The Vigilante Assemblyman and his Folding Chairs

The Murray Adobe in San Luis Obispo, former home of Assemblyman Walter Murray

The Murray Adobe in San Luis Obispo, former home of Assemblyman Walter Murray

Walter Murray was quite the interesting guy. Born in London, Murray moved to the United States at a young age. In his thirties, he fought in the Mexican-American War. He moved to California and soon married Mercedes Espinosa (the two had six children). By the late 1850s, he was a leader of the San Luis Obispo Committee of Vigilance, helping maintain order on the often lawless Central Coast. He was elected to the Assembly in 1858, serving a single term. He later served as the county’s District Attorney and founded the San Luis Obispo Tribune. To say the least, he was quite an influential figure in the life of early post-statehood San Luis Obispo.

The Murray Adobe in San Luis Obispo, former home of Assemblyman Walter Murray

The Murray Adobe in San Luis Obispo, former home of Assemblyman Walter Murray

So how do you honor a notable local historical figure like this? Well, in the case of Murray, his home (called the “Murray Adobe”) in downtown San Luis Obispo has been carefully preserved and maintained to show visitors what an 1850s adobe filled with folding metal chairs looks like.

Looking into the one open window, visitors can get a view of what it might have looked like if a mad scientist had somehow transported approximately 200 of those well-constructed (and yet not comfortable) metal folding chairs about 160 years back in time to a place where they could be easily collected, folded up, and stacked.

According to Wikipedia (always a great source for this sort of thing), an early patent for the folding chair was issued to John Cham in 1855. So, maybe Murray did find those new chairs useful enough to fill up his entire house with them. Who really knows?