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SLO City HallHistory of San Luis Obispo Joseph A. Carotenuti City Historian/Archivist History has no beginning. Those interested in the past simply must pick a time or place or person and designate a “beginning.” So with the history of our community… the “beginning” is simply an arbitrary point in time. As such, there is never a definitive history, but only one that captures – hopefully, accurately – some of the past. Certainly, eons ago as the earth formed and groaned into great land and sea divides, this area remained recessed under water and in an unimaginable space of time, rose from the beneath the sea into the shape of land we call home. An informative book, Mountains of Fire, provides a considerable amount of information locked away in our geological past. Who was eventually here – or when they came – will imagine the native populations and the unknown amount of time they spent roaming a more pristine world. Their life, hopes, and dreams can only be vaguely discerned from existing evidence. However, for us, the Chumash are our geographical ancestors. For most of our documented history, however, the records begin with ships’ logs as vessels sail primarily south along the coast carrying treasures from the East to the ports in New Spain (Mexico). Nameless at the time, San Luis Obispo then was a place seen from a distance, anonymously tucked away in the scenery viewed from the sea. There were some mariners brave enough to attempt to reach shore – most would be looking for treasure and not sightseeing – but the best records begin relatively recently in 1769. What was named “San Luis Obispo” wasn’t here but near Santa Barbara. Next time: What happened in 1769? Contact: jacarotenuti@gmail.com 283