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Turning Back the Pages


30 years ago – June 23, 1989

As the Madams, Sporting House Girls, and Dandy Dans paraded down Main Street in all the finery of their trades Saturday, cameras appeared from purses and were raised from around the necks they hung from. The annual rite of spring in the City of Central is known as Lou Bunch Day and commemorates the “working girls” of the old west. Arriving on the Black Hawk-Central City Narrow Gauge Railroad at 12:30 p.m., the girls flounced around town during the day of merriment. Fortunately, cold weather didn’t hit until later in the week, or a lot of lovely skin would have been marred by goosebumps since the traditional costumes on Lou Bunch Day tend to be on the skimpy side. This year saw more and more entries in the events that crowds the day’s activities. Twelve teams vied for top honors in the Original Bed Race, a zany zoom down the main drag in a brass bed. Carelli’s of Chicago, a Boulder restaurant, had the first place team, while the Central City Opera’s team garnered top honors for bed race costumes. The Bonanza Gift Shop team came in second in the race this year, after a first place win last year. The fabulously costumed Opera Association team placed third in the race. Honorary Madam of the Year Sandy Schmalz was taken completely by surprise with her newly acquired title. The honor was awarded for her devotion and work since 1975 on the annual event. She joins a select group of only three Honorary Madams. Past winners of the prestigious award are Gail Sheftel and Muriel Paul. As in the past, Madam Eileen Pfeifer’s stable of Madams, Sportin’ house girls and Dandy Dans entertained the assembled multitudes with specialty song and dance numbers before and after the bed race. A former vaudevillian, Madam Eileen choreographs original routines each and every Lou Bunch Day. By Monday, all the fancy regalia had had been tucked back into closets and trunks and everyone (except the saloon girls at the Glory Hole) had gone back to wearing much less interesting duds.

The Social Register:

Carl Skagerberg of Central City and his daughter Helen Cryan of Northglenn, Colorado, returned June 14 from a family reunion in Amboy, Washington, the occasion being the 90th birthday of Carl’s brother, Nels Skagerberg of Amboy, on June 11. All the brothers and sisters were there, including Carl’s younger brother John and his wife Carol from the home place in Spirit, Wisconsin. Also sister Martha of Poukbo, Washington, near Seattle, and youngest sister Edna at her own place in Amboy. The 90th birthday of Nels was celebrated with a picnic in Edna’s large yard, and lasted all day with a large evening bonfire until 10 p.m. Nels is robust and active around his place, presently cutting and stacking firewood for the winter. A couple of weeks ago he renewed his driver’s license for the next four years. About 50 friends and relatives were at the picnic. On Sunday the day was celebrated by driving two cars, including the children, to Mt. St. Helens, the volcano that erupted nine years ago in 1980. The devastation is still there, trees lying where they fell, pushed over by the lava and mud flow, though some new green growth is beginning to show. There are winding roads for the tourists, and a large rest area with refreshments.

Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Emmett F. O’Donnell of Idaho Springs, who celebrate 60 years of marriage Friday, June 23. Mrs. O’Donnell, the former Margaret Thomas, grew up in the Black Hawk-Central City area. The O’Donnells were married in the Catholic Church in Virginia Canyon in 1929, and moved to Idaho Springs where they still reside. Her brother, Roy Thomas, was a barber in Central City in the 1930s and 40s.

Gilpin County School’s art teacher, Elizabeth Fonseca, has been named Colorado Art Teacher of the Year. She was recognized by the Colorado Art Education Association for her involvement with her students and art activities, and for being one of only two art teachers nationwide to conduct art programs on the national TI-IN Satellite Education Network. Fonseca, who has taught in Gilpin County for six years, also served as visiting artist at a metro area school last year.

Died: Alice M. Knoll Dilley, 78, of Shawano, Wisconsin, died May 29th, 1899, after suffering a heart attack. Born in Lake Mills, Wisconsin, August 9, 1910, Alice was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Sieger. She lived in Central City and other parts of Gilpin County from 1940 until 1954. She was a member of the American Association of Retired Persons and the Shawano County Senior Center. Interment was in Shawano, Wisconsin. Alice is survived by her husband, Glenn, of Shawano; two daughters, Barbara Volks of San Diego, California, and Geri Sheldon of Aurora; two sons, Howard Knoll of Denver, and Dale Knoll of Littleton; a stepson, James Dilley of Bailey; a sister, Louise Sieger of Madison, Wisconsin; 13 grandchildren including Richelle, Chandra, and Dale of Littleton; seven great grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.

60 years ago – July 3, 1959

Due to the amount of advertising in this week’s paper, Ye Editor hopes that you’ll forgive the lack of local news from the City of Central. Of special note: the Opera Season has begun and we are looking forward to the many performances and hosting the actors and stagehands.

