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Salomon Pico - the Original Zorro?

Santa Ynez -

The Santa Ynez Historical Museum hosts a presentation by R. Lawson Gamble on January 21 on the character Salomon Pico. Outlaws made traveling by road through the Central Coast in the 1850’s a hazardous endeavor. Of particular notoriety was Salomon Pico (Sept. 5, 1821- May 1, 1860), a Californian and cousin to Mexican Governor Pio Pico. A colorful life story, Salomon Pico’s escapades around the area of Los Alamos as a stealthy bandit are thought to have formed the basis for the popular character “Zorro.”

The character of Salomon Pico looms somewhat more sinister than the Robin Hood-like Zorro created by author Johnston McCulley in 1919. He was later popularized by Walt Disney in the '50s, paralleling Don Diego/Zorro with alter-egos Superman/Clark Kent.

An upstanding cattle broker by day and the leader of a violent bandit gang by night Pico and his little band of robbers were known to hold up and, in many cases, murder innocent men who rode through the Central Coast carrying large amounts of gold dust. This alter-ego character, however, may have taken more of a macabre similarity to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Find out more about this fascinating Californian of royal heritage turned crafty criminal at R. Lawson Gamble’s presentation. R. Lawson Gamble is a popular speaker on the Central Coast, and is editor of

Museum Members free, Non-Members $10. The Santa Ynez Historical and Carriage Museum is located at 3596 Sagunto St. in Santa Ynez.

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