San Luis Obispo was founded in 1772 as a mission in the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains on California's Central Coast. The city that grew from a rustic pueblo, with its scattering of adobe buildings, today has a wealth of architectural styles. From the simple barns of the outlying farm community, to the grand hotels and lively saloons kept busy by the Southern Pacific Railroad depot, and back full circle to the Mission Revival style edifices of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo's architecture has echoed its history. Motor travel brought the world's first motel to this half-way point on California's historic Highway 101, and the famously zany tourist attraction, the Madonna Inn.
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