Historical Society blames transiety activity

ATASCADERO — In October, due to a rash of incidents involving drug activity, vandalism and aggressive behavior from the homeless population, the Atascadero Historical Society temporarily closed the Colony House Museum, located at 6600 Lewis Ave., Atascadero. President Jim Wilkins said that after several incidents the organization suspended museum operations until security measures can be put in place.

“The homeless that congregate around the area tore apart our 104-110-year old fountain,” said Wilkins listing some of the damage the transient population has done to the facility.

The decision came after a person ran into the museum to hide from the police after a drug deal gone bad. Wilkins noted that most of the volunteers that run the museum are senior citizens and that the society must prioritize the safety of its docents. 

“It just got way out of hand,” said Wilkins in a phone interview, “there could be 30 at a time between park bridge over there and our backyard.”

Getting through this together, Atascadero
An antique fountain once owned by Atascadero Founder E.G. Lewis was toppled by vandals. Photo by Luke Phillips

Wilkins said that the upkeep of the facility is an uphill battle with the amount of homeless who advertently and inadvertently harm the little cottage’s surroundings. He said ofttimes they get drunk or high and defecate on the property.

The society is looking to raise approximately $3,000 for up to date security cameras and floodlighting that would help deter the criminal element. Though closed for general operation, the museum can still be book for private research appointments.  

To volunteer or book a research time, email atascaderocolonymuseum@gmail.com.