Black Hawk Gold Dust:

Mr. Michael Parfenoff of Gary, Illinois, is here for the rest of the summer. He owns the house next to the old Toll Gate Saloon.

Mr. and Mrs. Bob Green returned Thursday after several days’ vacation in Glenwood Springs.

Mrs. Emma Eccker and Miss Kathryn enjoyed an evening last Monday at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Eccker in Denver; the occasion being in honor of two birthdays and the wedding anniversary of Paul and Mildred.

Mrs. Milford Peterson was hostess to ten women last Wednesday, who are members of a club in Lakewood, which has been in existence for 20 years.

A weekend guest of the Chas. Robins, was their son in law, James Hamlin, who flew here from New York state on a business mission.

Mr. A.R. Highland, a pilot for United Air Lines, has painted the big Dunstone house on High Street a maroon red with white trim, which is most attractive. The Highlands have purchased the Dunstone house and plan to spend a good part of the summer in Black Hawk.

Joe Svaldi was up from Denver last Friday visiting his uncle, Fred Mattivi.

There is sadness at the home of John and Nelle Anderle since their little dog was run over and killed by a passing car.

Mr. and Mrs. Silvia Partelli of Golden are spending a part of their vacation at their home on Main Street.

Bob Hollenbeck, author of the book “The Old Gilpin Tram,” was in town Tuesday. He is convalescing from a recent throat operation.

There was snow in Apex Saturday night, but it soon melted next morning.

Mr. Ed Hermanson is dressing up the Jack Turner home with a new coat of white paint.

Mrs. Dowell Blake entertained at a birthday party Friday, for 3 year old Roy Blake.

Mr. and Mrs. Bart Rudolph of California, and Mr. and Mrs. Fred Rudolph of Denver dined at “Ye Olde Fashioned” in Central on Sunday and later visited their cousin Gus Rudolph and wife.

Russell Pannings:

Madelyn MacFarland came in from Eldon, MO on Tuesday. She has gotten down to the first layer of mud in the kitchen.

Mrs. Mary Dallapietra and friends spent a few days in the Gulch this week.

The Earl Hancock family spent the weekend at the Hancock home.

Misses Craig and Miller drove up from Wheatridge Friday. Miss Craig and Laura Ress enjoyed the dress rehearsal of “Die Fledermaus.”

Monday morning the road crew came out so the road is in much better shape.

90 years ago – June 28, 1929

Mrs. W.C. Fullerton arrived in Central Saturday evening from Washington, D.C., where she had been living with her son, Brooks and family, to attend to business matters.

Attorney Leroy J. Williams came up from Denver Friday evening to attend to legal matters before the county court.

Hugh L. Lawry, county treasurer, left for Victor, Colorado, on Friday last on a visit with his brother, Elbert and family, returning home Monday evening.

Married: In Idaho Springs, June 23rd, 1929, Father McCabe officiating, Emmett McDonald, of Idaho Springs, and Margaret Thomas, of Central City. The couple will make their home in Idaho Springs, where Mr. McDonald is in business.

Died: In Black Hawk, June 25th, 1929, Thorvald Crook, aged 65 years. Mr. Crook had been suffering from a complication of diseases for some time past, but was able to attend to the duties of his office until a few weeks ago, when he had to give up and wait for the summons that called him to another existence. Mr. Crook had been a resident of the county for many years, the greater portion of which were in Black Hawk, where he conducted business in the brick building under the railroad bridge. At the time of his death he was the postmaster of Black Hawk, having served some nine years in that capacity, had been am member of the board of county commissioners of Gilpin County, was a charter member of Central City Lodge Order of Elks, and a member of Scandia Lodge I.O.O.F. of Black Hawk. He is survived by his wife; three daughters, Mrs. Nora Warren of Central City, Mrs. George Lewis and Mrs. Norman Davey, of Denver; a son, Harold, of Denver. Funeral services will be held this Friday afternoon, at 2 o’clock, from the Methodist Church, under the auspices of the Elks Lodge.

