Atascadero can trace its beginning to a Mexican land grant when in 1845 Governor Pio Pico granted Pedro Estrada almost 40,000 acres of the Asuncion Rancho, a good portion of which eventually made up part of the smaller 23,000 acre Atascadero Rancho. Through various and natural ownership changes, the 23,000 acre Atascadero Rancho came to be owned by J.H. Henry of San Jose after California became the 31st state of the Union.
With the acquisition of approximately 3 acres, along Highway 41, just North of El Camino Real and adjoining the new Atascadero Library, the non-profit Atascadero Historical Society will be undertaking an exciting new effort to develop this property into the Atascadero Colony Heritage Center. The ultimate purpose of the Colony Heritage Center will be to preserve the unique history of E.G. Lewis and the early residents of the Atascadero Colony, who were instrumental in building this first master planned community in California, designed to accommodate the automobile and founded in the name of the American Woman’s Republic (pre-suffrage organization), into the town that we enjoy today.