Sunday, May 29, 2011

Salons, Saloons, Bars, Inns, Roadside Stops

The local saloon plays a big part in cowboy movies no matter what their origin or name with all the rootin', tootin' and shootin' that takes place in them, and in my novels a lot of the action takes place in the saloon or pool hall. So, when I ran across Saloons of the Old West by Richard Erdoes, I had to have it. The narrative is 251 pages written in double column on each page, and has a three-column section for the Notes, Bibliography, Acknowledgements and Index from page 255 to 277. It can't help but be interesting and enervating and packed with useful information and history.

So far, I've read only the first three chapters covering some of the history and development of that place we stop in to have a cool drink now and then, or oftener, and a good meal. I can barely frame a picture in my mind of some of the earlier "saloons" that are described, having only the bare necessities for a thirst-buster made out of who knows what and whatever else the seller thinks will make it taste good or better. When the old cowboy says, "Name yer pizen," that may have been just what it was.

Too bad I can't devote myself to a sit-down-and-read-all-of-it-in-one-sitting event, but there are just too many other things that must be done. Right now, I have to get ready to go to downtown Glendale for something or other, but I am anxious to get back to the book.



  1. I need a good reference on saloons. I did find some stuff online that listed the most common saloon names in the west. Bucket of blood was up there.

  2. Yeah, this is a great topic, and it sounds like an excellent reference. The saloons were really the social centers of western towns. That whole tradition came pretty much to an end with Prohibition.

  3. Charles, Bucket of Blood is in the book along with some other popular names of the times like Boar's Head, Silver Dollar, etc.

    Ron, you're right about the saloons being the social center. In some towns they outnumbered the other buildings.