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Other Name
"ALBERTA MEAT MARKET"
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
STEEL, WOOD, IRON
Catalogue Number
P20180025000
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
"ALBERTA MEAT MARKET"
Date
1955
Materials
STEEL, WOOD, IRON
No. Pieces
3
Height
115
Length
427
Width
24
Description
A. COMMERCIAL ADVERTISING SIGN, NEON. BODY STEEL PAINTED WITH TWO-TONE BLUE ON FRONT; FRONT HAS RED WOODEN LETTERS MOUNTED TO METAL FRAME AT BACK, SPELLING “ALBERTA" WITH WHITE NEON LETTERS OVERLAID. FRONT HAS WHITE LETTERS PAINTED ON BLUE BODY WITH OVERLAID WHITE NEON LETTERS READING “MEAT MARKET”. NEON LETTERS COMPRISED OF CONNECTED CLEAR, GLASS TUBES WITH BACKS PAINTED WHITE, AND UNPAINTED FRONTS; LETTERS ARE CONNECTED AND PAINTED BLACK BETWEEN INDIVIDUAL LETTERS; NEON LETTERS CONNECT INTO SIGN . LETTERS FASTENED TO FRONT OF SIGN BODY WITH BRACKETED GLASS EXTENSIONS, AND WITH SILVER WIRES TIED TO LETTERS. SIGN BODY IS RECTANGULAR WITH CUT-OUT SPACE IN CENTER WITH “ALBERTA" WOOD LETTERS IN FRONT OF CUT-OUT SPACE. SIGN BODY SLOPES DOWN FROM UPPER RIGHT CORNER; LOWER EDGE OF BODY SLOPES UP FROM RIGHT CORNER. SIGN FRONT HAS NEON TUBING ALONG UPPER EDGE ON BLUE FRAME, WITH SHORTER NEON TUBE RUNNING ACROSS FRAMING NEON TUBING ON THE LEFT SIDE. FRONT OF SIGN HAS LOGO BETWEEN “MEAT” AND “MARKET” NEON TEXT; LOGO COMPRISED OF RED BANNER EXTENDING FROM SIDES OF WHITE SHIELD IN CENTER; SHIELD HAS BLUE BORDER WITH BLUE “N” IN CENTER; RED BANNERS HAVE WHITE BORDERS AND WHITE TEXT ACROSS LOGO “NATIONAL NEON”.RED WOODEN LETTER “L” WARPED AND SPLITTING AT FRONT. TOP OF SIGN BODY STAINED WITH WHITE PAINT AND BLACK SOILING. BACK OF SIGN HAS FIXED BRACKETS ALONG EDGES WITH HOLES PUNCHED AT TOP AND BOLTED AT BOTTOMS TO SIGN BACK. BACK HAS BLACK POWER CORD EXTENDING WITH YELLOW POWER PLUG AT END; BACK HAS PAINT PEELING, IS STAINED AND RUSTED. BACK OF RED WOODEN LETTER “R” IS CRACKED; BACKS OF RED WOODEN LETTERS STAINED WITH YELLOW AND BLUE PAINT. OVERALL VERY GOOD CONDITION. B. NEON TUBING REMNANT, LETTERS “TA”, 41 CM LONG X 54 CM WIDE. GLASS TUBING FILLED WITH WHITE, PAINTED BLACK ON BACKS AND AT ENDS. ENDS BENT AND FITTED WITH METAL CAPS WITH WIRES EXTENDING TO FIT INTO FRONT OF SIGN. LETTERS “TA” FASHION IN CURSIVE FONT AND CONNECTED; TUBE LOOPS OVER AT JUNCTION IN “A” AND GOING UP THE “T”. LOWER END OF “A” HAS BLUE PAINT STAINING; PAINT CHIPPED AROUND ENDS; OVERALL VERY GOOD CONDITION. C. NEON TUBING REMNANT, LETTERS “AT”, 28 CM LONG X 50 CM WIDE. CLEAR GLASS TUBING, EMPTY, GLASS IS YELLOWED. TUBING PAINTED BLACK ON BACK, AT LOWER BASE, AND AT ENDS. ENDS BENT AND FITTED WITH METAL CAPS WITH WIRES EXTENDING TO FIT INTO FRONT OF SIGN. TUBES LOOP OVER AT JUNCTION IN “A” AND AT THE TOP LINE IN “T”. PAINT CHIPPED ON BACK AND FRONT; END CAPS RUSTED; OVERALL VERY GOOD CONDITION.
Subjects
ADVERTISING MEDIUM
Historical Association
BUSINESS
INDUSTRY
History
IN 2018, THE GALT MUSEUM RECEIVED A COMMERCIAL NEON SIGN FROM THE ALBERTA MEAT MARKET, OWNED AND OPERATED BY THE CRIGHTON FAMILY. IN THE 1920S, GEORGE CRIGHTON OPENED CRIGHTON MEAT MARKET ON 3RD AVENUE BETWEEN 7TH AND 8TH STREET IN DOWNTOWN LETHBRIDGE, AND OPENED THE ALBERTA MEAT MARKET AS A SECOND SHOP AT 510—6TH AVENUE SOUTH. THE ALBERTA MEAT MARKET REMAINED OPERATED BY THE CRIGHTON FAMILY UNTIL ITS CLOSURE IN 2012. THE ORIGINAL NEON SIGN FROM THE ALBERTA MEAT MARKET WAS REMOVED AND DONATED ON NOVEMBER 22, 2018. IN APRIL 2019, THE SIGN UNDERWENT RESTORATIONS TO REPAIR THE NEON LETTERING AT L.A. NEON, LETHBRIDGE, PRIOR TO ITS INSTALLATION IN THE GALT MUSEUM PERMANENT DISPLAYS ON JULY 9, 2019. ON DECEMBER 19, 2018, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN INTERVIEWED ELAINE BROWN, WHOSE FATHER-IN-LAW, DAVE BROWN, OWNED NATIONAL NEAN DISPLAYS LTD., AND WHOSE HUSBAND, ALLAN BROWN, WORKED FOR NATIONAL NEON. ON THE “ALBERTA MEAT MARKET” SIGN, BROWN RECALLED, “THAT WAS ONE OF THE FIRST SIGNS THAT THEY MADE…THE WOOD ON IT, IS WHY I KNEW THAT IT WAS ONE OF THE FIRST ONES.” “[ALLAN] USED TO GO AROUND EVERY EVENING, ONCE A WEEK, AND CHECK AND MAKE SURE [THE SIGNS] WERE ALL KEPT UP. IF ANY OF THE NEON WAS BROKEN, THEN THEY WOULD IMMEDIATELY GO AND REPAIR IT SO THAT EVERYTHING WAS ‘AS IS’. HE WORKED [AT NATIONAL NEON] ALL DAY.” “[ALLAN] WAS PROUD OF THEM ALL. HE KNEW EXACTLY WHERE EVERY SIGN WAS. ANY ONE THAT HE WOULD PUT UP, HE COULD GO IN AND REPAIR QUICKLY, BECAUSE HE KNEW EXACTLY WHERE EVERYTHING WAS.” “ALLAN USED TO PAINT AND HANG SIGNS, [HIS BROTHER] JIM USED TO BLOW THE NEON AND [HIS BROTHER] BUSTER WOULD ALSO HANG SIGNS.” BROWN FURTHER ELABORATED ON THE HISTORY OF NATIONAL NEON DISPLAYS, STATING, “BEFORE [WE MARRIED IN 1957] ALLAN’S DAD, DAVE, BOUGHT THE BUSINESS WITH HIS THREE SONS…[IT WAS] NATIONAL NEON DISPLAYS LTD.” “IT WAS [AN EXISTING] BUSINESS OWNED BY ANOTHER BROWN…[DAVE] WAS INTERESTED IN IT, SO HE WENT IN AND DID ALL THE LEGWORK TO SEE IF HE COULD MAKE A GO OF IT. OBVIOUSLY, HE DECIDED HE COULD BECAUSE HE [AND THE SONS] BOUGHT IT.” “[ALLAN’S FAMILY] HADN’T BEEN [MAKING SIGNS] BEFORE BUT I PRESUME THEY KNEW THAT THEY COULD MAKE IT GO AND THEY COULD MAKE SIGNS. GRANDPA BROWN SAID THAT HE THOUGHT THEY COULD MAKE IT GO AND THEY DID.” “[ALLAN] DIDN’T THINK THE PLASTIC [SIGNS], WITH JUST THE FACE, WERE AS EYE-CATCHING AS THE NEON SIGNS NOR WERE THEY AS NICE TO LOOK AT WHEN THEY WERE ON. HE REALLY TOOK AN INTEREST IN IT; HE REALLY TRIED TO KEEP IT UP QUITE WELL. THEN HE RETIRED AND WE SOLD TO A MAN FROM CALGARY. I DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THAT BUT I THINK NEON PRODUCTS OWNS IT NOW, SO THEY SHUT [THE ORIGINAL] BUILDING DOWN. ALLAN HAD SOLD THE BUILDING AFTER HE RETIRED AND THEN THEY SHUT [THE] BUILDING DOWN AFTER THAT.” “WE HOPED THAT NATIONAL NEON WOULD BE IN PEOPLE’S MINDS AS BEING HERE AND BUILDING THOSE SIGNS…NATIONAL NEON WAS HERE AS A COMPANY AND EXPANDED FROM HERE. [ALLAN] USED TO GO INTO B.C. AND SASKATCHEWAN, TO EDMONTON…TO