Deciduous Fruits Experimental Station in the Geneseo Settlement, 1889-1902
As agriculture in California developed, the California Legislature and the University of California worked to determine which dry farmed crops would thrive in various regions of the State. Paso Robles became an important area of study in 1889 thanks to the United States Congress voting to pass the Hatch Act of 1887 to provide funding for agricultural experiment stations.
The California Station was established in Berkeley at the University of California. There were four sub-stations created where land was donated and prepared for planting orchards and vineyards of table and wine grapes. The Paso Robles Experiment Station, located in the South Coast Range, was one of the first three created in California along with one in the Sierra Foothills and another in the San Joaquin Valley.
In the 1880s, promoters were dividing up large ranchos east of the town of Paso Robles and selling small parcels to farmers who were emigrating to the area from the Midwest and from Southern California where the Anaheim Blight had destroyed large numbers of vineyards in what is now Orange County. The area was promoted as a fruit-growing district. Several German Lutherans families purchased land in the area which soon was known as the Geneseo District when the first school was built. This area was located about five miles north of Creston. The descendants of the Klintworths, Ernsts, and Steinbecks, still live in Paso Robles in this area.