ONE BY ONE THE ROSES FALL
By John J. Creedon
|US Town first town to fall|
In due time Jack’s place was raided and found to be selling something stronger than Becco or Necco, Volstead’s answer to mans’ insatiable thirst, and his establishment was padlocked. Jack had a large sign painted and placed in his window draped in black with the wording: “One by one the Roses Fall.”
I am reminded of this sign as I see the buildings up town fall to the battering ram and bulldozer of the wrecking crew. There was some hope in Jack’s case, as he opened again, as good as new and with more and better merchandise, but our buildings are gone for good, to rise no more.
Each of these buildings had an interesting history and an important part in the life of our town, so I will try and recall some of the highlights of events that took place and the people who were part of it.
The county jail was in this building for a short time, when there was a misunderstanding with city government. It consisted of an iron cage about eight feet square.
In the Mid-twenties there was a boarding house on the ground floor run by Mrs. Roper. This was to be the setting for one of the most gruesome murders in the town’s history. Nursing a fit of jealousy, one of the boarders by the name of Blackburn laid in wait in the Carr Fork garage for Miss Nelson, a waitress at Ropers, who had spurned his courtship, and cut her throat from ear to ear. He was sentenced to life in prison and was released a few years ago. That sentence was very unpopular in our community.
Bill Goris had his barber shop there for many years. One of the features on his sign was, Bath with hot water, towel and soap for two bits. Last one to occupy this part of the building was the Copper Trading Post.
Probably the best known and remembered was John Feraco’s Café where the finest meal, both in quality and quantity was featured. I can see now as clear as yesterday, the trio that made Feraco’s famous, Della, Jennie and John with their friendly smiles and hearty laughs. No wonder it was a pleasure to eat thee, with good food, expertly cooked and served by those wonderful girls and with John always on hand to help out and join in the conversation with his inimitable manner of speaking.
Gone too is the building at 505 Main, where one of Bingham’s first clothing stores was operated by Steve Hays. Several stores were operated in this building, the last I remember was Herman Ritter’s Outlet.
Next door was the Stage Line office where the buses have operated for many years. This building was a saloon in the early days and according to old timer, was owned by Jacob Newman. I remember it as the Liberty Theater where I first saw Eddie Polo in a movie serial. After the Liberty closed, it was a saloon again, but I don’t recall the name of it, but one event happened that was amusing but could have been tragic. A somewhat roused miner put some blasting caps in the pot bellied stove and when the Chinese janitor went to stir up the fire, the caps exploded and blew stove and Chinaman out through the single wall. He was badly hurt, but the saloon was a shambles.
Down the street at 497 was the Senate Bar, where the best whiskey in town was dispensed (not being of age at the time these comments are based on hearsay). This bar featured Warwick Whiskey and was run by a Mr. Jackson. He did not allow any drunks or rowdies in his place. It had the traditional swinging doors and I remember a time or two when my brothers and I shoved a bucket and a dime under the door and got our bucket of suds to take home.
Many stores opened and closed in the Senate building. Ben Lewis and C.A. Eliades had jewelry shops, Art Tremelling had a tailor shop and Jack Lutzger ran a clothing store. Later “Panco” George Nacheff had a shoe repair shop and T.P. Durrant a photo studio.
For those who enjoy a touch of nostalgia, I shall in the coming issues of the Bulletin, try to recal to mind the people, places and events that made history in Bingham Canyon. Join me and travel with a boy that grew up in Bingham and loved every minute of it–down Memory Lane.
“Backward, turn backward, O time in thy flight, Make me a little boy, just for tonight”
Forty years ago, three small boys were among the large crowd at the premier performance at the new Princess Theater, and last Sunday evening these three met again in the foyer of the theater and reminisced about that exciting night so long ago. I must admit that through misty eyes of Joe Brisk and Harold Chesler. It is not easy to say adieu to an old friend, even if it is just a building of concrete and plaster.
Without fanfare of any sort, the Princess Theater passed into oblivion September 25th with its final show, witnessed by just a few of the faithful.
For forty years, the Princess has been the center of entertainment in the Bingham area with a variety of events taking place in the history of Bingham.
I remember well the excitement and anticipation during the building of the Princess. On its completion it was judged the ultimate in theaters in the state with the exception of one or two in Salt Lake City. The building was owned and built by George Chandler, on the site of the old Bingham Livery.
|Highland Boy has fallen|
In 1954 in connection with the Galena Days celebration commemorating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the incorporation of Bingham and the beginning of the Utah Copper Company, the theater was completely renovated including a huge mural of the Utah Copper and Bingham.
Since that first picture, “Valley of the Giants”, thousands of movies have been shown to movie fans in the district. I remember in the early days of the Princess, the Clays girls, Ada and Ruth operated the player piano to accompany the pictures. The mood of the picture was carried out by the piano. Who can forget the stirring music signifying the charge of the cavalry, arriving just in time to save the wagon train or the fort from the attacking Indians, or the sad refrain during “over the Hill to the Poor House.”