Died: In Los Angeles, California, June 21, 1929, Edward C.Hughes, formerly of Black Hawk, aged 85 years. Mr. Hughes was born in Scranton, PA in 1844, and came to Colorado in the early ‘60s, locating in Black Hawk, where he conducted a meat market for almost half a century, finally disposing of his business and locating in Golden, where he also conducted a market for a number of years. Of late years he has been living with his son, Frank, in Los Angeles, California. “Ed,” as he was known to everyone in Gilpin County, was a successful business man, a first class citizen, and a man that was esteemed and beloved by all who knew him. His “Little Market” in Black Hawk was known throughout the county and was well patronized for the people all had confidence in Mr. Hughes, and knew they would be treated fairly by him in business matters. Mr. Hughes joined the Black Hawk Lodge of Masons in 1868, and was a member until 1906, when he transferred his membership to the Golden Lodge. He also was a member of Central City Chapter No. 1, R.A. M., and Central City Commander, Knights Templar. He was elected as representative from Gilpin County to the State Legislature just 30 years ago, had been mayor of Black Hawk two terms, and served three terms as county commissioner, and was active in all affairs affecting city, county, and state. He is survived by two sons, Frank, of Los Angeles, California, and Fred, of Colorado. Funeral services were held in Denver on Wednesday, under the auspices of Golden Lodge No. 1. A.F. & A.M., interment in Fairmount Cemetery by the side of his wife, who died some six or more years ago.

120 years ago – June 30, 1899

In the district court session held in this city last week, the case of Minnie Williams vs. the Sleepy Hollow Mining Company, the principal one of the several damage suits against that company, was given to the jury on Friday, who were instructed by Judge DeFrance to bring in a verdict for the defendants, which was accordingly done. The attorneys for the plaintiffs have filed a motion for another hearing. Tuesday evening the judge sentenced John Lowry, who killed Harry Williams in Russell Gulch, a year ago, to 18 years in the penitentiary. In the case of Mrs. E.A. Semmens vs. the City of Central, the jury on Wednesday rendered a verdict in fact of the plaintiff in the sum of $650, this being for the loss of horses, harness, etc., caused by a cave-in on the road to Nevadaville, four years ago. The attorneys for the city filed a motion for a new trial of the case.

Messrs. R.L. Martin, Nate Sears, Billy Lamont, Tom Davis, A. Rapin, and John Lehmkuhl, all of this city, spent Sunday at Peterson’s Lake angling for the speckled beauties. They were all fairly successful.

This office was indebted to Mrs. Dan Chaddock, of Black Hawk, for copies of The American and Freedom, of May 1 and 7, published in Manilla, which have good accounts of the Colorado regiment located there.

A force of six men are working on the Barnes Mine on Quartz Hill for Byron S. Lake, the owner. Some smelting and milling ores are being taken out which will be sent to the mills and sampling works at Black Hawk.

Born: In Nevadaville, June 18th, 1899, to the wife of Martin Roberts, a son.

Born: In Nevadaville, June 23rd, 1899, to the wife of John H. Nankervis, a son.

Born: In Nevadaville, June 29th, 1899, to the wife of Pearl Henry, a daughter.

Born: In Central City, June 26th, 1899, to the wife of James Halinan, a daughter.

Born: In Russell Gulch, June 29th, 1899, to the wife of Fred Barnaby, a daughter.

Married: In Central City, June 29th, 1899, Rev. J.F. Coffman officiating, Mr. James Ferrell and Miss Cora Rule, both of Central City.

Married: A marriage license was issued by County Clerk J.S. Updergraff to Richard Dunn, of Central City, and Alice Christianson, of Denver.

151 years ago – July 2, 1869

A quantity of second-class ore from the Coaley silver mine below Black Hawk, shipped to the Hill smelter, returned $520 to the ton.

The Methodist conference closed Sunday evening in the Methodist Church in this city, and appointed Rev. G.H. Adams as pastor in Central City, George Wallace for Black Hawk and Nevadaville, and W.A. Ainsbury for Idaho Springs and Empire.

At the regular service of the Methodist Church held Sunday, an offering was taken up to liquidate the debt on the building, and $6,959 was secured with good prospects of having the sum increased to $7,000, which would free the church of all debts.

The bullion shipments from Gilpin County for the month of June figured up a little over $280,000.

Dr. Mann and B.F. Pease got 23 and one fourth ounces gold from one cord of mill ore from an unnamed mine at the head of Peck Gulch.

Mr. Beach left at the Hussey Bank, in this city on Thursday, gold retorts weighing 404 ounces, the product of three weeks run on mill ore from the Briggs Mine. The retorts worth $9,000, and during the same period, smelting ore to the amount of $3,500 were shipped to the Hill Smelter in Black Hawk.

The first edition of the Daily Miner, published at Georgetown by A.W. Barnard and M.E. Ward, has been received at this office.

Rev. A.B. Jennings, of St. Paul’s School, announced the opening of the summer school term on July 6. The tuition was $10 for the term of 11 weeks, with Miss Mary Randolph as teacher.

Married: In Nevadaville, June 29th, 1869, Rev. R. Van Valkenberg officiating, James Collins and Miss Mary M. Mahan.

Married: At the Episcopal Church this city, July 1st, 1869, Rev. Francis Byrne officiating, Charles B. Storm and Mrs. Bell A. Grover, both of Nevadaville.

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