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Turning Back the Pages

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30 years ago- June 9, 1989

Viola Laird celebrated her 94th birthday in grand style at the Black Forest Inn on June 3, surrounded by numerous friends and well-wishers. Born as Viola Oliver in Central City on June 3, 1895, Viola married Rae L. Laird on November 2, 1917. For many years she taught school at the Clark School in Central City and worked alongside her husband, former publisher of the Register-Call, until the paper sold in 1970. Rae passed away April 11, 1971. Viola has resided at the Christopher House in Wheat Ridge for the last several years, although she greatly missed Central City, her lifelong home, which she tries to visit frequently. Viola’s birthday celebration at the Black Forest Inn included lunch, followed by a cake and ice cream reception. A total of 26 friends and former students attended the special occasion.

Drastic changes proposed for the 1872 Mining Law could have serious repercussions for the mining industry, particularly small miners. “There’s no room for individual miners or small mining companies,” said Boulder Attorney John Henderson, Tuesday, “under the new act that is now being considered. This new legislation can well be called the ‘Anti-Mining Law of 1989.’” Among the changes proposed by Senator Dale Bumpers of Arkansas is an eight percent gross royalty payment to the government on all claims located under the new act. In addition, annual assessment work requirements on new claims established from $1,000 to $2,000 per claim. The current assessment requirement is $100. Worse news yet is a clause in the proposed law that will require currently existing claims to be assessed a whopping $5,000 per year in work requirements. Changes in patent requirements are also in the works, says Henderson, and these will mean major problems for mom and pop operators, as well as for small companies. Hearings began June 7 in Washington and Henderson hopes to have a progress report on the legislative activity next week. In the meantime, he is urging all small miners to write their United States Senators protesting the proposed changes to the law. “Time is of the essence,” Henderson said. “They’re trying to ram this thing through the Senate with as little fanfare as possible.”

Last Friday morning while traveling to work through Clear Creek Canyon, Lloyd Williams spied an unusual sight. Several crows were attacking an owl beside the road. Williams pulled over, jumped out of his vehicle, scared the crows away, and rescued the magnificent, but frightened, horned owl. After leaving the bird of prey in the car of his surprised wife Leslie and son Danny, he headed back down the hill to work. A man with a mission, Williams was only half an hour late to his job. Care and feeding of their new feathered friend was left up to Leslie and Danny, along with the big decision: What do we do with an owl around the house? Fortunately, the Birds of Prey Rehabilitation Foundation had all the answers. Foundation representative Sigrid Ueblacker met with Leslie and son Steve Yanchunis Sunday and took over in the nick of time. “He was in very marginal shape,” she said Wednesday, “He’s doing great now, eating very well on his own.” He had to be force-fed his first two days in captivity. Although a mature owl should weigh between two and a half to three pounds, the little fellow weighed in at a puny pound and a quarter when rescued. Once he regains his strength, he will be returned to the wilds, the ultimate goal of the foundation with all birds of prey it receives and treats. Over 300 birds are treated and returned to their natural habitat each year in Colorado alone by the foundation. The entire operation is funded through private donations.

