About Templeton, CA

Early Templeton History


With the coming of the railroad in 1886, the West Coast Land Company set aside 160 acres for the town of Templeton after purchasing 63,000 acres of surrounding countryside for subdividing into small ranches to sell to settlers. Originally the town was called Crocker after Charles F. Crocker, a vice president of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Crocker declined the honor of having a town named after him and chose Templeton, the name of his 2-year-old son, instead.
Templeton had its turn as the last town on the railroad line from San Francisco. For a time it was the terminus as the Southern Pacific Railroad built its line southward.

Templeton Train Station

Train Station

Horse-drawn stagecoaches met the trains and transported passengers to San Luis Obispo where they connected with stages for the south. Templeton remained the end of the line until 1889 when the rail lines were extended 14 miles south to Santa Margarita.

Stage Coach on Main Street

Stage Coach on Main Street

In just a few months the town “. . . contained one extensive and two smaller (but quite respectable) hotels, three general merchandise stores, a well-stocked drug store, a well-supplied meat market, a shoe shop, two blacksmith shops, five saloons, a billiard saloon, a large lumber yard, a sash and blind shop, several building and painting establishments, two barber shops, a public hall, a post office with daily mail service and 25 to 30 dwelling houses.

Referencing Templeton, Annie L. Morrison in her 1917 book, San Luis Obispo County and Environs, written in conjunction with John H. Hayden, stated, “Nowhere on earth is there a more beautiful spot, with the distant blue mountains; the rounded hills covered in spring with wild oats, where not cultivated; the wide, park-like valley dotted with immense oaks; the Salinas river, with its tree-fringed banks—alders, willows, sycamores and oaks—and spicewood breathing its fragrance on the air. . . . Templeton is now coming into its own.”

All information provided by Templeton Historical Museum Society