SELL THEM. IT WASN’T JUST A LOCAL BUSINESS. IT WAS ALL OVER, B.C., SASKATCHEWAN, ALBERTA—AND I THOUGHT IT WAS REALLY INTERESTING THAT THEY’D PICK ONE OF THE FIRST SIGNS THAT [ALLAN] BUILT TO TAKE DOWN AND PRESERVE. I’M SURE [ALLAN] WOULD HAVE BEEN HAPPY WITH THAT.” ON NOVEMBER 28, 2019, MACLEAN INTERVIEWED MIRIAM SMITH AND BOB CRIGHTON REGARDING THEIR MEMORIES OF THE ALBERTA MEAT MARKET, OWNED AND OPERATED BY THEIR GRANDFATHER GEORGE CRIGHTON, FATHER JAMES CRIGHTON, AND THEMSELVES. ON THE HISTORY OF THE ALBERTA MEAT MARKET, MIRIAM SMITH RECALLED, “THE CRIGHTON FAMILY MOVED FROM SCOTLAND IN 1920…[GRANDPA CRIGHTON] OPENED THE STORE; HE RAN THE 6TH AVENUE STORE. HE RAISED HIS SONS OUT OF THERE. DAD WAS A BUTCHER IN SCOTLAND; THEY ALL BECOME BUTCHERS. BOBBY LEFT; TOMMY LEFT; DAVEY, HE WAS A BUTCHER; GEORGE WENT TO CAMPBELL RIVER.” “[DAD TOOK OVER THE SHOP ON 6TH AVENUE] ’38, OR ’39.” BOB CRIGHTON ELABORATED, “[DAD] TRIED TO ENLIST, BUT HE HAD THE STORE ON 3RD AVENUE, AND HE WENT BROKE THERE. THAT WAS CALLED CRIGHTON’S MEAT MARKET AT THAT TIME...HE HAD TO PAY ALL OF HIS BILLS OFF, SO MY GRANDPA ASKED HIM TO TAKE OVER THE 6TH AVENUE STORE. SO HE TOOK OVER THE 6TH AVENUE STORE, AND CHANGED IT TO THE ALBERTA MEAT MARKET.” “[WHEN DAD GOT THE NEW NEON SIGN] I REMEMBER HIM PUTTING IT UP. DAD RENOVATED THE STORE AND WE GOT NEW MEAT COUNTERS, AND WHEN HE GOT THE NEW SIGN UP, I WATCHED THEM PUT IT UP. NATIONAL NEON PUT IT UP…I WAS 12-14 YEARS OLD.” MIRIAM SMITH RECALLED, “I WORKED THERE WHEN I WENT TO SCHOOL. I HAD TO ANSWER THE TELEPHONE ON SATURDAYS, OR HOLIDAYS…IT WAS A BUSY STORE. I REMEMBER ALONG 6TH AVENUE AND 5TH STREET, YOU COULDN’T FIND A PLACE TO PARK BECAUSE IT WAS SO BUSY. I REMEMBER, AT LUNCHTIME, I USED TO SAY, 'I’M GOING TO GO FOR MY LUNCH NOW,' AND THERE USED TO BE SILVER’S ACROSS THE STREET. MY DAD WOULD ALWAYS SAY, ‘NO, YOU CAN’T GO. I’VE GOT TO FIX THE COUNTER AND GET MY PARSLEY OUT.' HE ALWAYS HAD HIS COUNTER VERY BEAUTIFULLY DONE.” “THE PHONE WOULD RING OFF THE HOOK, ESPECIALLY [WITH] EVERYBODY WANTING TO ORDER THEIR MEAT. IT WAS PLEASANT VISITING WITH THE DIFFERENT PEOPLE. SOME OF THEM I KNEW; SOME OF THEM I DIDN’T. BUT I FOUND MOST PEOPLE VERY NICE TO CHAT WITH. I REMEMBER MY DAD, AND DORIS HUNT (H.B.HUNT), THE DOCTOR’S WIFE. SHE USED TO COME IN, AND SHE WAS QUITE A BOISTEROUS LADY, AND SHE SPOKE HER MIND. I REMEMBER ONE TIME SHE SAID TO MY DAD, 'JIMMY, THAT ROAST BEEF YOU GAVE ME LAST WEEK WAS TOUGHER THAN HELL.' WELL, MY DAD SAID TO HER, 'YOU KNOW, DORIS, I REMEMBER YOUR HUSBAND TOOK MY APPENDIX OUT, AND THEY COME BACK AGAIN.'" MIRIAM SMITH NOTED, "I REMEMBER THE TIME THAT DAD GAVE THE TURKEY TO THE KID…THE KID HAD NO MONEY, AND HE COME FOR HAMBURGER.” BOB CRIGHTON ELABORATED, “HAMBURGER, AT CHRISTMAS TIME. IT WAS 40 BELOW OUTSIDE, AND HE [CAME] DOWN…HE SAID, ‘I WANT A POUND OF HAMBURGER, MR. CRIGHTON.' [DAD] SAYS, ‘WHAT ARE YOU HAVING FOR CHRISTMAS SUPPER?' 'HAMBURGER.' 'JUST A MINUTE.' SO, [DAD] GETS A TURKEY, AND A HAM, AND SAUSAGE. GOT A BAG FOR HIM, AND HE SAYS, 'THERE – MERRY CHRISTMAS.'" “DAD WAS A PRETTY GENEROUS MAN! WHEN ANDY KERGEN DIED, JUDY [CAME] IN. SHE WAS CRYING. SHE HAD A $200.00 BILL; SHE COULDN’T PAY IT. SHE HAD $5.00 TO PUT ON THE BILL. DAD SAYS, “GIVE ME THE BILL, JUDY.” HE LOOKED AT THE BILL; HE TOOK HIS WALLET OUT AND PAID THE BILL, AND THEN GAVE HER THE RECEIPT.” MIRIAM SMITH CONTINUED, “I ALWAYS REMEMBER WHEN WE WERE KIDS GROWING UP, WE ALWAYS HAD LOTS OF MEAT. WHATEVER WAS LEFT OVER AT THE STORE [WOULD] COME HOME…WE COULD BRING ANYBODY WE WANTED, MOTHER DIDN’T MIND. THE MEAT PLATTER WOULD BE PLACED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TABLE, AND THE WATER PITCHER. NOBODY WANTED TO SIT BESIDE THE WATER PITCHER, BECAUSE ALL YOU DID WAS POUR WATER.” MIRIAM SMITH NOTED, “[WE, THE CHILDREN, BOUGHT DAD OUT] IN 1965.” ON DECEMBER 11, 2018, MACLEAN INTERVIEWED KEN CRIGHTON, GRANDSON OF JAMES [JIM] CRIGHTON. KEN CRIGHTON WORKED WITH THE FAMILY IN ALBERTA MEAT MARKET. ON HIS MEMORIES OF WORKING IN THE ALBERTA MEAT MARKET, KEN CRIGHTON NOTED, “I WAS THERE EVERY DAY FOR 30 SOME YEARS…MY DAD AND HIS TWO BROTHERS WERE OPERATING IT WHEN I WAS A KID. [I] GOT TOLD TO GET DOWN THERE, AND HELP CLEAN UP; DO SOME CHORES; HELP WITH DELIVERIES; THEN I WORKED INTO LEARNING HOW TO CUT MEAT.” “[MY GRANDFATHER OWNED IT] JAMES ANDERSON CRIGHTON, BUT EVERYONE CALLED HIM ‘JIM’.” “[MY] FIRST MEMORIES OF GOING THERE TO WORK WAS HAVING TO RIDE ON YOUR BIKE, OR WALK FROM SCHOOL RIGHT AFTER SCHOOL, TO HELP CLEAN UP EITHER AT 4 O’CLOCK OR 4:30. IT ALWAYS SEEMED TO ME THAT I WAS DOING THE BULK OF THE WORK, AND THEY WERE DOING MOST OF THE BEER-DRINKING.” “EVERY NIGHT YOU HAD TO EMPTY ALL THE MEAT OUT OF THE COUNTER, COVER IT OVER, TAKE IT, PUT IT IN THE BIG COOLER; TAKE ALL THE PLATTERS OUT OF THE COUNTER, WASH THEM, DRY THEM…EVERYTHING FROM SWEEPING THE FLOOR, TO RAKING THE FLOOR. WE USED TO HAVE SAWDUST ON THE FLOOR TO SOAK UP ALL THE BLOOD AND FAT THAT WOULD FALL DOWN. YOU’D RUN A RAKE THROUGH IT TO PICK UP ALL THE BIG CHUNKS OF GARBAGE, AND THEN TWICE A WEEK YOU’D SWEEP UP ALL THE SAWDUST, AND REPLACE IT WITH FRESH SAWDUST. THAT ENDED WHEN THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT CHANGED…WHEN I WAS ABOUT 12-13, SO THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN 1972.” “[THE SHOP WAS OPEN] SIX DAYS A WEEK. WE WERE ONLY CLOSED, THEN, ON SUNDAYS.” “EVERY DAY, WEEKDAYS AFTER SCHOOL, AND SATURDAYS, I WOULD HELP THE GUY THAT WOULD DO DELIVERIES. WE’D RUN OUT A COUPLE, OR THREE, LOADS OF DELIVERIES TO HOUSES. IT WAS DIFFERENT BACK THEN. WE HAD SOME CUSTOMERS WHO WOULD ORDER THEIR STUFF IN THE MORNING FOR WHAT THEY WANTED FOR LUNCH. THEN THEY PHONE IN THE AFTERNOON, AND ORDER FOR WHAT THEY WANTED FOR SUPPER, WHICH, LATER ON, BECAME THE, “NO, YOU GET ONE DELIVERY A DAY.”” KEN CRIGHTON RECALLED THE LAYOUT OF THE SHOP, STATING, “THE FRONT HALF OF THE BUILDING, WHERE THE CUSTOMERS WERE, WAS PROBABLY ONLY ABOUT THE FIRST