Mrs. Nellie Jones played the piano too and we had bits of vaudeville supplementing the movies. John Culleton would play the violin and Vera Chiara would sing. Several amateurs performed on the stage at various times.
|No more Galena Days|
Political rallies were an important part of our community life in those by-gone days, when the city offices were fought for with much vim and vigor by the rival candidates. Oratory rose to great heights, especially during the campaigns of Dr. Straup and Dr. Flynn. I can still se Sr. Flynn leaning over the footlights and point his finger at Dr. Straup, and calling him “Little Napoleon” and a few other choice names.
At the next rally, Dr. Straup had his day and made his charges and name calling at the expense of Dr. Flynn. Those were exciting days and votes were fought for vigorously. Some very strange alliances were formed in city elections. Party lines were crossed and politicians who opposed each other in national and state elections were buddies in the city voting.
The only man who could stand up to Dr. Straup and slug with him verbally and hold his own, was Dr. John F. Flynn, and Irishman with a ready wit and a great flair for showmanship. Dr. Flynn had a full length mirror in his office and he would practice his speeches and mannerisms in front of that mirror.
In the stirring election, Dr. Straup saw his party swept into office and there was a general house cleaning in the city administration from top to bottom.
Irregularities in election practices were the rule in the bygone day. On election day the town full of strangers that were not seen since last election. Many of the tin horn gamblers and tainted ladies that had left for greener pastures would return to support their candidates and it is said that they would sometimes vote in both districts. There was always a few votes cast from the cemetery, at least some of the names on the voting list coincided with the names on the gravestones.
Another policy generally accepted was former residents of Bingham voting in the elections, although they had moved to other parts of the district and county. As long as they did not register in their new home, they had a right to vote. What a commotion it caused when this right was challenged by election judges and stopped for good.
|Copperfield is about to fall|
One spring when the creek flooded, the water rose and washed the stage of the theater out into the seating area. The firemen and other volunteers worked long hours with poles to try to clear the creek bed so the floor waters would subside.
Guiding the destiny of the Princess, beginning in 1917 were Ted Chesler and Max Brisk. Later Mr. Chesler became the sole owner and after his death, his son Harold, carried on. At the last performance, the sons of these two pioneer movie men were present to write the finis to 43 years in the entertainment business.
I shall always be grateful for the opportunity of growing up in Bingham, truly a melting pot of humanity. It is true that most mining towns were largely made up of different races and creeds, but here we were so compact. We all used the same schools, the same churches. We went to the same theaters and the same entertainments. We even used the same street. (Of course we only had one to begin with.)
This closeness produced a tolerance and understanding between people from different countries and places, that is not present in larger cities.
Two of our native daughters, who have made their mark in their chosen profession, Ivy Baker Priest and Dr. Lenore Richards have told me on several occasions that the background and environment of Bingham was an important part in their relations with the public and gave them a broader understanding of the many problems that confront all of us from time to time.
Most of the Austrians and Slavonians and a good portion of the Italians settled in Highland Boy; the Greeks, Japanese and Englishmen in Upper Bingham. Carr Fork was the home of the Swedes and Finns, and Upper Main had the bulk of the Italians.
It was considered unwise in those early days to venture into new territory alone. You would probably run into one of the gangs in that particular neighborhood and get initiated. This happened to my brother, Dan, the first day were in Bingham. Mother sent him down town to the Bingham Merc. for a piece of stove pipe. One hour later he returned with the black stove pipe and a pair of eyes to match. He had been initiated into the Carr Fork gang.
|Saltas Store in Copperfield|
Tex Marshall, a tall lean Texan was one of my favorites. He would talk in Spanish and throw fits for my benefit. He remained a good friend of mine until his death last year. “Society” Brown was another character I remember so vividly. He was a dandy for sure. Wore a derby hat and carried a cane. He worked at the B&G depot. One Christmas he paid mother his board bill with twenty-five one dollar bills, each tied with a pretty red ribbon and in a fancy jewel case.
|Copperfield and Dinkeyville|
They ate at a long table and the main food was rice. They had a sauce that came in wooden tubs, that was poured on the rice and fish to supplement the diet of rice. I guess every family in town had one of these tubs at one time or another with flowers or plants growing in them.
New Years was always a big day at the Jap camp. They would pound out a paste of rice in a hollow tree trunk, using a big wooden mallet and little cakes of this rice would be offered up to Budda. Each man had a little shrine to Budda near his bed. They slept in a large room and each man had his section separated with a curtain. The huge table in the dining room would be heaped with all kinds of food—lobster, crab, shrimp, turkey, roasts of meat and fruit of all kinds and plenty of Sake to drink. Everyone was welcome. Some of the guests, unfamiliar with that potent drink, Sake, would have a tough time making the stairs to the dormitory or the tram.