Times to remember in Golden

Colleen palumbo looks back at great performances and big fires.

I admit to having been around awhile! And as a result I remember many of the stories that I see printed in the Golden Star from the mid 1960s onward. Many of the stories are interesting because we lived in that time but here are a couple that  might be of interest to some of the newcomers to the area as well.

The Golden Star, July 1, 1965

In two performances before large crowds in the Civic Centre Saturday evening the famous voice of Canada’s No. 1 cowboy echoed out in fine style.

Wilf Carter, the 61 year old yodeler and former rodeo artist known from coast-to-coast, thrilled adults and youngsters alike when he told stories and sang songs that he had written during his “younger days” when he rode the trails in this area.

The first performance which commenced at 7 p.m., was split by a brief intermission. The first part of the show featured Ernie McCullough and his Golden Rockets along with Dixie Lee Stone of Calgary.

During several of his vocal numbers, Ernie received loud applause for his impersonations of such noted Grand Old Opry singers as Dave Dudley, Eddie Arnold, and Hank Snow.

When the second half of the first show began, master of ceremonies “Texas Roy” Miller of Calgary introduced Wilf Carter for the first time.

Bounding out of the side wing in a bright blue suit, the old cowhand’s first words were, “Man, I feel like a kitten tonight, but before the evening is over, you can bet I’ll be feeling like an old tomcat.”

The Golden Star, March 9, 1977

Late in the evening of Wednesday last, Bob Williams smelled smoke as he was working in the basement of the Big Bend Hotel. He found a top floor room on fire in the unoccupied portion of the hotel. He turned in an alarm, and the fire brigade responded in fairly short order to the midnight call.

Occupants of the building were cleared out before the firemen arrived. They, and the firemen were provided with coffee and a place to warm up through the ordeal by Frank Pang of the Moon Café, who came down and opened up his premises for their use. For those who, like Ed Lucas, were still in their pajamas, this was indeed a helpful gesture.

According to Fire Chief Tom Sime, the big problem in fighting the fire was presented by the six inch, double-tarred roof, with false ceiling below that. It took until nearly 3 a.m. to bring the fire under control, and it was not until about 10 o’clock that the fire was considered completely out.

Help, in the form of two bucket lift trucks and Gary Zorn’s boom truck, was brought in to aid the firemen in getting their hoses up to the roof. Two of the firefighters, Gordon Mather and Grant Sime, were taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, and when released were right back on the scene to continue their efforts.

The portion of the hotel that caught fire was the “old section” built in the 1930s. The brick walls of the new part of the building helped retard the spread of the flames.

The restaurant on the main floor suffered mainly smoke and water damage. RCMP and the fire department are investigating the cause of the fire, and for the time being at least, the Big Bend stands marred and deserted in downtown Golden.


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