History

Utopian Days

The inspiration for the Atascadero La Plaza project is born out of respect and homage to the original buildings and ideals that this town was built upon. In the review of Atascadero’s history one need not go far to discover that the founder, E.G. Lewis, had utopian visions and was not willing to settle for anything short of the very best for this community.


In the early years of the new utopia, E.G. Lewis erected the first La Plaza building which was completed in 1917. It was the first enclosed shopping mall in the state of California and served the residents, not only as a place to shop, but also as a place to meet neighbors and community members. There were co-op retailers on the first floor and 70 residences on the upper floors. La Plaza underwent new ownership and renovations in 1926 completing its transformation into a hotel called The Atascadero Inn. Retailers from the La Plaza Mercantile Building moved their businesses to El Camino Real in pursuit of what was called “The Golden Way.” Eight years later, in 1934, The Atascadero Inn burned to the ground and those original mixed-use ideals of La Plaza went down with it.


The site of the current Atascadero La Plaza has fallen victim to 3 separate fires. These fires and unfortunate circumstances had scarred downtown atascadero and held it in a depressed state for more than a decade. By providing a beautiful shopping experience that is in keeping with the City Beautiful movement that Lewis founded, it creates a space that draws people out of their homes to participate in the community and makes its’ participants swell with a sense pride. Our goal in resurrecting the La Plaza name is to recapture the utopian dream that E.G. Lewis had and here, 100 years later, we are bringing the ideas back to life very much like a Phoenix. 


“The idea of Atascadero and all it stands for is right, and right ideas never die since they are the real things of life.” -E.G. Lewis