NewsLocal NewsCelebrating 70 Years


Significant events to highlight in 1953 as KSBY marks its 70th anniversary

Posted at 10:35 AM, May 18, 2023

As KSBY celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, we take a look back at other local milestones along the Central Coast that are also celebrating 70 years.

1953 was a special year on the Central Coast.

KSBY launching its first newscast in San Luis Obispo is just one of the major milestones seen that year.

Let’s start our trip down memory lane at the corner of Broad and Monterey streets in downtown San Luis Obispo.

The Historical Society of San Luis Obispowas founded as a non-profit to take ownership of the historical site Dallidet Adobe and Gardens, which was deeded to the organization in 1953.

“Our responsibility, our role, is to collect and preserve San Luis Obispo county’s history,” said Thomas Kessler, History Center of San Luis Obispo County.

The non-profit now operates it and runs the nearby museum that houses thousands of artifacts from our region.

“We have a collection of over 100,000 objects,” said Kessler. “Having an institution that not just stores it - but maintains it, for people who have questions, for people who are writing books, for people who are just curious about their ancestors or the home that they live in or the tree that they walk past every day that has the plaque in front of it.”
Camp San Luis Obispo is the original home of the California Army National Guard.

It also had a notable year in ‘53, serving as a training ground during the Korean War.

“In 1953, this was the southwest signal training center. They had a basic training group where draftees and enlistees would come here for their basic training,” said Dan Sebby, Director of CA State Military Museums. “They formed signal corp units for deployment overseas or deployments elsewhere in the Army.”

The Korean War ended that year, leading to Camp SLO closing its signal training facilities.

A lot of training still occurs at Camp SLO, serving as a schoolhouse installation, officer candidate schools and military occupational specialty training - with a notable alum, Tom Selleck.

From our military to our first responders - San Luis Obispo’s oldest fire station was built in 1953 as well.

On the corner of Chorro and Foothill, Fire Station 2 is one of the busier stations in the city, serving the north end of San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly.

From the low ceilings to the original cabinetry, Station 2 has kept its 50s charm.

Captain Jason Pratt was stationed there for nine years and said the small size is why he loved working at this location.

“Everything is getting bigger and better, but the station stays the same,” said Pratt, San Luis Obispo City Fire Captain. “It’s a more homey feel, like it feels like our house rather than a fire station, we live here a third of our lives and so it’s set up like a house we have our living room, our kitchen and our bedrooms. So the fact that it’s small and all of our together quite a bit you can’t get away from each other.”

In Morro Bay in the early 1950s there were major changes in the works.

“Before the 50s, this was just dunelands here. The only facilities people had for waste disposal was a septic system so there was no formal treatment of wastewater until then,” said Damaris Hanson, City of Morro Bay Utilities Division Manager.

The old plant served the city well for decades but couldn't meet current flow standards. It needed major upgrades.

“It’s very close to the ocean. The Coastal Commission didn't want us to rebuild here with the coastal hazards the sea level rise, tsunami and the flood zone,” said Hanson.

The old plant was completely decommissioned in late 2022 and a new plant is now operating on South Bay Boulevard.

And about a 15-minute walk down the Embarcadero in Morro Bay, you can’t miss the three stacks that make up Morro Bay’s iconic skyline.

The first stack was under construction in 1953. The Morro Bay Power Plant was first run on oil, then natural gas before shutting down in 2014. Vistra Energy now owns the stacks and plans on tearing them down in the coming years.

Aerial view of the Morro Bay Power Plant stacks


And finally, a local favorite moved into Santa Maria in 1953. Shaw’s Steakhouse prides itself on perfecting the dish the city is known for.

“This is the one place that you can come and get the Santa Maria-style barbecue every day,” said Eric Spies, Shaw’s Steakhouse General Manager.

Shaw's was heavily damaged during a fire in January 2019, but with the support of the community, the restaurant rebuilt and reopened 2 years later and they say - it's better than ever.

“It’s been such a staple in the community for such a long time everybody just hated to see that happen," said Spies. "We had a lot of support from the community, they all rallied behind us. Helped get us across the finish line and help us bring back the old school Santa Maria nostalgia.”