A year before the Jesse James family reunion, Judge James R. Ross and myself made a trip to Paso Robles to meet with Tom Martin, then current owner of the Paso Robles Inn. I had visited there in 2000 when the remnant of the old hotel was undergoing preservation and restoration. I was anxious to see what had been done since. Both I and Judge Ross also hoped Tom Martin would agree to host our Jesse James family reunion at the historic hotel, first founded by Drury Woodson James.
I had already posted a lengthy feature story about Uncle Drury and his famous hotel on our website Stray Leaves. When Meeting Tom Martin, we also met his sister Anne Martin-Bowler. She informed us she was writing a book about Drury Woodson James and the founding of the hotel. The book was planned as a promotion for the hotel. The History of the Paso Robles Inn, More Than a Century of Pride has been published since. Anne did an excellent job.
Needless to say, the Martins were thrilled to be our host. We were equally thrilled to be holding the family reunion on Uncle Drury’s old hotel property. We were especially excited about having a family banquet in Uncle Drury’s ballroom, which the Martins had preserved and restored. Until Tom Wallace
Until Tom Wallace, who supervised the reconstruction, told us his story of working on the formerly condemned property as he does in this video, the only information I had about it was gleaned from George Jackson. a heating contractor, employed to install a heating plant for the old ruin. I was particularly tickled by Jackson’s story of discovering a petrified cat when he opened up sealed portions of the original brick basement. You can find Jackson’s story on Stray Leaves.