Templeton was founded in 1886, when C.H. Phillips of the West Coast Land Company ,sent R.R. Harris to survey 160 acres south of Paso Robles. This acreage was to be laid out in business and residential lots and 5-12 acre parcels for a town named “Crocker” after the famous San Francisco financier. When it was discovered there was already a town by that name, this settlement became “Templeton,” named after Crocker’s son. This is the only town along the El Camino Real named for a person, rather than a saint.
Templeton was fathered by the railroad, built on the main highway between San Francisco and Los Angeles and, in its heyday, had a reputation for its saloon brawls and wild ‘n’ rough street scenes. The town was the end of the line for passengers coming from the north. Tourists disembarked here and took a stagecoach south to San Luis Obispo.
In 1891, the railroad continued south and the town was reduced to a flag stop and is now a bypass. In 1897, there was a great fire which burned most of the business district. The town was rebuilt, but not to its former glory.
In 1965, Josephine Gilfillan wrote for the Paso Robles Press a series of pieces on Templeton. Newcomers kept asking, “Why was Templeton was built so close to Paso Robles and Atascadero?” She said, “I wanted to tell them that Templeton came first.”
Today, Templeton is a small, quiet town, with a strong community spirit and a vision to preserve its colorful past.