By The Atascadero News Editorial Board 

In the record books of Atascadero’s history, alongside the visionary founder E.G. Lewis, stands his remarkable wife, Mabel Lewis. Though her name might not echo as loudly, her impact and contributions to our blossoming community are equally profound.

Mabel and E.G. Lewis’s union began in 1890, a time when the suffragette movement was gaining momentum across the United States. Their marriage was not just a personal partnership but a shared commitment to women’s rights and empowerment. Together, they ventured into the world of publishing, creating magazines tailored to uplift and inspire women. Their joint efforts extended beyond mere publications; Mabel took a leading role in establishing the American Women’s League. This coalition of women’s organizations worked tirelessly to promote subscriptions to popular periodicals, amplifying the voices of women in an era where their rights were still fiercely contested.


The couple’s journey led them to Atascadero in 1913, where they embarked on a new chapter of their lives. It was here that Mabel’s influence blossomed further as she assumed the presidency of the league amidst the backdrop of their relocation. According to Mabel Lewis’ obituary published in the April 26, 1935, issue of the Atascadero News, she was president of the league around the time they moved to Atascadero in 1913.

Mabel nurtured the arts and created the city’s first zoo, situated behind their former residence, now the Vons shopping center. This sanctuary hosted a variety of animals, cared for by Mabel and the community.

According to Mabel’s obituary, she was born in Massachusetts in 1869. She also devoted her time to the artistic side of planning and developing the planned community of Atascadero in 1913. She laid out extensive private gardens in the new community. One of her crowning achievements, her obituary said, was her founding the Atascadero Music Club, which had music lovers all over the county in membership.

In “Order No. 10” by E.G. Lewis, he poignantly expresses his anguish at being separated from his wife. “The strain has been too much for her this past year. Now she is away. If there is a larger, more empty, vacant, miserable, howling wilderness of a vacuum void than this particular neighborhood, I hope something will fall into it and fill it quickly. You can have the mile square of real estate, the bank, the house, automobiles, horses, cats, even the publishing company if you will just give me back my everyday sweetheart, and no questions asked.” This heartfelt plea underscores the depth of their love and the personal sacrifices they made for their shared vision.

With her love of music, beauty and community, Mabel Lewis left a treasured legacy of progress and advocacy for women’s rights. 


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