door. The shop buzzes with activity most Thursday mornings when a group of men, under the leadership of a Paso Robles dentist and Model A enthusiast Dave Krill, gather to restore a 1933 Ford Templeton school bus.
To immortalize the names of family, friends and/or events, the museum erected a “Wall of Honor.” Bricks are installed along a wall in the courtyard adjacent to the museum. Bricks are available in two sizes and range in price from $75 to $125. To order a brick, contact board member Greg O’Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are invited to help support the museum by becoming a member, with nominal dues, starting at $10 for a retired individual to $200 for a lifetime membership. Members receive a copy of the quarterly newsletter, and they are invited to attend quarterly potluck dinner meetings in the depot warehouse, followed by a program of local interest.
The museum is staffed by volunteers three afternoons each week—Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 1 – 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information visit www.TempletonMuseum.com.