Died: Mona Irene Robb, a longtime Central City resident, died Sunday, June 4, 1989, at the Northern Colorado Medical Center in Greeley. She was 83 years old. The daughter of Isaac and Mary Smith, Mona was born November 30, 1906 in Missouri. Her father came to Colorado when she was still a toddler and established a homestead in Siebert. Once he had built a house, he was joined by his wife and daughter, and Mona spent her childhood in Siebert. In 1924, Mona married P.L. Robb in Colorado Springs. They had three sons, Max, Don, and Jack. Mr. Robb taught in Weld County before moving the family to Rollinsville. In 1935 they moved to Central City, where Mona was the first woman elected to serve on the town’s board of aldermen. She served in that capacity for several terms until her retirement. In addition to her civic duties, Mona was assistant postmaster in the late 1930s. During World War II she worked in a defense plant. Following the war she opened a gift shop in Central City. Her business ventures included a museum, gift shop, and bar. In her museum was the Missouri Lake submarine, which she later sold. Mona was a world traveler who had visited many counties. Although she always wanted to visit the Swiss Alps, it was one destination she missed. “She lived a long and full life,” said her son Jack on Monday. In addition to her sons Jack, now living in Greeley, and Don, a returned United States Air Force colonel who lives in San Antonio, Texas, Mona is survived by a brother, Elvin “Soapy” Smith of Golden, Missouri, and a sister, Ila Smith Brennan of Greeley. She had six grandchildren, Tom Robb, of Central City; Jennifer Hall of Lakewood, and Dagmar, Michele, Jerri, and Terri. There are 16 great grandchildren, as well as one great-great-grandchild, and many nieces and nephews. Preceding her in death were son Max, who died in 1980, and husband Pearl, who died in 1984. A graveside service was held on June 7, 1989, in Siebert, Colorado. A memorial services was held in Central City on June 8, 1989. Arrangements were handled by the Tomford Mortuary in Idaho Springs.

60 years ago – June 19, 1959

Central City Nuggets:

Across the Crossroads, by A.F. Mayham: Some of the news agencies, the radio vs. the newspapers, should get their stories on an even keel. The way things are going they are running the competition with some of the government agencies as far as discrepancies are concerned. Radio says tourists are bypassing Colorado on account of the higher gasoline tax and other charges. Newspapers say about 4 million visitors are expected to overflow accommodations, so you take your choice. One government bureau seems to be fighting inflation while other bureaus feed the darn thing, but the opposing forces to inflation seem to get a few more lines in print than their adversaries, so you take your choice in this case too. Some whose reading is confined to a narrow rut will argue about the gold situation, citing what the treasury puts out, without even delving into the underlying causes except that an increase in the price of gold commensurate with the increased cost of production, and in ratio with other commodities, would without knowing what they are arguing about, disturb the economy of the country. Other countries, apparently, don’t seem to be disturbed or maybe they don’t have such an animal as economy kicking around.

This is one of the weeks that Editors hate and deplore. In other words, there ain’t nothin’ doin.’ Local news is as scarce as nuggets in a gold pan being agitated by a tenderfoot from Kansas. Maybe it is the lull before the storm, as next week’s issue will contain 16 pages of pictures, history, and stories of the opera stars. It will be an issue of interesting reading, many of the stories, particularly those relating to the building of both the Opera House and the Teller House have been taken from the files of the Daily Register-Call in the early 70’s. You will be more than compensated by the lack of local news this week.

The State Highway Department, the County of Gilpin, and the City of Central, have combined their heavy road machinery in putting a black matte on Main Street from Quiller’s corner to the intersection of Spring and Nevada Streets, also installing a culvert from the corner of the old A.O.U.W. building across the street to the flume, which is hoped will carry the water from flash floods away from the gutters of upper Main Street. The deep gutter extending from the Post Office to Addyman’s Garage is being filled and is a decided improvement.

The first two forest fires of the season on the Arapahoe National Forest occurred over the weekend according to Forest Supervisor Henry Tiedemann. An unextinguished campfire on Highway 40 above Empire started the first fire, while the second fire was reported from Gore Pass. The first fire last year was reported on June 22 and a forest record was set with a total of 37 fires. Of this number 30 were caused and only seven were started by lightning. This was 19 fires above the forest average for the past five years. The increase in fires reflects the greatly increased use of the National Forests for recreation, camping, and picnicking use, which is five times as great as in 1950 while hunting and fishing use was doubled in the same period of time.

