Promise of Paradise for
Erick and Mamie Sandberg

by Bonnie Nelson and Clifford Munk
[as printed in the 2002 edition of
The Pioneer Pages]

In 1888, Erick and Mamie Sandberg, who were recently married in New York, read a newspaper article that boasted: Acres of beautiful land for sale, bordering the gushing, trout-filled Huer Huero River in Linne, California. There was an artist's drawing of a barge coming up the river. It was to be a great Swedish community, so they bought the land sight unseen. When they arrived they found a sandy, dry riverbed --- nothing at all like the newspaper advertisement they had seen.

Andrew Anderson's advertising campaign had worked. The promotion centered around a two-story brick hotel which Anderson had built on the Dresser Ranch (about 7 miles east of Paso Robles) for settlers to stay in when they arrived. The 14-room, 6-chimney structure was made of bricks from the riverbed that were never fired. Anderson had G.F. Spurrier, the same engineer who surveyed Paso Robles, map out the township of Linne. There were 50 blocks.

Like most Swedish emigrants coming to Linne, the Sandbergs were disappointed and broke. They built a small, one-room house just across the Huer Huero River for their three daughters. They almost starved trying to make a living on the small plot of land. One year they were so poor, Erick cut leaves and moss to feed the cattle. Eventually as time went on and as settlers left, they acquired more land.

Tragedy struck the Sandberg family twice. One evening when Mamie was out milking, the house caught on fire. She ran back to the house, climbed through a window to save the baby and also managed to retrieve a trunk of wedding gifts. On another occasion, the barn caught on fire. Unfortunately, the horses ran back to the barn and died in the fire.

Most of the settlers moved south over the ridge (from the Dresser Ranch) and the community of Linne was established there. Linne had a school which also served as a church, a post office (in back of Anders O. Malmberg's house) and a group of Swedish farmers.

The farm families were self-sufficient at raising their own food. The Sandbergs raised mainly wheat. They had to cut half of the crop  for hay and put it in the barn just to keep the horses alive. Nearly everyone had a smokehouse. Trips to town were only once a week for staples, such as coffee, sugar and salt. It took two hours by wagon to get to Paso Robles.

The Sandberg's three daughters, Jesse, Esther and Judith, all attended the Linne School located on Creston Road, 1/8 mile west of Stagecoach Road (the road that goes to the Dresser Ranch). The school was built on a site that was near the geographic center of the community with the advantage of building on the new Paso Robles - Creston Road. When it was time for the school year to begin in the fall of 1891, the building was not ready, so Mr. Kuhlman, the teacher, gathered his pupils together and held classes under a large oak tree. Luckily, the school building was finished before the fall rains came.

On her way to school every morning, Esther would drive the cattle over the hill to pasture and then after school, she would drive them home again. Since there was no windmill at the school, everyone had to take their turn pumping water with a hand pump. The school operated through the 1923-24 school year, then joined the Geneseo district, which was the German community to the east of Linne.

In 1935 the Linne School building was jacked up and set on heavy beams. With his new 22 Caterpillar tractor, Andrew Munk, husband of Esther Sandberg, towed it 3 miles east to the Geneseo school yard where it was used. Today [2002] both the Geneseo and Linne schoolhouses stand beside the Webster house on the Chandler Ranch, 2 miles south towards Creston. They are superbly maintained and are visible from Creston Road. [The Geneseo schoolhouse has since been moved to the Paso Robles Pioneer Museum]

The Swedish Baptist Church used the school for church services on Sundays. Rev. Anders O. Malmberg led the services in Swedish, therefore most of the children never got excited about going to church because they couldn't understand what was being said.

One Sunday, Ed Malmberg came to church with his whiskers singed. He had heard that a car would run better if you heated the gasoline. So he heated the gasoline over a wood stove and it blew up!

When the church moved to Paso Robles and transportation improved, the community of Linne disappeared. Today, the beautiful old farm houses are gone and Linne is just an area referred to by the old timers.

Anderson Hotel

Shootout at the Old
Anderson Hotel

by Wordydave 12/28/2004

The old hotel stood until fire razed it in 1962, although I don't know if it was a complete down-to-the-ground conflagration or one of those skeletal remains types of fires. At the time, yours truly was in high school, in love and incoherent when it came to important and newsworthy events.

Months before its demise, a group of us
 neighborhood brats decided to go bb-gun hunting
east of Paso, so we talked poor Mrs. Roberts into
loading us into her stationwagon (I think it was
a wagon). With our pockets loaded with shot, hands
holding our weapons and heads full of fun, she drove
us out Creston Road, then over to the Dresser
Ranch and the old hotel. Then she left us. Alone.

Okay. Here we are. Marty, me, Larry Decatur, Tryon
Roberts, and his younger brother Steve. We were
ready to tackle the big wild world of rabbit and
squirrel, birds and reptiles --- whatever crossed
our path. We never dreamed we'd end up hunting
that most delusional, unpredictable and stupid
 of animals  --- ourselves.

 It was a most beautiful, warm spring Saturday. Tall green grass, blue sky and absolutely no supervision --- the best and worst of times.

We explored the old barn first and probably riddled it
with our expert marksmanship. Then the most
creative in the bunch thought it would be more fun
to choose sides and try to put each other's eyes
out at the big stage stop hotel. The bb's were soon flying fast and furiously as we played shootout.

The inside of the poor old manse was a mess.
Years of neglect and vandalism had left the place
a shambles. Windows broken out, floors trashed
and dirty, a disemboweled piano --- Ah, yes,
the old upright piano, an exceptional delight that
could still offer a slight note of former glory. With
strings exposed, it made a most unusual target.
You could actually play the notes with your bb's.
The song ended shortly, though, as the little round
balls would hit the strings and shoot off again,
right back at us! Twang, bang, yeow!

 Add to this drama the fact that we had all taken our shirts off. BB's hurt a bit more on bare skin
as you can imagine. Marty and Tyron were firing
out of a second-story window at someone on
the ground when Tryon yelled, "I've been hit!"
A nice red welt started on his shoulder. Marty
took one in the stomach (probably from the quick-
stringed piano). And yours truly escaped unscathed.
By God's providential mercy all of us kept our eyesight that day.

Before long, Donnabell drove up and we all jumped
back into the car, still breathing hard and grinning
at each other. This was one secret that would never leave the confines of our little pea-brained circle.

I don't think we killed anything the whole time we were there. It was more a friendly fire day.