THIRD, MAYBE HALF OF THE BUILDING. A GLASS COUNTER/COOLER [WAS] ALONG THE MIDDLE, AND BEHIND IT WAS WHERE WE HAD OUR CUTTING BLOCKS AND SAW. [THERE WAS A] LITTLE COUNTER FOR A PHONE, [A] LITTLE COUNTER TO DO BOOKS ON, [AND] A 6’ WIDE AREA FOR THE CUSTOMERS TO STAND. EVERYTHING WAS SERVED. THERE WAS NO ‘THEM PICKING IT OUT’ AT THE COUNTER. IT WAS ALL DONE AND WRAPPED IN BROWN PAPER BY US.” “ON THE LEFT SIDE, [THERE WAS] A GOOD 15’ TO 20’ WALK-IN COOLER. THEN, ALONG THE WEST WALL, WE HAD A SMALL FREEZER WITH SHELVES. [IT] HAD NINE LITTLE DOORS THAT [OPENED] UP, AND SLIDE TRAYS IN. WHEN YOU’RE DOING FREEZER BEEF ORDERS, YOU’D USE THAT TO FREEZE THEM UP. [THERE WAS] A LITTLE WALK-IN FREEZER TO HOLD THE BOXES, PROBABLY ONLY 3’ BY 6’. [THERE WAS] A COUNTER [AT] THE BACK END, WITH A STOVE, THAT WE WOULD USE TO COOK UP CORNED BEEF, [AND] A FEW OTHER COLD MEATS.” “WE HAD A DOUBLE DOOR ON THE SIDE THAT WENT TO THE ALLEY, THAT WE WOULD BRING THE STUFF IN OFF THE TRUCK. USUALLY IT WAS TUESDAYS AND THURSDAYS, WE WOULD GET THE BIG ORDERS OF HANGING BEEF IN. WE HAD TWO HUGE 2’ BY 6’ PIECES OF WOOD THAT WERE ON BIG HOOKS THAT WERE PROPPED UP IN THE ATTIC. THEN YOU WOULD HANG YOUR BIG MEAT HOOKS ON THEM. YOU COULD GET 8 HIND QUARTERS, AND 6-8 FRONT QUARTERS HANGING UP IN THERE. ONE DAY WAS THE DAY YOU WOULD BREAK THEM DOWN INTO PIECES, AND THEN PUT THEM INTO THE COOLER, OR SAVE THE QUARTERS IF YOU HAD A WHOLE QUARTER FOR A FREEZER ORDER.” “[I LEARNED THE TRADE] MOSTLY BY WATCHING…BY THE TIME I WAS 15-16, [I WAS] IN THERE DOING EVERY SINGLE THING THEY’RE DOING: RUNNING THE BAND SAW, THE GRINDER, MIXING UP BURGERS, MAKING PATTIES, THE WHOLE DEAL. [I] DIDN’T REALLY GET TO SERVE CUSTOMERS TILL [I WAS] OLDER. A LOT OF THE CUSTOMERS, EVEN THEN, DIDN’T WANT ME SERVING THEM, [THEY] WANTED THE OLD MAN, OR ONE OF THE OLDER GUYS. I’M SURE LOTS OF FAMILY BUSINESSES RUN INTO THAT, WHERE THE OLD-TIME CUSTOMERS ONLY WANT THE OLDER PEOPLE LOOKING AFTER THEM.” “[THE SHOP DID WELL] I THINK BECAUSE, PROBABLY A LOT OF REPUTATION, AND PERSONALIZED SERVICE. BUT, AFTER A WHILE, IT GOT TO BE THAT YOU WERE RUNNING INTO A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT WOULD WANT YOUR QUALITY/YOUR SERVICE BUT AT THE SAME SALE PRICE THAT THE BIG STORES WOULD HAVE. THAT WAS THE FRUSTRATION OF IT…I WOULD SAY PROBABLY 90% OF THE CLIENTELE WERE REPEATS, AND YOU HAD YOUR STEADY CORE CUSTOMERS…THEY WOULD GET WHAT THEY LIKED.” “[IN THE 1980S] THERE WAS MYSELF, DAD, [AND] HE HAD TWO OTHER YOUNGER PEOPLE WORKING, ONE NAMED LEN, WHO WAS CUTTING MEAT, AND ANOTHER [WOMAN] NAMED IDA, WHO CUT. BUSINESS STARTED TO TAPER OFF THEN. HE LAID OFF IDA, AND THEN ME, AND LEN, AND DAD WOULD PRETTY WELL OPERATE THE WHOLE SHOW. THAT WAS ABOUT 1990.” “[DAD] WAS VERY, I THINK, ASTUTE AT THE BUSINESS…[HE] HAD TO BE, BECAUSE THAT WAS THEIR LIVING. THEY HAD NOTHING ELSE TO FALL BACK ON. [HE HAD TO] MAKE IT WORK. HE WAS REALLY GOOD WITH THE CUSTOMERS. HE ENJOYED SERVING THE CUSTOMERS MORE THAN THE GRUNT WORK IN THE BACK. HE COULD DO IT, BUT HE PREFERRED BEING UP FRONT, WORKING WITH THE PEOPLE. ME AND MY UNCLE RON COULD STAY IN THE BACK ALL DAY. I COULD STAND THERE AT THAT BLOCK, AND WE COULD CUT MEAT 8 HOURS STRAIGHT. [IT] WOULDN’T BOTHER US. I COULD HANDLE SERVING THE CUSTOMERS, BUT I PREFERRED JUST WORKING.” “[BUSINESS] REALLY STARTED DECLINING…I REALLY NOTICED IT AROUND 2008, 2009. FOR THE LAST WHILE, [I] JUST HAD MYSELF AND ONE OTHER YOUNG FELLOW, GARRY, WORKING THERE. IT WAS TO THE POINT WHERE YOU COULDN’T MAKE ENOUGH SALES TO AFFORD ANOTHER PERSON, BUT IT WAS TOO BUSY FOR ONE. GARRY WAS STARTING TO HAVE A FAMILY, AND NEEDED MORE MONEY. HE LEFT TO GO WORK SOMEWHERE ELSE. SO, I HUNG ONTO IT, AND JUST DID IT ALL BY MYSELF FOR THE LAST FOUR YEARS. BEING THE ONLY GUY THERE, EVERY HOUR OF EVERY DAY, FOR TEN HOURS A DAY, STARTED TO GET TO ME. IT GOT TO THE POINT WHERE, IN 2011, EARLY 2012, I JUST THOUGHT, “THERE’S NO POINT IN WORKING LIKE THIS, AND NOT MAKING ANYTHING. I MIGHT AS WELL DO NOTHING, AND MAKE THE SAME AMOUNT.”” KEN CRIGHTON SOLD ALBERTA MEAT MARKET IN 2012. MIRIAM SMITH SPOKE TO HER THOUGHTS ON THE SIGN BEING DONATED TO THE GALT MUSEUM, NOTING, “I’M VERY HAPPY. I THINK IT’S A GOOD PLACE FOR IT, AND I THINK KENNETH, AND EVERYBODY FEELS THAT WAY.” KEN CRIGHTON CONFIRMED, “I’M ECSTATIC! I WOULD RATHER IT BE HERE. OUR WHOLE FAMILY’S LOST OUR IDENTITY/ERASED [IT] BY HAVING IT JUST THROWN AWAY. ON THE OTHER HAND, I DIDN’T WANT IT STILL ON THE BUILDING, [WITH] THE BUILDING BEING USED FOR A DIFFERENT PURPOSE, AND HAVING THE NAME ASSOCIATED. [IT] FELT LIKE THE NAME BELONGED TO THE CRIGHTON’S MORE THAN THE COMMUNITY, OR WHOEVER OWNED THE BUILDING.” FOR MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION, FAMILY OBITUARIES, AND ARTICLES FROM THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD, PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE P20180025000-GA.
Catalogue Number
P20180025000
Acquisition Date
2018-11
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
"LETHBRIDGE HERALD AGENT"
Date Range From
1950
Date Range To
1960
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
TIN, INK
Catalogue Number
P20180004000
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
"LETHBRIDGE HERALD AGENT"
Date Range From
1950
Date Range To
1960
Materials
TIN, INK
No. Pieces
1
Length
30.6
Width
25.8
Description
METAL SIGN WITH DOUBLE-SIDED PRINTING ON LIGHT BROWN BACKGROUND. SIGN SHOWS BLACK SQUARE BACKGROUND WITH RED TRIM AND LIGHT BROWN TEXT WITH RED TRIM READING “AGENT FOR THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD HERE, THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH”; SIGN HAS SMALL BLACK TEXT PRINTED AT BOTTOM RIGHT CORNER “TMOS. DAVIDSON MFG. CO. LTD. MONTREAL”. BACK OF SIGN IS PRINTED THE SAME. SIGN HAS JAGGED METAL EDGE BENT DOWN ON LEFT SIDE; SIGN IS RUSTED FRONT AND BACK AND FADED; SIGN IS SCRATCHED IN FRONT UPPER RIGHT CORNER AND CORRODED LOWER LEFT CORNER. OVERALL GOOD CONDITION.
