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Turning back the pages

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30 years ago – March 14, 1986

  The new site for the Gilpin County Public Library is literally inundated with books that were kept in storage boxes when the library was located in the log cabin. Roger Baker, the library director, is in the process of unpacking the boxes and stacking the books to try to make some kind of order. Many of the books are duplicates, but many are not, he says. Baker estimates that there are probably 5,000 to 7,000 books. When entering the main portion of the library, it appears organized, until Baker opens the doors to the back rooms where all the books are being stored. There are three walls of books, each taller than Baker, and numerous boxes that have not been unpacked. It is no wonder that Baker is exhausted after trying to straighten out the storage room and find some sense of order. However, he is confident that one day his efforts will pay off. The library’s new location is where the Heritage West Realty Company used to be located.

More conclusive results of the forensic examination that is being conducted on the child’s skull that was recently found north of Black Hawk apparently are being delayed because of the district attorney’s office. According to Dr. Michael Charney, forensic specialist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, who is conducting the investigation, the examination is on hold until he receives dental records and a photograph of a missing female child. The information was expected last week, or at the latest on Monday. As of Wednesday, it had not been received. Charney said that “so far, everything is speculative,” but the examination at this point shows that the skull “matches the description of the child that is missing.” The child in question is Deara Whalen. She was last seen in May 1985, hitchhiking with her mother toward the Central City area. Whalen’s mother, Ann Mary Durand, previously of Idaho Springs, is presently in the Pueblo County jail awaiting trial for the alleged murder of a man outside of Pueblo. After examining the skull, Charney said that it is that of a Caucasian, 3 year old child, with blonde hair. Cartilage that is on the skull “would not be there” if the victim had been deceased longer than two years at the most, Charney explained. The age of the victim was arrived at by X-rays of the jaw. Once a photograph is received of the Whalen girl, Charney plans to reconstruct the facial features on the skull to determine if the victim is indeed Whalen. Until that is accomplished, the definite identity will not be determined.

Elizabeth Louise Matson-Begg, lifelong resident of Black Hawk and Central City for her 81 years, passed away March 9, 1986, at Allison Care Center in Lakewood. She is survived by five sons, Joe Matson and Jack Matson of Coos Bay, Wisconsin, Phil Matson of Chicago, Illinois, Linold Begg of Central City, and Dan Begg of Wichita, Kansas; one daughter, Catherine Monahan of Longmont; two sisters, Margeret Epperson of Colorado Springs, and Rose Kerrigan of Canyon City; one brother, Joe Thompson of Mapleton, Oregon; 14 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. Services were held on March 12 at St. James United Methodist Church in Central City. By her request, she was cremated.

Joseph F. Negri of Denver died there on February 27, 1986. He was 82. He was born in Leadville on January 19, 1904. He married Ermida L. Parteli on June 6, 1925. She preceded him in death. He was a baker with Campbell Sell Bakery in Denver. For 25 years, Negri was the secretary-treasurer of the Bakery and Confectionery Workers Union Local No. 26. Negri is survived by a son, Robert J. Negri of Jackson, Michigan; two sisters, Christine Bowland and Dorothy Liuzzi, both of Denver; a sister-in-law, Emma Pierce of Central City; four grandchildren; and a great granddaughter. Mass of Christian Burial was said March 4 at St. Catherine of Sienna Catholic Church. Interment was in Mount Olivet Cemetery.

60 years ago – March 16, 1956

Mr. and Mrs. Clifford I. Parsons, after a month’s visit to Phoenix, Arizona returned home last Thursday evening. The warm sun added to Leila’s beauty, but the same sun did not enhance the character marks on Cliff’s face, and his physiography remains the same as it has been for the past hundred or more years. Anyway, they appear to be happy to be home again in this land of cold and ice.

Mayor George Ramstetter informs us that it is his intention to lease his Café for the coming summer months. The deal has not been completed as yet, but he expects that next week he will be able to announce full particulars. His physical condition has not been of the best for several months past, but it is his intent to cut down on work and worry and perhaps supervise the triangle and other parking lots, the former of which he was the chief sponsor and originator. The best of luck, George, on any undertaking in which you engage.

Noah Williams, who has been in Colorado General Hospital for several months past, returned to Central last week, expecting to remain here, where his home has been for close to a half century, but the climate and his condition did not coincide, and it was necessary to return him to the hospital for more extended treatment.

A smile, such as would be found on the happy husband who had been notified “it’s a boy,” has been most pronounced this week on the face of County Treasurer Hugh L. Lawry, when Dr. Wm. Muchow, president of the Chain O’Mines Inc., tendered him certified checks amounting to $29,000 in payment of delinquent taxes for several years past. That’s quite sum of money and though it does not completely cover the amount assessed against the company, it is a generous response for the amount of taxes assessed. Thus, the Treasurer is happy; the Board of County Commissioners are happy; and the Chain O’Mines are happy. So, “all’s well that ends well.”

90 years ago – March 19, 1926

“The Winding Stair,” special cast in six reels, and a Fox News reel, will be the picture program at the Opera House Saturday evening, Match 20th.

