Marine Corps Bomber Base
On September 3, 1942 construction began on the Airfield, which was to be used as a Marine Corps Bomber Base. On April 8, 1943, the field was dedicated as Estrella Army Airfield to be used by the Army Air Corps. Estrella Army Airfield consisted of 1259 acres of land, two 4,700-foot long runways, an operations building and a small, three bay fire station.
The Marine Corps Units occupied buildings to the west, across Airport Road in what is now the California Youth Authority. On August 29, 1947 the Federal Government transferred 1,057 acres to the County of San Luis Obispo to be used as a commercial airport, and 202 acres and buildings to the State of California to be used as a Correctional Facility.
Additions to the Airport
The County of San Luis Obispo extended runway 01/19 from 4,700 feet to 6,009 feet; installed high intensity lights; and built a large hangar, ten T-Hangars and a terminal building between 1949 and 1952. In 1952 commercial air service for San Luis Obispo County began, with Southwest Airways serving the area, became Pacific Airlines, and later yet merged into Hughes Air West. This service continued until 1974.
Sale of the Airport
On May 7, 1973, the County of San Luis Obispo sold the airport to the City of Paso Robles for $1. At that time the County was unable to derive enough income to support the cost of running the airport. The City subdivided unused land into 81 parcels for commercial development. The City formed an all-volunteer Fire, Crash and Rescue Department to serve the airport and the surrounding area. The City took over the water wells and the sewer treatment plant from the State to serve both the Airport and the Youth Authority. In 1973 there were four businesses employing 22 people on the airport. Today the Paso Robles Municipal Airport houses almost 40 businesses, employing over 700 people.
Additional Airport History is available on the Estrella Warbirds website.