The Templeton area’s first known inhabitants were the Salinan Indians. In 1760, Spain occupied the territory and established the Missions. When Mexico took control of the area in 1820, they divided the land into larger ranchos, including the El Paso de Robles Rancho. The first structure was an adobe home, located just south of the current high school.
In 1886, the West Coast Land Company had knowledge that the Southern Pacific Railway was going to extend the railroad to Templeton, ending the line in Templeton for 3 years. The West Coast Land Company subdivided the town of Templeton along with the surrounding area.
The area was advertised as being of excellent climate for farming and ranching, boasting plenty of water, and such modern amenities as a newspaper, a school, a church and fire protection, all which they set up to give prospective buyers the illusion of a modern and safe town.
On November 20, 1886, the first passenger train arrived, which started a boom for the once-quiet area.
On February 25, 1985, a committee was formed to gather and publish the history of Templeton. In 1988, the present site of the museum was donated by Carla and Al Willhoit (on property that had been the previous site of Jack Allen’s Lumber Yard.
Finally in February 1989, a committee was formed to create the Templeton Historical Museum Society and an informational kiosk was installed on the donated property that provided historical information about the community.
In 1994, a house on First Presbyterian Church property was offered to the Museum. The house was being used as a parsonage for the church and was built by Al Horstman in the 1920s. The house was moved to its current location in 1995 and took 3 years, and many hours by dedicated volunteers to renovate. In 1998, the house was open to the public.
Behind the Horstman house is the original train depot which was moved here in 2001, and again, after many thousands of hours of volunteer time, it was opened to the public in 2005.
In 2013, the blacksmith’s shop that adjoined the museum property was purchased from the Bob Tullock Jr. family. The blacksmith’s shop had been operated from 1918-1950 by Joe Cressio and from 1950-1996 by Bob Tullock Sr.
In April of 2018, the Rossi Dairy’s milk bottle, built in 1936 and a landmark for many a traveler along Highway 101, was moved to the museum.
There are many displays available for public viewing:
-Many photos, land grant maps, period furniture, Templeton School artifacts,
including yearbooks dating to the first edition printed in 1921
Templeton’s Railroad Freight House
-1927 Model T Ford with approximately 600 original miles
-1909 Templeton Fire Department’s chemical cart used for fighting fires
-Early Templeton Post Office memorabilia
-Original 1918 blacksmith’s area
-1932 Templeton school bus
-1934 Templeton fire truck
-Templeton Livestock Market memorabilia
-Brand displays made by the blacksmiths Cressio and/or Tullock