The close of the 1925-1926 basketball season was marked by fast and clean games and the Black Hawk gymnasium last Friday evening, when the Gilpin County High School teams went down in defeat at the hands of the teams from the Idaho Springs High School; the boys to the tune of 26 to 22 and the girls by the score of 22 to 18. Both games were exceedingly fast, and good passing on both sides was in evidence throughout the games, but lack of ability to take advantage of the breaks did much to cause the defeat for the local teams. This is the first year the girl’s team has played together, but there is considerable good material there and next year should make quite a record.

A couple of weeks ago Sheriff Oscar Williams received a telegram from Sheriff W.D. Duffield, of Omaha, Neb., asking him to locate and arrest Mr. Harry P. Stevens, who was reported as being in this section, and hold him. Mr. Williams got busy at once and located his man, who was working in a tunnel near Perigo, and brought him to this city and lodged him in the county jail, notifying the sheriff of Omaha that Stevens was under arrest and waiting for further instructions. Mr. Duffield arrived from Denver, returning during the afternoon with Mr. Stevens for Omaha. It seems that Stevens wanted to make some easy money, and sold to a Mr. Christianson of Omaha, for $1,250, the residence and lots of Mr. Chase Withrow, on the Casey Avenue, claiming to have title to the same. Mr. Christianson wrote County Clerk Clifford Parsons concerning the property, and when he found out that the residence had been owned by Mr. Withrow for almost half a century, and that he had been swindled by Stevens, he notified the police authorities at Omaha, who got busy with the above result. Stevens waived extradition, on the advice of Sheriff Williams, and was willing to go back and take his medicine.

Twenty inches of snow fell on Saturday and Sunday, the heaviest fall since December. The roads were drifted so autos could not come into town until Wednesday. Thermometers registered 8 above on Tuesday and 27 above on Wednesday.

Charles Robins had to carry the mail on foot for a half mile on Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday, but on Wednesday the road was open to the post office.

Messrs. Wilfred Fritz and William Floyd brought up a truck load of supplies for the Evergreen Mine on Saturday, but could get no further than the Saco de Oro Mine, from which place the supplies were carried on a sled.

Cop: (to automobile victim) You say you didn’t see the license number. Could you swear to the man? Victim: Well, I did, but I don’t think he heard me.

120 years ago – March 13, 1896

We were advised the other evening by a laborer who had just come from Cripple Creek that people were dying in that camp at the rate of from fifteen to twenty per day, the cause being pneumonia. He stated that from six to eight hundred men pass every night lying around in saloons. The newspapers of Cripple Creek keep these facts suppressed and hidden in the endeavor to boom the camp further and entice the unassuming public to venture through her gates. While Cripple Creek is one of the greatest mining camps the world has ever known, it is one of the worst places in the world for a laborer or a man with no means to go. Two dollars per day are the best wages paid for ordinary work (outside the mines) and there are twenty men for every job, while board and lodging are very costly. If the reports as stated above are correct, the people in general should be made acquainted with the truth.

Mayor R. B. Williams went to Boulder last Saturday to make an exchange of some of his stock, and has added another fine team to his already well-filled stable.

Matt J. Ryan and Dan Lynch returned from Leadville last week. They both say that the ice palace is a fine sight, in fact, up in the Carbonate City they are only beginning to have the right kind of weather to keep the palace in a decent state of preservation.

Moses Maymon, who has been enjoying an attack of typhoid for several weeks past, has so far recovered as to be able to get out again, and left for Denver in the hopes of gaining strength much quicker in a lower altitude.

Born: In Nevadaville, March 8th, 1896, to the wife of John Grenfell, a son.

Died: On March 9th, 1896, in Black Hawk, the daughter of Mrs. A.A. Avanzinni, aged 2 years and 6 months.

Died: On March 6th, 1896, in Central City, Mrs. Mary Ann Spargo, aged 49 years. Funeral services were held at the Methodist Church Wednesday at 2 p.m., and interment was made in the cemetery of the Improved Order of Red Men. A large number of friends followed the remains to their last resting place.

Died: In Black Hawk, March 10th, 1896, of diphtheria, Orelia Fieder, aged 17 years. The young lady had a host of friends who mourn her loss. The funeral occurred on Wednesday and was very largely attended.

146 years ago – March 17, 1869

From the Weekly Central City Register: For some days a gambling hall has been known to exist over Messrs. McCool & Johnson’s store on Main Street, and preliminary measures had been taken for its suppression, but the trouble was saved by those who were moving in the matter by one who had been swindled out of his hard earned dollars there. In revenge for a loss of some five hundred dollars he made complaint to District Attorney Post, who had an affidavit filed before Judge Bradley who issued a warrant for the arrest of Jim Emerson, the proprietor of the den. This was placed into the hands of Sheriff Grimes, who watched his opportunity, and yesterday pounced on the concern, securing as trophies Emerson, about a half bushel of ivory faro chips, layout board, game box, etc., to the value of some hundreds of dollars. Emerson waived an examination and is held to bail for trial at the next term of court. The law makes it the duty of the Judge to destroy the gambling implements seized, and we presume he will discharge that duty, as both law, justice, public sentiment and morality demand it. Emerson was once before arrested for a like offence when his den was over the public school rooms, but he begged off and promised that if let off he would never again perpetrate a like crime in the county. But of course the pledges of such men are worthless, and it was to be expected that he would renew the offense. He and all others in league with him and offending with him ought to be severely punished.

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