Subjects
ADVERTISING MEDIUM
Historical Association
BUSINESS
PROFESSIONS
History
ON MARCH 19TH, 2018, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN CONTACTED DAN PLOURDE, THE "AGENT FOR...HERALD" SIGN'S SELLER. THE SIGN WAS PURCHASED BY THE GALT MUSEUM AT URBAN PRAIRIE ANTIQUE MALL ON MARCH 21, 2018. PLOURDE, A PICKER, LEASES MALL SPACE AT URBAN PRAIRIE AS A LOCATION TO SELL HIS PICKS. PLOURDE TOLD MACLEAN THAT THE HERALD SIGN CAME FROM A RURAL PROPERTY NEAR CHIN LAKE. THE RURAL LOCATION FEATURED "QUONSETS" FULL OF OTHER ITEMS, INCLUDING GAS MEMORABILIA AND FURNITURE. THE ORIGINAL OWNER OF THE SIGN, WHO LIVED AT THE PROPERTY WAS NO LONGER LIVING. THE OWNER, CONTINUED PLOURDE, CONDUCTED HIS OWN PICKING "IN BACK ALLEYS IN LETHBRIDGE 60 YEARS AGO". PLOURDE ATTEMPTED TO SELL THE SIGN IN FORT MACLEAD BEFORE RECOGNIZING THAT ITS MARKET WAS GREATER IN LETHBRIDGE. FOR COPIES OF INFORMATION REGARDING THE SIGN, PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE P20180004000-GA.
Catalogue Number
P20180004000
Acquisition Date
2018-03
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
MAHJONG SET
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
PLASTIC
Catalogue Number
P20150028000
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
MAHJONG SET
Date
1987
Materials
PLASTIC
No. Pieces
159
Height
9.6
Length
23
Width
23
Description
A – G: 7 STANDARD 6-SIDED DICE. 6 OF THE DICE HAVE BLACK DOTS ON A WHITE BACKGROUND, EXCEPT RED DOTS FOR THE ONE AND THE FOUR ON ALL DICE. THE SEVENTH DIE IS THE SAME AS THE FIRST SIX BUT WITH BROWN DOTS INSTEAD OF BLACK. THE DICE ARE 1.4 CM CUBED WITH ROUNDED EDGES. GOOD CONDITION: NORMAL WEAR FROM USE. H-I: A DIRECTIONAL PIECE CUBE (LIKE A DIE) AND A HOLDER. THERE ARE RED CHINESE CHARACTERS ON 4 OF THE 6 SIDES OF THE WHITE CUBE. THE DIE IS 1.2 CM CUBED. THE PIECE’S CIRCULAR HOLDER HAS A RED TOP AND A WHITE BASE WITH A CUBE INSERT IN THE CENTER OF THE TOP THAT FITS THE DIRECTIONAL PIECE. THE HOLDER IS IN FAIR TO GOOD CONDITION. IT IS WELL WORN AND THE EDGES ARE YELLOWING. FAIR TO GOOD CONDITION WITH SOME WEAR TO THE CHARACTERS AND THE CORNERS OF THE DIE. J-BBBBBBB: MAHJONG GAME SET. 144 TILES PLUS 4 BLANK SPARES (148 TILES TOTAL). THERE ARE 108 SIMPLE TILES (OF THE 3 SUITS: DOTS, BAMBOO, AND CHARACTERS), THERE ARE 28 HONOURS TILES (16 WINDS AND 16 DRAGONS), AND THERE ARE TWO SETS OF BONUS TILES (FLOWERS AND SEASONS) EACH WITH 4 TILES IN THE SET. EACH TILE IS 3.5 X 2.8 X 2.1 CM. VERY GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION WITH SLIGHT SCUFFING ON THE TILES. CCCCCCC – DDDDDDD: GREEN RUBBERMAID PLASTIC CONTAINER WITH A WHITE PLASTIC LID FOR THE MAHJONG SET’S CASE. THE BOTTOM OF THE CONTAINER READS “RUBBERMAID 4 QUARTS” “J-3204”. THE DIMENSIONS OF THE CONTAINER ARE 23 X 23 X 9.6 CM. THE DIMENSIONS OF THE LID ARE 23 X 24.5 X 1.5 CM. GOOD CONDITION. THE OVERALL SURFACE OF BOTH THE CONTAINER AND THE LID ARE SCRATCHED. ON THE LID, THE TOP COATING OF PLASTIC IS PEELING OFF. THERE IS ADHESIVE TAPE RESIDUE IN ONE CORNER.
Subjects
GAME
Historical Association
ETHNOGRAPHIC
LEISURE
History
ON NOVEMBER 10, 2015, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN INTERVIEWED RICHARD LOO AT THE GALT MUSEUM REGARDING A MAHJONG SET HE WAS DONATING TO THE MUSEUM. THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION HAS BEEN EXTRACTED FROM THAT INTERVIEW: MAHJONG IS A TILE-BASED GAME THAT ORIGINATED IN CHINA. LOO RECALLS ACQUIRING THE SET APPROXIMATELY 30 OR 40 YEARS AGO. HE SAID HE GOT THEM, “WHEN I WENT BACK TO HONG KONG. LET’S SEE – ’87. I WENT TO HONG KONG IN ’87. I BOUGHT SEVERAL [MAHJONG] SETS… TO GIVE TO THE KIDS IF THEY WERE INTERESTED. HERE, THEY ARE NOT AVAILABLE – NOT IN THIS CITY. YOU CAN GET IT IN CALGARY, BUT, IF I BROUGHT IT BACK FROM CHINA, IT’S A BETTER DEAL FOR ME… I STILL HAVE A COUPLE OF SETS AT HOME. I GIVE SOME TO MY FRIENDS; SOME TO THE KIDS.” WHEN ASKED ABOUT HIS USE OF GAME SET, LOO EXPLAINED, “I USE IT NOT TOO MANY TIMES… THEY COME IN A CASE – LIKE A BRIEFCASE - JUST FLIMSY STUFF. IF IT WAS USED SO LONG, IT WOULD JUST GO IN PIECES. SO I PUT IT INTO CONTAINERS – KEEPS A BETTER SHAPE, THAT’S ALL.” HE EXPLAINS THAT THE GAME IS PLAYED, “MOSTLY AT HOME. TO FOOL AROUND; JUST TO KILL TIME,” AND THAT THE SET DONATED WAS A PERSONAL SET THAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN AT LOO’S HOUSE. “THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT STYLES OF PLAY. WHEN I CAME, IN THOSE DAYS, WE PLAYED A DIFFERENT WAY, AND AFTER YOU STAYED FOR A LITTLE WHILE, THEY PLAYED A DIFFERENT WAY… YOU PLAY THIS GAME MORE GENERALLY FOR ENTERTAINMENT, KILLING TIME; THE PURPOSE IS NOT TO MAKE MONEY… SEE, I REMEMBER THOSE DAYS, WHEN I WAS YOUNG – JUST A KID THOSE DAYS, IN THE OLD COUNTRY, OLD DAYS. IN THE NEW YEAR, I SAW FOUR OLDER GENTLEMEN PLAY THESE GAMES, BUT I DON’T UNDERSTAND…. WE CALL IT OLD STYLE. NOBODY IS INTERESTED IN PLAYING OLD STYLE ANYMORE. [IT IS] QUITE COMPLICATED... THEY PLAY THIS ONE, JUST LIKE YOU PLAY RUMMY, BUT YOU HAVE TO USE YOUR HEAD A LITTLE BIT. SOMETIMES YOU’VE GOT LUCK TOO." LOO SAYS HE DOES NOT MISS PLAYING THE GAME, “FOR MY AGE, NO. RIGHT NOW, NOT INTERESTED - [I'VE] GOT OTHER THINGS TO DO. YOU PLAY FOR SO LONG, AND THEN, [YOU ARE] NOT INTERESTED ANYMORE. WE USED TO PLAY THIS ON NEW YEAR’S EVE, TILL THE NEXT MORNING. [WE WOULD] START ON NEW YEAR’S EVE TILL TOMORROW MORNING, 6 OR 7 O’CLOCK. NOT ANYMORE. WE PLAYED AT ALBERT’S PLACE, BOW ON TONG…” THE FOLLOWING BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ABOUT RICHARD LOO HAS BEEN TAKEN FROM THE ARTIFACT RECORDS P20110031*: LOO ARRIVED IN LETHBRIDGE IN 1953, HAVING LEFT THE MAINLAND OF CHINA IN 1949. LOO'S GRANDFATHER HAD MOVED TO CANADA IN EITHER LATE 1800S OR THE EARLY 1900S AND HAD HAD TO PAY THE HEAD TAX. HIS GRANDFATHER WORKED AS A COOK IN RESTAURANTS, EITHER IN LETHBRIDGE OR IN TABER (ACCORDING TO LOO, HIS GRANDFATHER WORKED THROUGH THE WAR YEARS IN TABER). LOO’S GRANDFATHER HAD PLANNED ON MOVING BACK TO CHINA WHEN HE RETIRED, BUT THEN THE COMMUNISTS TOOK OVER, AND HE ELECTED TO STAY. AT THAT TIME, HE INVITED LOO TO MOVE TO LETHBRIDGE AS WELL. LOO LEFT HONG KONG, AFTER LIVING THERE FOR 8 MONTHS, ON A FRIDAY AFTERNOON AT 2PM LOCAL TIME. HE ARRIVED IN LETHBRIDGE SUNDAY AFTERNOON. HE WAS LUCKY IN THAT HE WAS ABLE TO GET HIS FLIGHTS ON SALE. NORMALLY A TICKET FROM HONG KONG TO VANCOUVER WOULD HAVE COST $700, BUT LOO WAS ABLE TO SECURE A FLIGHT FOR ONLY $500. HE ALSO INDICATED THAT HIS FLIGHT TO LETHBRIDGE WAS ONLY $39.95. ON RECALLING HIS FIRST TIME IN LETHBRIDGE, LOO RECOUNTED THE FOLLOWING STORY: “SO, BY THE TIME I GOT TO THE AIRPORT, I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO SAY [ANYTHING]. DIDN’T KNOW – MAYBE COULD SAY ‘GOOD MORNING’ – THAT’S ALL I COULD SAY, JUST HOW TO SAY ‘HELLO.' IN THE MEANTIME, THE FELLOW AT THE AIRPORT MUST HAVE KNOWN ZEKE, YOU KNOW ZEKE QUAN [OWNER OF] THE LOTUS INN [RESTAURANT], AND HE PHONED HIM UP. HE SAYS, ‘ZEKE.’ I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT – NOTHING. AND THEN HE SAYS, ‘HEY, THIS IS A CHINA BOY HERE. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH HIM?’ SO, ZEKE SAYS, ‘OH, JUST TAKE HIM TO CHINATOWN AND DUMP HIM.’ NOW, I DIDN’T KNOW THOSE, NOT UNTIL LATER ON. ZEKE’S SON GO TO SAME SCHOOL I DID – CENTRAL SCHOOL.” LOO INITIALLY LIVED IN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE SOCIETY BUILDING FOR SEVERAL YEARS, OCCUPYING A ROOM THAT HAD BEEN RECENTLY VACATED BY ANOTHER MAN NAMED LOO WHO HAD GONE TO WORK IN PICTURE BUTTE. LOO RECALLED THAT THE SOCIETY WAS A GOOD PLACE TO FEEL A SENSE OF COMMUNITY AND THAT IT WAS A WELCOMING PLACE FOR NEW CHINESE IMMIGRANTS, A PLACE WHERE THEY WEREN’T DISCRIMINATED AGAINST. PLEASE SEE PERMANENT FILE FOR MORE INFORMATION, INCLUDING FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION
Catalogue Number
P20150028000
Acquisition Date
2015-11
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
"RED DAWN"
Date Range From
1980
Date Range To
1990
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
PAPER, INK
Catalogue Number
P20180029001
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
"RED DAWN"
Date Range From
1980
Date Range To
1990
Materials
PAPER, INK
No. Pieces
1
Length
104
Width
68.8
Description
POSTER WITH IMAGE ON FRONT OF PURPLE AND BLUE SKY WITH SUNRISE AND PARATROOPERS DESCENDING OVER TOWN SURROUNDED BY MOUNTAINS AT BOTTOM EDGE. POSTER HAS WHITE BORDERS; POSTER HAS WHITE TEXT PRINTED ON IMAGE “IN OUR TIME NO FOREIGN ARMY HAS EVER OCCUPIED AMERICAN SOIL. UNTIL NOW” AND RED PRINTED TEXT BELOW WITH RUSSIAN SYLLABICS OVER “RED DAWN”; POSTER HAS WHITE CREDITS ALONG BOTTOM EDGE, “A VALKYRIE FILM A SIDNEY BECKERMAN PRODUCTION RED DAWN…” WITH LISTING OF CAST AND CREW MEMBERS. LOWER LEFT CORNER OF IMAGE HAS TEXT WARNING “PG-13, PARENTS ARE STRONGLY CAUTIONED TO GIVE SPECIAL GUIDANCE FOR ATTENDANCE OF CHILDREN UNDER 13, SOME MATERIAL MAY BE INAPPROPRIATE FOR YOUNG CHILDREN”, AND TEXT BESIDE “[COPYRIgHT SYMBOL” 1984 UNITED ARTISTS CORPORATION”; LOWER RIGHT CORNER OF IMAGE HAS LOGO “METRO GOLDWYN MAYER UNITED ARTISTS, DIAMOND JUBILEE, SIXTY YEARS OF GREAT ENTERTAINMENT”; POSTER HAS TEXT ALONG LOWER BORDER “PROPERTY OF NATIONAL SCREEN CORPORATION LICENSED FOR USE ONLY IN CONNECTION WITH THE EXHIBITION OF THIS PICTURE AT THE THEATRE LICENSING THIS MATERIAL. LICENSEE AGREES NOT TO TRADE, SELL OR GIVE IT AWAY, OR PERMIT OTHERS TO USE IT, NOR SHALL LICENSEE BE ENTITLED TO ANY CREDIT UPON RETURN OF THIS MATERIAL. THIS MATERIAL EITHER MUST BE RETURNED OR DESTROYED IMMEDIATELY AFTER USE. LITHO. IN U.S.A., RED DAWN 840077”. BACK OF POSTER HAS HANDWRITTEN TEXT IN RED INK IN LOWER LEFT CORNER “KEVIN MCLEAN $2.00” AND HANDWRITTEN TEXT IN BLUE INK “RED DAWN”. POSTER HAS TEARS AT RIGHT AND LEFT EDGES, AND LOWER EDGE; FRONT IS CREASED; BACK OF CORNERS HAS LOSS FROM REMOVAL OF ADHESIVES. OVERALL GOOD CONDITION.
Subjects
ADVERTISING MEDIUM
Historical Association
BUSINESS
LEISURE
History
ON DECEMBER 21, 2018, GALT MUSEUM CURATOR AIMEE BENOIT INTERVIeWED KEVIN MACLEAN REAGARDING HIS DONATION OF PERSONAL OBJECTS. THE OBJECTS DONATED BY MACLEAN REFLECTED HIS LIFE AND IDENTITY THROUGH HIS TIME IN LETHBRIDGE. ON THE “RED DAWN” FILM POSTER, MACLEAN ELABORATED, “THE POSTER [WAS] UP [IN MY ROOM].” “[IN] THE 1980S, AS A KID, AND I DON’T KNOW IF IT WAS JUST ME ‘CAUSE I WAS A NEWS JUNKIE, THE COLD WAR WAS A BIG DEAL IN THE EARLY ‘80S. THERE WERE SHOWS ON TV THAT WERE SCARING THE CRAP OUT OF ME. THERE WAS ONE CALLED "THE DAY AFTER" AND THAT WAS IN ’83. THEN IN 1984 THIS MOVIE COMES OUT WHICH IS CALLED RED DAWN WHICH IS, AGAIN, ABOUT RUSSIAN COMMUNIST INVASIONS OF NORTH AMERICA. IT’S A SMALL TOWN THAT ALL THESE TROOPS DROP INTO. TO SAY THE LEAST, I WAS SEMI-OBSESSED WITH THE SUBJECT MATTER.” “IF YOU WATCHED "THE DAY AFTER"…ON ONE HAND, THAT KIND OF SUBJECT MATTER CAN FEEL FOREIGN AND ABSTRACT AND NOT RELEVANT. BUT, IF AT THE SAME TIME YOU’RE A KID, AND YOUR PARENTS ARE WATCHING THE NEWS EVERY NIGHT, AND YOU HAVE AN INTEREST IN WHAT’S GOING ON—A LOT OF KIDS DON’T CARE BUT FOR SOME REASON, I WAS VERY INTERESTED. THEN YOU THOUGHT, “NO, THIS IS A VERY REAL PROSPECT. THIS COULD ACTUALLY HAPPEN.” I WAS TERRIFIED ABOUT IT. BUT, AT THE SAME TIME, I WAS ALSO ATTRACTED TO IT, LIKE A FLAME. IT WAS…ROCKETS…I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT WAS BUT I WAS ACTIVELY INTERESTED IN [THEM]. THEN AT SOME POINT, THAT PIVOTED, WHICH IS WHEN I KNOW I WAS LOOKING AT THE SOLDIER OF FORTUNE MAGAZINES AND THEN I STARTED BUYING COMIC BOOKS…WORLD WAR TWO COMIC BOOKS.” “WE DIDN’T HAVE MUCH TV OUT IN PICTURE BUTTE. [OTHER PEOPLE] PROBABLY HAD LOTS OF CHANNELS IN LETHBRIDGE. ONE CHANNEL WE DID HAVE—I THINK WE ONLY HAD THREE—WAS CBC. I REMEMBER [MY PARENTS] WATCHING THE NATIONAL. I THINK [THERE] WAS [A SHOW] CALLED THE JOURNAL WITH BARBARA FRUM [THAT MY PARENTS] WOULD WATCH AT TEN O’CLOCK EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. I WOULD SNEAK OUT OF MY ROOM AND HIDE BEHIND THE COUCH, AND [THE COLD WAR IS] ON THE NEWS EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.” “IN TERMS OF [THE COLD WAR] MANIFESTING ITSELF LOCALLY…I THINK TRUDEAU’S IN POWER, AND THERE’S A WHOLE DEBATE ABOUT CANADA HAVING NUKES IN THIS COUNTRY. ULTIMATELY, IT DIDN’T HAPPEN. BUT, THE U.S. WAS TESTING CRUISE MISSILES IN ALBERTA, AND NOT FAR FROM MY FRIEND’S HOUSE OUT NEAR PICTURE BUTTE, WHEN THE TALK OF A CRUISE MISSILE BEING TESTED IN ALBERTA WAS IN THE NEWS, ACTIVELY, PEOPLE WERE UNHAPPY AND PROTESTING. A BUNCH OF TRACTOR TRAILERS PULLED UP ON THE TOP OF A HILL, TWO MILES AWAY FROM [MY FRIEND’S] HOUSE, WITH U.S. LICENSE PLATES. OTHERWISE, THEY WERE TOTALLY UNMARKED. THEY BUILT THIS RADAR INSTALLATION UP ON THE TOP OF THE HILL, WHERE IT REMAINED…FOR THREE DAYS OR [SO]…AND THEN IT ALL DISAPPEARED.” “I CAN’T SAY THAT I KNOW FOR A FACT THAT IT WAS RELATED TO CRUISE MISSILE TESTING.” “GENERALLY TO SAY…WITH THESE [OBJECTS] I CAN DRAW A BIT OF A LINE FROM MY HAVING POSSESSED THEM ALL THE WAY, IN SOME FORM…THEY WOULD HAVE HAD AN IMPACT ON [MY] IDENTITY AND WHO I THINK I AM TODAY. I DON’T VALUE THEM BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE UTILITY AND THEY DON’T HAVE PRACTICAL VALUE. I DON’T LOOK AT THEM ALL THE TIME, BUT I KNOW THAT THEY HAVE SOME IMPORTANCE LIFE-WISE.” “IN SCHOOL, THERE WAS A GAME THAT WE WERE PLAYING. THIS IS AT A TIME WHEN THERE’S ONE COMPUTER FOR THE ENTIRE SCHOOL. IT WAS AN APPLE…AND IT WAS A WW2-BASED GAME. MY INTEREST, INITIALLY, WAS IN CONTEMPORARY-TYPE STUFF. THEN WE’RE PLAYING THIS GAME WHICH I’M NOT REALLY–IT’S ABSTRACT TO ME. WE’RE JUST PLAYING THIS GAME AND THEN, BECAUSE I’M INTO THIS, I’M BUYING MAGAZINES CALLED SOLDIER OF FORTUNE, AND I CAN REMEMBER FLIPPING THROUGH THE PAGES OF [THE] PROXY WAR IN AFGHANISTAN. [THE RUSSIANS] HAD GONE INTO AFGHANISTAN, AND I SAW A WW2 PICTURE AND I CONNECTED IT TO THIS GAME AND I [THOUGHT], “OH, THIS IS A REAL THING.” THEN, ALL OF A SUDDEN, THIS CONTEMPORARY STUFF IS OF LESSER INTEREST AND THEN IT BECOMES MORE SECOND WORLD WAR INTEREST AFTER THAT.” “MAYBE I STILL AM [THAT PERSON] TODAY A BIT…IN DIFFERENT RESPECTS. [THE OBJECTS] TAKE UP SOME SPACE BUT I COULDN’T LET THEM GO BECAUSE THEY’RE SYMBOLS, IN A WAY. THEY’RE ONLY THAT BECAUSE OF WHAT IS IN MY HEAD, SO I THOUGHT AT SOME POINT IT WAS GOOD TO [DONATE THEM]…IT WOULD HAVE BEEN MAYBE EASIER TO LET SOME OF THIS STUFF GO.” FOR MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING ARTICLES FROM THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD, BRANDON SUN, MEDICINE HAT NEWS, AND THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION, PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE P20180029001-GA.
