Atascadero is located in the heart of the Central Coast, offering a blend of natural beauty and rural lifestyle. Its comfortable climate and atmosphere are influenced by the beautiful Pacific Ocean on the West, and also by the Salinas River and open countryside to the East. Local scenery includes oak-studded hills, creeks, and scenic vistas of the Santa Lucia Mountains.
The community of Atascadero was founded in 1913 as a utopian, planned colony by Edward Gardner Lewis, a successful magazine publisher from the East. He had previously created such a community at University City, Missouri. When he saw the Atascadero Ranch in 1912, Lewis put together a group of investors from across the country, paid J.H. Henry $37.50 an acre, and celebrated acquisition of the Rancho on July 4, 1913.
In 1914 the land was surveyed and subdivided. Thousands of acres of orchards were planted, a water system was installed and construction began on an 18 mile road (Highway 41 west) through the rugged Santa Lucia Mountains to the ocean, where Lewis built cottages and a beach front hotel called the Cloisters.
Atascadero was incorporated in 1979. Today,with nearly 28,000 residents, Atascadero is the third-largest city in San Luis Obispo County.
Atascadero is a family oriented, mid-size community that has a small-town feel yet is buzzing with new business and a resurging downtown and economy. The Charles Paddock Zoo, Lake Park, Chalk Mountain Golf Course, and other parks and shopping centers are great places to visit. It is the perfect halfway stop not only between Los Angeles and San Francisco, but also between the well-established wine tasting communities of Paso Robles and the Edna Valley.
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