The Administration Building of Atascadero

In the heart of Atascadero stands a silent witness to the passage of time, the Administration Building, an emblem of resilience and adaptation. Adorned with four profound quotations chosen by its founder, E.G. Lewis, this building has weathered changes in ownership and purpose, standing as a testament to the community’s spirit and ingenuity.

E.G. Lewis, a visionary ahead of his time, conceived the Administration Building to serve as the nucleus of the burgeoning community. Embodying the ideals of self-sufficiency and harmony with nature, the building’s façade boasts quotations that echo these values, etched into its very soul.

The most valuable of all arts will be that of deriving a comfortable subsistence from the smallest area of soil.” -Abraham Lincoln


For lasting happiness, we turn our eyes to one alone, and she surrounds you now. Mother Nature.” -George Sterling

Let us keep our faces to the sunshine, and we will not see the shadows.” -E.G. Lewis

Great Nature, refuge of the weary heart and only balm of breasts that have been bruised.” -George Sterling

As one approaches from the highway, Abraham Lincoln’s words greet travelers, reminding them of the importance of deriving sustenance from the land, echoing the ethos of self-reliance and resourcefulness. Facing the creek, George Sterling’s homage to Mother Nature reminds all who pass of the enduring source of true happiness that surrounds them.

E.G. Lewis himself is immortalized on the façade, urging all to focus on the positive aspects of life, to turn their faces to the sunshine and away from shadows. Finally, facing west, Sterling’s evocative lines from “The Triumph of Bohemia” pay homage to the healing power of nature, offering solace to weary hearts and bruised souls.

Throughout its storied history, the Administration Building has served many functions, reflecting the evolving needs of the community. From housing the Chamber of Commerce to serving as a bank, post office, and even a school, its walls have witnessed the ebb and flow of life in Atascadero.

After changing hands multiple times, the building found itself repurposed as a school, embodying the spirit of education and progress. Frank Moran’s Junior College breathed new life into its halls, offering young men an opportunity for academic and personal growth.

Subsequent transformations saw the building evolve into the Amerivet Technical Institute and later Acheson Polytechnic College, reflecting society’s growing emphasis on practical, hands-on learning. Even after passing into the hands of the County of San Luis Obispo, the building continued to serve, rededicating itself as a Veterans Memorial in honor of those who served their country.

Despite enduring the ravages of time and nature, the Administration Building stands tall, a testament to the resilience and determination of the Atascadero community. Following extensive reconstruction efforts, which included the meticulous restoration of its roof tiles and bricks, the building emerged rejuvenated, ready to continue its legacy as a beacon of history and progress.

Today, as the City Administration Building of Atascadero, this architectural gem continues to play a central role in community life. Its halls echo with the footsteps of past generations, reminding all who enter of the enduring values that have shaped the city’s identity.

As we look upon the Administration Building, let us not only admire its architectural grandeur but also honor the spirit of innovation and perseverance that it represents. In a world of constant change, it stands as a steadfast reminder of the importance of preserving our history and heritage for future generations to cherish and celebrate.

References from the Atascadero Historical Society, City of Atascadero, and Atascadero News Historic Records. 


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