A time to sing and dance through the eyes of Golden’s past

This is part of an article written by Arvid Johnson that appears in its entirety in 2000 Golden Memories

Mr. Wenman’s store

This is part of an article written by Arvid Johnson that appears in its entirety in 2000 Golden Memories and are his remembrances of days gone by in the Golden area.

Copies of Golden Memories and photographs in the museum collection can be purchased at the Golden Museum, which is open Monday to Friday from 9 am to noon and 1 to 5 pm.

“One of our favourite stopping places on the way to and from school was Billy Wenman’s Shoe Repair Shop.

If we discovered any peculiar looking bug, butterfly or such, we would catch them and take them to Billy.

He would preserve them in alcohol.

Billy was very kind to us all. He would make repairs to our shoes or rubbers for a very small charge, or no charge at all.

He made canvas music stand cases for all members of the band, free of charge.

When we were growing up to the dancing age, throughout the winter months, we would hold weekly parties at our homes playing cards and dancing.

Some favourite dances were the Virginia Reel, two-steps and waltzes. We would take turns at our homes; the Maxwells, Wenmans, Blysaks, Mrs. John Pratt and the Johnsons. Billy Wenman had one of the Edisonphonographs with the long horn on it. This played cylinder records.

He would bring it to wherever the party was being held.

In the summer, we would get together for big picnics which other families would join. We would have to walk to wherever we were going as there were no automobiles available until later years.

In the spring, after the snow was gone, and in the summer also, a favourite outing on Sunday afternoon was to walk the railway track east up the Kicking Horse Canyon for several miles.

Upon our return we would congregate at the C.P.R. station and watch the arrival of Train Number 4 which, at that time, came in at five p.m.

There was always lots of music in our home. Mother played the organ and the accordion or mouth organ. In 1912, the toboggan slide was built from the top of the hill back of the smelter, down past the smelter and over the hump by the smoke stack, and along the railway track for a distance.

It was about three quarters of a mile long and was boarded up on both sides. At one time, the last lap was over the railway track towards the Kicking Horse River.

This had to be stopped because of the danger involved. I believe boards from the smelter buildings had been used for the slide.

I understand that the older Henderson boys and others in their age group exercised their skill and knowledge in building this slide.

We used some of the rails from the smelter to build a track up the side of the hill. Then we would push one of the ore cars to the top.

Everyone climbed on for a ride down the hill. Once it jumped the track and Louis Blysak got his leg jammed against a tree.

We had to stop this enjoyment also because of the risk.

In the winter for skating, we would shovel the snow off the Kicking Horse River, in a large area, for an outdoor skating rink. We had many nice skating parties. Many people from town would come up and join the fun.

We would fish in the Kicking Horse River off the old smelter bridges and later off the Kootenay Central Bridge.

We caught many trout and whitefish here.

We also fished for grayling off the old sawmill wharf on the Columbia River.

We would use these as bait for ling cod which we caught further up the Columbia in the evening. The ling cod had nice white meat.

They had to be skinned and had just one set of bones down the middle. They were slimy things to catch and handle.