Catalogue Number
P20180029001
Acquisition Date
2018-12
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
IRON, WOOD, PLASTIC
Catalogue Number
P20170008000
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Date
1930
Materials
IRON, WOOD, PLASTIC
No. Pieces
27
Height
67
Length
35
Width
35
Description
WOOD AND IRON COIN-OPERATED SLOT MACHINE. A: BODY OF SLOT MACHINE WITH FRONT MADE OF IRON WITH RELIEF DESIGNS INCLUDING STARS. DESIGNS ARE PAINTED RED, GREEN, AND ORANGE. TOP OF THE MACHINE HAS A COIN SLOT THAT READS “5¢” EMBOSSED IN THE CENTER OF AN ORANGE PAINTED CIRCLE. BELOW ARE THREE REELS PLACED ON THE INSIDE OF THE MACHINE, VISIBLE FROM THE FRONT THROUGH THREE HOLLOW WINDOWS. THE REELS ARE CREAM-COLOURED WITH VARIOUS IMAGES OF FRUIT VERTICALLY ON THE CIRCULAR REEL. BLACK TEXT IS OVERLAID OVER THE FRUIT. EXAMPLE: THE LEFT REEL IS STOPPED AT CHERRIES WITH BLACK TEXT READING, “JOY AWAITS… COMPANY IN TWINS”. TO THE RIGHT OF THE WINDOWS IS A SCORE CARD WITH THE FRUIT IN THE LEFT COLUMN AND THEIR CORRESPONDING SCORE IN THE RIGHT CORNER (“20” AT THE TOP TO “2” AT THE BOTTOM). BELOW THE REEL SECTION ARE TWO RECTANGULAR TEXT PANELS, PAPER BEHIND PLASTIC WINDOWS. BOTH PANELS HAVE TITLES IN ORANGE TYPE – THE LEFT READS, “WATCH REELS… FORTUNE,” AND THE RIGHT READS, “YOUR NICKEL…” INSTRUCTIONS BELOW THE TITLES ARE PRINTED IN BLACK TEXT. THE LARGEST SECTION OF THE METAL FACE OF THE SLOT MACHINE HAS A RECTANGULAR GLASS WINDOW (GLASS IS SEVERELY CRACKED AND DISCOLOURED). THE WINDOW IS INSET IN PART OF THE MACHINE THAT IS PAINTED GREEN WITH ORANGE AND BLACK DESIGNS. THERE IS ONE OVAL WINDOW ON EITHER SIDE OF THE LARGE RECTANGULAR WINDOW. THERE IS A SLOT FOR TOKENS TO COME OUT ALONG THE FRONT BASE WITH A RED, GREEN, BLACK DESIGN. THE SIDES OF THE MACHINE ARE MADE FROM A DARK-STAINED WOOD WITH A GOLD PAINTED BORDER WITH ORNATE CORNERS. “MILLS NOVELTY” STAMP IN RED PAINT ON THE UPPER LEFT OF LEFT SIDE. RIGHT SIDE IS THE SAME AS THE LEFT, BUT WITH A METAL PLATE NAILED TO SIDE TITLED, “O. K. VENDER… MILLS NOVELTY CO. CHICAGO, ILL.” WITH PATENT INFORMATION LISTEL. METAL CRANK SECURED TO THE CENTER OF THE RIGHT SIDE AND A METAL KNOB ON THE BOTTOM LEFT OF SAME SIDE. THE MACHINE IN SECURED TO A WOODEN BASE. INSIDE OF THE MACHINE HAS VISIBLE REELS AND COMPONENTS FOR MACHINE OPERATION VISIBLE. FAIR CONDITION: MODERATE TO SEVERE WEAR TO OVERALL SURFACE. SIGNIFICANT LOSS OF SURFACE PAINT. WHITE METAL CORROSION VISIBLE ON THE FACE OF THE MACHINE. THE LEFT REEL ARE MODERATELY DISCOLOURED. THE MIDDLE AND RIGHT REEL ARE SEVERELY DISCOLOURED. PAPER BEHIND PLASTIC WINDOWS HAS YELLOWED. THE CRANK AND KNOB ON RIGHT SIDE ARE RUSTING ON OVERALL SURFACE. PATENT LISTING PLATE IS BROKEN AT THE TWO RIGHT CORNERS AT THE NAIL HOLES. WOOD STAIN HAS BEEN LOST IN SOME SURFACE AREAS OF SIDES. INSIDE PARTS OF THE MACHINE ARE SLIGHTLY RUSTED. BOTTOM SCREW LOOSE FROM BASE WHEN LIFTED. B: REMOVABLE BACK COVER OF SLOT MACHINE MADE OUT OF PRESSED SHEET METAL. PAPER ATTACHED TO THE INSIDE OF THE COVER WITH TYPED TEXT READING, “MR. OWNER: ALWAYS BEAR IN … CREATE FRICTION.” DIMENSIONS: 50CM X 3CM. POOR CONDITION: THE PAPER ON THE BACKING IS SIGNIFICANTLY TORN AND DISCOLOURED, RENDERING MUCH OF THE MESSAGE UNREADABLE. SIGNIFICANT DISCOLOURATION SCUFF MARKS ON OVERALL SURFACE. C-AA: 25 PLASTIC TOKENS THAT READ, “LOANED FOR AMUSEMENT ONLY” EMBOSSED ON ONE SIDE AND “PROPERTY OF O.K. VENDOR” ON THE OTHER. DIAMETER: 2 CM; WIDTH: 0.2 CM. FAIR CONDITION: SURFACE DIRT ON SEVERAL COINS. GENERAL WEAR TO COIN SURFACES.
