Turning back the pages: Golden in 1963

While researching information for a local family, I was looking in the Golden Star from 1963 and was amazed at how many things happened in Golden in that year. It was also a little scary thinking about how many of those events I remembered from personal knowledge. Buildings were built, people passed away, groups were formed and sidewalks laid.

After all, this was at the same time as the opening of the Trans Canada Highway. Now tourists would be able to travel without problems from one side of our fair land to the other. Many were quick to get on board.

By 1963 the Town of Golden had been incorporated for five years and things were starting to happen on that front. One of the reasons for the incorporation was so that we could get a sewer and water system installed.

Late in 1963, a vote was taken among the many taxpayers to see whether the community wanted it as much as council did. Of the 301 citizens who voted, 202 voted yes. Definitely enough to go ahead with the project that would bring us a healthy water system.

The town of Golden also put in the first cement sidewalks. Some 3,700 feet of concrete was poured to take the place of the old wooden sidewalks. This made the RCMP happy because they could finally insist on proper markings for no parking areas.

Among the buildings built in 1963 we find the ARL Motel which is still standing in downtown Golden today. This fabulous new addition to downtown was built by A.R.L.Holdings Ltd. and took its name from owners Al Wescott, Ray Gould and Lori Paulini. It boasted that it had wall-to-wall carpet, television (until half way through the year Golden only had one TV channel, CHCT-TV from Calgary, but before the end of the year they could also boast they had CFCN-TV, also from Calgary), and telephones in every room.

Another huge addition to the hotel scene in Golden was the building of the 50 room Golden Arms Motor Inn. Built on the old Moody place at a cost of $150,000 the motel also had a refreshment parlor (beer parlor), cocktail lounge, dining room and a coffee shop.

Bob and Irene Kane opened the South Wind Motel at Nicholson. Bob and Irene did most of the work themselves but had the Sutter’s take care of the plumbing on the little five unit motel.

The Sportsman Motel, a 34 unit motel built for Hobb’ s and Oulton, also opened to great fanfare. It was conveniently located on the Trans Canada Highway. Were you aware that 56 years ago there were so many service stations in Golden that from October 1 until April 30 they opened in rotation to make it fair for everyone? If it was your days to be closed you had to have a sign in your window showing which stations were open that day and where they were located.

The Rondo Inn opened in the old Golden Medical Clinic building. This was possible because under the direction of doctors Trott, Taylor and Lapp the new 72 by 51 foot Clinic was opened. The general contractor on that project was Burnham Construction, a company that did a lot of work in the Golden area.

56 years ago the Canadian Imperial Bank became the first bank in Golden to install a 24 hour deposit facility. It was a wallet depository and they recommended that you not deposit more than $100 cash in the drop box at any one time. The Bank of Montreal also opened its offices in 1963.

Up on the highway and opening for the many tourists passing through was Gene’s Roasted Chicken. It was located near the old Kicking Horse Texaco and it was the first place I ever had a soft ice cream cone.

Golden’s streets and avenues were re-numbered. They actually went from names to numbers using the Kicking Horse River as the natural divider between the north and the south.

The Alpine Drive-In Theatre opened with a special Sunday midnight showing of the horror drama “Black Sunday.”

A Billiards Hall was built next to the Elite Cafe. The banquet room of the old Golden Legion was completed and opened with a sit down dinner for 75 people.

You could buy a sheet of knotty pine plywood, 4 by 8 feet from Glenn’s Hardware & Building Supplies for $3.95.

Jock and John Soles tied for the grand prize in the Loggers Sports Competition at the Kinsmen’s May Day Celebration.

And lastly we lost some great old timers like Reuben Gable, Mrs. James Tress and her mother Mrs. Blanche Hatch, Captain E. Russell and Captain John Blakely.

All of this and more from 56 years ago.

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