The General Store, which was built in 1880, shortly after the town itself was founded in 1876 as a major stage coach stop on the route that ran from San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara, is one of the oldest buildings in the historic town of Los Alamos, California, just a couple of blocks away from the Insurance Quote Deals office.
In 1882, the echo of horses hooves from the stage coach diminished with the replacement of the long whistling and rhythmic sounds of the Pacific Coast Railway.
The General Store was purchased in 1900 by Max King and renamed “The Emporium”. The new store was transformed into a department store. However, the following year the Southern Pacific Rail Road built a wider-gauge track from San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara bypassing the town of Los Alamos With the development of the new railway, the Pacific Coast Railway could not compete with the larger railway company and eventually closed down its operations in 1934.
It wasn’t until 1970, when Mr. and Mrs. M. Harold Mathers wanted to bring the town back to life. By 1971, they purchased the General Store and restored it back to its original condition. In 1972, the Mathers dedicated the General Store as a State Historical Monument. The Mather’s dream of bringing the town back to life was stalled by ill-health. The General Store would have to wait through several more years and several more owners until it’s true characteristics would shine again.
This reformation did not emerge until 1998, when Ralph Quackenbush stumbled upon the uniqueness and charm of the structure. The building was stripped of all layers of paint, wallpaper and floor wax. The under belly of the building was brought back to its original sheen. The original Douglas-fir plank wood flooring shines in the dedicated space for the gallery, whereas the room adjacent to the gallery, exposes old used-brick flooring set in sand, appropriate for the Café. The high cathedral ceilings give the building an open air feeling.
The second set of double French doors, beyond the open patio dining area, is an inviting place for locals and guests to stop time and enjoy the ambiance and treat themselves to homemade
European pastries and specialty coffees prepared|by Chef Jesper Johansson. Those who don’t riseat the break of dawn, can enjoy gourmet sandwiches and salads at Café Quackenbush.
The General Store is once again preserved with a “touch of class” to compliment the astute gallery and café. A century old building will withstand the twentieth |century with the true grace and composure it was meant to have over 100 years ago.
The true romantic characteristic lives on-preserved, while time marches on.