Así es como era.

English Translation

That’s how it was.

This one is more like “It was like that”

Welcome to the discussion board!

I think you’re correct that the sentiment of the sentence could be translated in different ways. But if there was no context, I assume the choice of translation here has to do with the big difference between That is how it was and It was like that: the first sentence has two verbs (like the given Spanish phrase) and the second sentence has one!