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    Passing of the swell saloons in a gold mining town

    Rossland, B.C. was  a rip-roaring gold mining town of 8,000 people in the late nineteenth century, but when the mines ran out of ore it became something of a ghost town and all the swell saloons were shut down. Their passing was mourned in this piece from the Vancouver Sun, February 12, 1912.

    In the first flush days of ’97 Rossland was full of talented drinkers and swell saloons. That era has passed away and the old camp is down to a beer basis. The Miner says that Rossland has seen the last of the magnificent fixtures with which the old Strand and the Queen’s saloons were furnished. They have been sold and will be shipped to Moose Jaw.

    These fixtures were, perhaps, as expensive as any modern saloon fixtures ever brought to British Columbia. The opening of the Strand was one of the memorable events of Rossland’s boom era, and four bartenders on the day, with four more at night, together with extras within quick call, made up the staff.

    Ed. Watson was the host and was [as] deeply occupied as the floor walker of the lace counter in a department store. For a long time visitors to Rossland would go to the Strand to view its magnificence as well as to see the proprietor.

    A little later when several good customers left Rossland, the bank took charge of the fixtures for safekeeping. Mr. Watson moved to Seattle, where he died.

    The Queen’s fixtures were even more handsome and superior to the Strand. They were of solid mahogany, and it took eight men to lift the two-inch sold mahogany slab which covered the bar.

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    TAGS: Saloons, Gold rush, Boom towns, Rossland, Liquor

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