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Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Word's Out!!

As a resident of the State of Utah for the first seventeen years of my old life, I have to confess that I knew about the seamy side of life in that State, but I never told a soul how bad it was. I wouldn't say anything that would embarrass the State that provided me with a high school education for practically nothing - not by a long shot or even a double shot. But somebody has let the word out and I feel obligated to let everyone else know just how bad life was in early Utah. I received the news in an e-mail from a relative in Kansas and it is provided below, at least a reference to it.

But first, I would like to say a couple of words about two towns that are included in the photographs, Bingham and Huntington. Bingham High School was in our sports league and we played against them two or three times a year and always got beat no matter the sport. Bingham is the home of Bingham Copper Mine and the miners there were from all over the world, Greece, Balkans, Italy, and other little-known countries at the time I'm talking about, and they were bigger and stronger than our little town's, which only had a smelter. A high school buddy worked at a florist shop and since he had his driver's license they let him drive the truck to make deliveries, and he took me along on a couple of these jaunts to Bingham. Going there was an adventure in itself at the age of l6, a visit to the biggest copper mine in the world and the roughest town in the valley of the Salt Lake, we were told. Traveling up the mountain to the town, the darn old Dodge van overheated and vapor-locked on us right there on Main Street among all those bars and saloons, etc. We were scared out of our wits since we heard they didn't like strangers, and we stewed and fretted trying to get the Dodge going again. I was personally afraid I'd run into the football player I had clipped in a game that year. He told me he was going to beat me up if he got the chance. But we escaped with no harm done and breathed a sigh of relief. It was strange territory for this naive little Mormon kid.

The other town is Huntington, and I wouldn't be surprised that one or even two or more of those fellers in the picture are relatives. A couple of 'em look real familiar. My brother was born there in 1930 since the family lived there at the time and I've visited the place a few times since. The last time I don't remember seeing that saloon, but Huntington was not a very large town anyway and it was probably torn down or made into some other business. My Uncle Ben and Aunt Franny lived there most of their lives. They never talked about the bars or taverns, even though Uncle Ben was not immune from visiting them now and again. A "tough" town it wasn't to my knowledge, but they had their share of unseamliness going on.

Another town that had a reputation and not a very good one was Park City, where everyone knew there was a "hoorhouse", but I certainly didn't know anyone personally who lived there or even stopped for a visit. Park City at that time was another of those "rough" mining towns.

So anyway here's the link to those photos that show the seamy side of that Mormon State:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2186966/A-Wild-Bunch-drinkers-Century-old-photos 

Y'all have a very Merry Christmas!

8 comments:

  1. Great look at old Utah--any of your kin folk hanging around in the photos?

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    1. A couple look like relatives in the Huntington pic.

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  2. Butch and Sundance weren't quite as dapper as they are often portrayed.

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  3. Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year to you and your loved ones, Oscar!

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    1. Thank you very much, Prashant! And the same to you and your family for the coming year!

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  4. They look surprisingly similar to modern watering holes to me... not much really changes i reckon... the denizens even look like guys at the bar near my home... :)

    I love archival pics though... makes you really question the costuming in most hollywood representations...

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    1. Hollywood has to make it attractive to the audience and reality can be far away at any given time.

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