90 years ago – June 14, 1929

Mr. Solomon Davis of Beverley Hills, California, made this city a visit on Thursday of last week, between busses, and set a few hours meeting old friends and viewing the scenes of former days. Mr. Davis, some forty years ago, operated the Prize Mine in Nevadaville for the eastern owners, and will be better remembered from the fact of his having established a “mocking bird” whistle on the mine, that was a great help to the housewives in the county, in furnishing correct time for all purposes. Mr. Davis knew something about music, and the way he handled the throttle on the musical instrument, was fully appreciated. Every day he gave us selections of grand opera, Home, Sweet Homes and occasionally a well-known tune at that time, of “How Dry I Am, Nobody Knows How Dry I Am,” even when there were a full dozen saloons in Nevadaville. This was his first visit to this city in forty years, and he fully enjoyed every minute of his stay. He was on his way to New York City, on business matters and, arriving in Denver, could not let the opportunity pass to see the old town again, and shake hands with friends who are still in the land of the living.

From the Georgetown Courier: Last Sunday’s baseball game between Black Hawk and Georgetown turned out to be a contest of speed rather than one of ball playing. Each player seemed to be trying to see which could run around the bases fastest. Not much in praise of either team can be said as the playing was loose throughout, but our boys seemed to hit the ball more than the visitors and were consequently permitted to run around the bases more. The game was interspersed with freak plays and comical situations, and one of the most enjoyable so far this season and no one could complain of not getting his money’s worth. The final score was Georgetown, 22; Black Hawk, 11.

George McFarlane, accompanied by his sister Mrs. Yetta Schraeder of Denver, Miss Lizzie Lark of California, and her niece, Mrs. Martha Edgar of Denver, arrived here Friday morning to spend a few days visiting old friends and neighbors.

120 years ago – June 16, 1899

Mrs. John Dodgers and daughter, Miss Ethel, left for Denver Wednesday where they will be guests of relatives and friends.

Mr. H.G. Shuck, wife and son left on Tuesday to visit with relatives in Pennsylvania and other eastern states.

Mrs. Nick Simms and sons left the first of the week to visit with relatives at Aspen.

Mary, the three year and four month old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Fraganich of Russell Gulch, who reside near the Golden Cloud Mines, has been lost since Saturday morning. She was seen by a man on horseback near the Russell Gulch Cemetery, but all traces were lost beyond that point.

Master A. Brooks Fullerton gave a small party to a number of his school friends at his home on Monday evening last. There were fifteen present, and all had a delightful time.

The old depot in this city has been torn down and work will soon commence on the erection of the new building. The depot grounds will be enlarged and improved, and side tracks increased in number and in length.

The big prize fight between Fitzsimmons and Jefferies took place at Coney Island on Friday evening last, and proved a great victory for Jefferies, he winning the contest in eleven rounds, by knocking out Fitzsimmons in that round. A number of the local fans are out considerable money as a result of the bout.

Born: In Central City, June 10th, 1899, to the wife of Edward Rowe, a daughter.

Died: In Black Hawk, June 11th, 1899, of miner’s disease, Harry Keam, aged 40 years.

Died: In Central City, June 13th, 1899, Mrs. Ermina Giovannini, aged 22 years.

Died: Wilma H. Lake, aged 27 years, son of Mr. and Mrs. Byron Lake, of this city, was drowned in South Boulder Creek Saturday afternoon, by slipping off a rock and falling into the main stream. His body was recovered Sunday morning by parties from this city who volunteered to hunt the stream below where he fell into the water. His funeral took place on Wednesday, interment in Fairmount Cemetery.

151 years ago – June 18, 1869

Mr. Cameron, who was gulch mining below Black Hawk on Clear Creek, reported as cleaning up $32 per day for every man working.

Three and one half cords of mill ore from the Jones Mine in Nevadaville, treated in the stamp mills, yielded 105 ounces in gold retorts.

Thursday issue of the Register said that Hal Sayre was fitting up his abstract office in this city in good shape.

Mr. E. Ettien was tearing out the inside of his brick livery stable in Black Hawk and transforming it into a billiard hall, which had been leased to Charles Steinle.

Died: A son of Joseph Clark, of Nevadaville, lost his life in the Burroughs Mine, on Quartz Hill, Monday, by falling down the shaft. He was 16 years of age.

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