Subjects
GAME
Historical Association
BUSINESS
LEISURE
History
ON 24 FEBRUARY 2017, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN CONDUCTED AN INTERVIEW WITH PAM PTYCIA, THE DONOR OF THIS SLOT MACHINE. THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION HAS BEEN EXTRACTED FROM THAT INTERVIEW: DESCRIBING WHY SHE CHOSE TO DONATE THE SLOT MACHINE TO THE MUSEUM AT THIS SPECIFIC TIME, PAM SAID, “BOTH MY PARENTS HAVE PASSED AWAY. MY DAD JUST PASSED AWAY IN DECEMBER. SO CLEANING OUT THE HOUSE AND EVERYTHING ELSE, WE DECIDED IT WAS TIME… [MY DAD WAS] PETO NICAS [OF] LETHBRIDGE.” SHE AFFIRMED THAT THE SLOT MACHINE BELONGED TO HER GRANDFATHER. PTYCIA'S FATHER THEN PASSED DOWN THE ARTIFACT AND INFORMATION TO HER. PTYCIA EXPLAINED, “THE SLOT MACHINE, I WAS TOLD, WAS IN HIS DAD’S RESTAURANT, THE WHITE LUNCH CAFÉ ON 5TH STREET HERE IN LETHBRIDGE… [HIS DAD’S] NAME WAS ANDREW A. NICAS, HE WAS COMMONLY KNOWN AS SHORTY NICAS HERE IN TOWN… IF THE SLOT MACHINE DID COME FROM THE WHITE LUNCH CAFÉ, I THOUGHT IT MIGHT BE OF SOME INTEREST… BECAUSE THE GREEK COMMUNITY HAS REALLY DWINDLED DOWN. IT’S JUST NOT LIKE IT USED TO BE… I GUESS IT’S JUST THAT IT’S PART OF OUR HERITAGE.” MACLEAN ESTABLISHED THAT PTYCIA WAS BORN IN LETHBRIDGE DURING THE 1960S AND THAT THIS ARTIFACT WAS IN HER CHILDHOOD HOME AS SHE WAS GROWING UP. PTYCIA RECALLED, “I JUST REMEMBER IT BEING DOWNSTAIRS… JUST IN THE AREA WHERE THE LAUNDRY ROOM WAS… I REMEMBER PLAYING IT. IT WORKED BACK THEN… YOU PUT THE COINS IN THE TOP PART. YOU JUST PULL THE LEVER AND LET IT GO AND IF YOU HIT SOMETHING, THE COINS CAME BACK OUT… WHEN I GOT MARRIED AND MOVED OUT, MY DAD GAVE ME [IT] AND IT SAT IN OUR GARAGE FOR 30 SOME YEARS.” DURING THE INTERVIEW, PTYCIA STATED THAT CHRIST GEORGE CHRISTOU WAS HER FATHER’S PARTNER IN THE WHITE LUNCH CAFÉ BUSINESS. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE WHITE LUNCH CAFÉ, MACLEAN INTERVIEWED CHRISTOU’S SON, DR. VAN CHRISTOU, IN HIS HOME ON 27 FEBRUARY 2017. CHRISTOU BEGAN, “I REMEMBER [THE SLOT MACHINES] VIVIDLY. THEY WERE ALL LINED UP ON THE SOUTH WALL OF THE WHITE LUNCH CAFÉ… ON THE LEFT HAND SIDE, AS YOU WALKED IN… I PLAYED WITH THEM, AS A CHILD... MY DAD GOT THAT IDEA FROM MY UNCLE FRANK, WHO HE BROUGHT OVER TO LETHBRIDGE. [FRANK] OPENED UP A POOL HALL, ACROSS THE ROAD FROM THE RESTAURANT BACK IN THE EARLY DAYS – IN THE ‘20S, I THINK – AND THEN MOVED TO BANFF. HE HAD SLOT MACHINES IN THAT [POOL HAT], AND HAD THEM IN BANFF AGAIN AND [HE] TALKED DAD INTO HAVING THEM IN THE RESTAURANT – THEY WERE A GOOD SOURCE OF INCOME.” HE EXPLAINED, “PEOPLE WOULD STAND AT THE SLOT MACHINES… THE RESTAURANT WAS DESIGNED WITH A HORSE-SHOE COUNTER ALL THE WAY AROUND, AND IT LEFT ENOUGH SPACE FOR THESE TO BE ALONG THE WALL, SO IT WAS JUST ‘STAND UP’ THE WAY YOU DO IN THE CASINOS. THERE WERE NO STOOLS FOR THOSE, BUT THEY HAD THEM FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS.” CHRISTOU WAS A CASHIER AT THE WHITE LUNCH AT THE AGE OF FIFTEEN TO SIXTEEN YEARS. HE WORKED ONLY ON SATURDAYS, AND STATED HE ENJOYED IT. HE SAID, “I LEARNED A LOT ABOUT BUSINESS – GIVING CHANGE, AND CONNECTING WITH A LOT OF THE BUSINESS PEOPLE THAT WERE IN THE AREA, AND GOT JOBS WITH THEM… BY THE TIME I WAS CASHIER, THEY HAD STOPPED USING [THE SLOT MACHINE]. I THINK THEY WERE OUT-LAWED. I THINK THERE WAS A CIVIC BY-LAW THAT FORBADE SLOT MACHINES, SO THEY WEREN’T IN USE AT THAT POINT. IT WAS EARLIER, WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, THAT I REMEMBER THEM BEING USED.” THE SLOT MACHINES WERE A SECONDARY MEMORY OF HIS FATHER’S WHITE LUNCH CAFÉ. CHRISTOU EXPLAINED, “TO ME, IT WASN’T AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE RESTAURANT BUSINESS. THE THINGS THAT I REMEMBER ARE MY DAD MAKING BANANA SPLITS; HE HAD A WONDERFUL SODA FOUNTAIN. THE FRONT OF THAT HORSE-SHOE WAS A MARBLE SODA FOUNTAIN – A MARVELOUS SODA FOUNTAIN – AND HE LOVED DOING THAT – MAKING MILKSHAKES, AND ALL KINDS OF SUNDAES, AND BANANA SPLITS." CONTINUING, HE EXPLAINED, “MY FATHER STARTED THE WHITE LUNCH CAFÉ IN 1907… [IT] WAS LOCATED IN THE OLIVER BUILDING, ON FIFTH STREET SOUTH, WHICH WAS MAIN STREET AT THAT TIME… THERE’S A VERY INTERESTING STORY AS TO HOW HE FOUND HIMSELF IN LETHBRIDGE. HE HAD COME OVER FROM GREECE – FROM A LITTLE VILLAGE IN GREECE [THE CORINTHIAN VILLAGE OF LIMNES] – SENT BY HIS FATHER. AT THAT TIME, THE FATHERS, IN A VERY PATRIARCHAL ATMOSPHERE, CHOSE THEIR BRIGHTEST AND BEST SON, AND SENT THEM TO AMERICA TO HELP THE FAMILY, AND DAD WAS 15 YEARS OLD WHEN HE WAS SENT TO NEW YORK. HE ARRIVED AT ELLIS ISLAND IN 1900, AT 15 YEARS OF AGE, WITHOUT ANY MONEY. I THINK HE HAD $2.00 IN HIS POCKET, AND NOT ANY KNOWLEDGE OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE AT ALL. THERE WAS A TEAM HIRING YOUNG GREEK IMMIGRANTS TO WORK ON THE GREAT NORTHERN RAILWAY THAT MET THEM AT ELLIS ISLAND. DAD HIRED ON WITH THEM, BUT HE WAS SMART ENOUGH TO BUY A DICTIONARY WITH THAT $2.00 HE HAD. [HE] BECAME THE INTERPRETER FOR THE GANG, AND WORKED HIS WAY ACROSS AMERICA. HE HAD COUSINS WHO HAD PRECEDED HIM, AND WERE ESTABLISHED IN PORTLAND, OREGON, AND THAT’S WHAT HIS DESTINATION WAS, SO THE GREAT NORTHERN GOT HIM ACROSS AMERICA TO PORTLAND. HE ESTABLISHED A BUSINESS THERE – A GROCERY BUSINESS – BUT DIDN’T LIKE IT BECAUSE IT WAS TOO WET. [HE] WORKED THERE FOR 7 YEARS, UNTIL 1907, WHEN A FRIEND OF HIS IN CALGARY, FROM A NEIGHBORING VILLAGE, WROTE HIM AND SAID THERE WAS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO OPEN A DAIRY IN CALGARY, AND WHY DON’T THEY GO INTO PARTNERSHIP? SO, WOULD DAD COME AND VISIT HIM – AND HE DID. HE TELLS THE STORY OF HOW IT HAD BEEN RAINING FOR 2 WEEKS IN PORTLAND – RAINED ALL THE WAY TO VANCOUVER – AND WAS STILL RAINING ALL THE WAY TO CALGARY. [HE] MET WITH HIS FRIEND, LIKED HIM, LIKED THE PROPOSITION – TOLD [THE FRIEND] HE WOULD GO BACK TO PORTLAND TO THINK IT OVER AND LET HIM KNOW [HE] CAME DOWN THROUGH LETHBRIDGE. STAYED OVERNIGHT AT THE LETHBRIDGE HOTEL. WOKE UP IN THE MORNING TO BRIGHT SUNSHINE, AND SAID, ‘I’M STAYING HERE.’ AND HE DID. AND HE STARTED THE WHITE LUNCH CAFÉ IMMEDIATELY. HE’D MADE ENOUGH MONEY IN PORTLAND WHERE HE WAS ABLE TO OPEN UP A FIRST CLASS RESTAURANT, WHICH WAS LETHBRIDGE’S PREMIERE RESTAURANT FOR THE NEXT 40 YEARS. THE WHITE LUNCH WAS JUST HALF THE SIZE IT WAS EVENTUALLY, TO BEGIN WITH AS BUSINESS GREW, HE GOT THE CONTRACT WITH THE CPR TO FEED CPR EMPLOYEES WHO CAME THROUGH LETHBRIDGE, AND, AS SOUTHERN ALBERTA BECAME SETTLED, FARMERS CAME IN TO SHOP ON SATURDAYS. BUSINESS GREW, AND DAD DID VERY WELL... [HE] BROUGHT IN MR. NICAS IN 1922, AS A PARTNER IN THE BUSINESS, AND THEY WORKED TOGETHER FOR MANY YEARS, UNTIL HE DIED.” “[AS KIDS] WE WOULD STOP IN FOR A MILKSHAKE, AND A PIECE OF PIE… LOCAL PEOPLE WOULD RARELY EAT IN THE RESTAURANT,” CHRISTOU ADDED, “NOW, PICTURE THIS – THIS WAS IN THE ‘30’S – RIGHT AT THE DEPTH OF THE DEPRESSION – PEOPLE DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY. DENTISTS WOULD COME AND EAT AT THE RESTAURANT, AND THEY WOULD SHARE A PLATE OF PANCAKES. THEY’D COME ON SUNDAY [AND] THAT WOULD BE THEIR ONE MEAL A WEEK – AND THEY WERE THE WEALTHY PEOPLE IN TOWN. THE COMMON PEOPLE DIDN’T EAT IN RESTAURANTS AT ALL. IT WAS REALLY THE WORKING PEOPLE – THE MINERS, AND THE RAILWAY PEOPLE, AND THE FARMERS THAT WOULD COME TO TOWN THAT USED THE RESTAURANT FACILITIES. AND BECAUSE OF THAT, THE MENU WAS STRICTLY A WESTERN MENU. [PYTCIA’S] DAD COULD HAVE PRESENTED A FULL GREEK MENU, BUT IT WOULDN’T HAVE FLOWN AT ALL. NO ONE KNEW WHAT GREEK FOOD WAS, EVEN.” CHRISTOU RECALLED MEMORY OF THE WHITE LUNCH CAFÉ, “WE DIDN’T GO TO THE STORE THAT OFTEN BECAUSE THERE WAS A REAL SEPARATION BETWEEN HOME AND BUSINESS. DAD WAS NOT THAT HAPPY IN THE RESTAURANT BUSINESS. HE WAS A REAL FAMILY-ORIENTED PERSON, AND MISSED BEING AT HOME FOR THE MEALS THAT WE HAD AT HOME. HE HAD TO BE AT THE RESTAURANT. HE BROUGHT IN MR. NICAS AS A PARTNER, AND THAT RELIEVED HIM SO HE HAD SOME TIME AT HOME, AND LATER THEY HAD A NIGHT MANAGER – IT WAS A 24 HOUR BUSINESS. PETE, THE NIGHT MANAGER, RELIEVED THEM SOMEWHAT TOO, SO THAT THEY SPENT A LITTLE TIME AT HOME, BOTH HE AND MR. NICAS... THEY HAD EXCELLENT CHEFS; MOSTLY CHINESE CHEFS, WHO WERE TRAINED BY THE CPR, AT THE VANCOUVER HOTEL. THEY’D BE THE MAIN CHEFS THAT THEY WOULD HAVE.” “IT WAS A VERY, VERY BUSY PLACE, SAY, ON SATURDAY NIGHT… LETHBRIDGE WAS VERY BUSY IN THOSE DAYS. THERE’D BE A SALVATION ARMY PLAYING DOWN THE STREET, IN FRONT OF THE ALEXANDRA HOTEL. THE RESTAURANT WAS HALF-WAY BETWEEN – JUST PICTURE THIS, MAIN STREET, THE BUSIEST STREET – STREETCARS GOING UP AND DOWN THE STREET ALL THE TIME – WALL-TO-WALL PEOPLE – VERY, VERY BUSY – AND LOCATED HALF-WAY BETWEEN THE ALEXANDRA BEER PARLOR, AND THE DALLAS BEER PARLOR, AT THE DALLAS HOTEL – SO THOSE WERE THE REAL FOCAL POINTS FOR MOST OF THE FARMERS WHO CAME TO TOWN – AND THEY WOULD SEND THEIR FAMILIES TO THE THEATRE – THE ROXY THEATRE WAS ON THAT SAME STREET, AND THE CAPITAL, DOWN ON THE NEXT BLOCK – AND THE WHITE LUNCH BECAME SORT OF THE 'HOME AWAY FROM HOME' FOR THOSE FAMILIES THAT CAME INTO TOWN ON SATURDAYS, MANY OF WHOM STAYED OVERNIGHT. IT WAS A VERY, VERY BUSY COMMUNITY, AND THE WHITE LUNCH WAS THE PREMIERE RESTAURANT – IT WAS THE ONLY RESTAURANT THAT HAD BANQUET FACILITIES [BEFORE THE MARQUIS] IN THE BASEMENT, AND THE ROTARY CLUB, AND KIWANIS, AND KINSMEN, AND SO ON, HAD THEIR MEETINGS THERE.” CHRISTOU DESCRIBED THE CLOSING OF THE BUSINESS, “DAD WASN’T WELL. WHEN THE DEPRESSION HIT IN 1928, DAD LOST A FORTUNE, AND THE RESTAURANT BUSINESS WENT DOWNHILL TERRIBLY, BECAUSE NOBODY HAD ANY MONEY. I STILL REMEMBER BOXES OF CHITS – PEOPLE’S IOU’S – TO PAY FOR MEALS, THAT WERE NEVER PAID FOR. IT WAS VERY TOUGH TIMES FOR THEM FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS… HIS HEALTH FAILED DURING THAT TIME. DAD BECAME A SEVERE ASTHMATIC, AND WITH HIS HEALTH SO POOR, AND BUSINESS GOING DOWNHILL, HE FINALLY SOLD OUT IN THE ‘50S… IN THE MEANTIME MY MOTHER HAD COAXED DAD TO ACQUIRE SOME RENTAL PROPERTIES, AND THEY WERE ABLE TO MANAGE WITH THAT, BUT THEY WERE VERY DIFFICULT TIMES. ACTUALLY A GREAT BENEFIT TO ME, IN THAT I WAS OLD ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND HOW DIFFICULT IT WAS FOR THEM, AND THAT I STARTED JOBS. I WORKED AS A CASHIER AT THE RESTAURANT, WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL, AND WORKED AT OTHER JOBS AS WELL – AT THE THEATRE, AS AN USHER AND DOORMAN AT THE CAPITOL THEATRE, AND AT THE PARAMOUNT. [I] SAVED ALL THAT MONEY FOR UNIVERSITY. THE WORK ETHIC STARTED EARLY FOR ME, BECAUSE OF THE DEPRESSION.” IN THE INTERVIEW, CHRISTOU DESCRIBED IN DETAIL HOW HIS FATHER BECAME THE FIRST GREEK IMMIGRANT TO SETTLE IN LETHBRIDGE, “... [MY FATHER] WAS THE FIRST ONE TO SETTLE PERMANENTLY. HE WAS A VERY GREGARIOUS AND LIKEABLE PERSONALITY, A VERY CIVILIZED HUMAN BEING. [HE] WELCOMED ALL THE GREEKS WHO CAME AND DIDN’T MIND IF THEY WENT INTO THE RESTAURANT BUSINESS AT ALL. SEVERAL [GREEKS] THAT HE WELCOMED, OPENED UP RESTAURANTS. THE SAVOY CAFÉ WAS OWNED BY MR. HYT; THE SHASTA CAFÉ WAS OWNED BY THE GOLIS BROTHERS, AND THE MAPLE LEAF CAFÉ WAS OWNED BY THE AFAGANIS BROTHERS – THREE AFAGANIS BROTHERS.” IN COMPARISON TO OTHER GREEK COMMUNITIES THAT WERE ESTABLISHED IN NORTH AMERICA, LETHBRIDGE’S WAS CLOSE-KNIT REGARDLESS OF A FAMILY’S GREEK REGION OF ORIGIN. CHRISTOU EXPLAINED HOW HE CAME TO LEARN THIS: “I DIDN’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT [THE NATURE OF OUR COMMUNITY] UNTIL I WENT ON, AFTER GRADUATING IN DENTISTRY. I WENT DOWN TO ROCHESTER, NEW YORK, WHERE I TOOK MY POST-GRADUATE IN/AT THE EASTMAN DENTAL DISPENSARY, IN ORTHODONTICS… THEY HAD TWO GREEK CHURCHES THERE, AND I FOUND OUT THAT THERE, AND EVERYWHERE ELSE THAT I RESEARCHED AFTER THAT, THE GREEK COMMUNITIES WERE SPLIT QUITE BADLY IN TWO, BETWEEN THE GREEKS WHO CAME FROM ASIA MINOR, AND THE GREEKS THAT CAME FROM THE MAINLAND. [IT] BECAUSE OF THE DIFFICULTIES THAT THE GREEKS IN ASIA MINOR HAD, IN MAINTAINING THEIR RELIGION AND THEIR CULTURE. THEY WORKED HARDER AT IT THAN THE GREEKS ON THE MAINLAND, AND WERE BETTER EDUCATED, AND WHEN THEY FINALLY HAD THIS EXCHANGE OF CITIZENS – AND THE GREAT EXCHANGE BETWEEN TURKEY AND GREECE IN 1921 – THE GREEKS FROM ASIA MINOR WERE ABLE TO COME TO THE MAINLAND AND TAKE OVER THE MAIN GOVERNMENT AND OTHER IMPORTANT JOBS, AND WERE RESENTED BY THE PEOPLE ON THE MAINLAND. IN LETHBRIDGE, NONE OF THAT EXISTED AT ALL. I THINK THAT WAS MY DAD’S DOING… THERE WAS NO DISCRIMINATION WHATSOEVER… [MY DAD] AND MY MOTHER BOTH CAME FROM THE MAINLAND… THE AFAGANISES, FOR EXAMPLE [CAME FROM ASIA MINOR]. AND I MARRIED ONE OF THEM [HELEN AFAGANIS]... YES, AND THE GOLIS’, AND THE DANGGAS’, MANY OF THE OTHERS WERE FROM ASIA MINOR.” SPEAKING ABOUT WHAT IT WAS LIKE GROWING UP IN LETHBRIDGE WITHIN THE GREEK COMMUNITY, CHRISTOU SAID, “WELL, AS CHILDREN, WE DIDN’T WANT TO BE DIFFERENT. WE REALLY WANTED TO FIT IN WITH THE WASP [WHITE ANGLO-SAXON PROTESTANT] KIDS THAT WE LIVED WITH. [WE] DIDN’T LIKE, FOR EXAMPLE, HAVING TO SPEAK GREEK AT HOME AND GO TO GREEK SCHOOL. OUR PARENTS SET UP A GREEK SCHOOL FOR US. THERE WAS [A] STRANGE DOUBLE-SIDED-NESS TO IT, WHERE WE WERE VERY PROUD OF OUR CULTURE, AND DID LEARN GREEK VERY WELL (BECAME FULLY BILINGUAL), BUT THERE WAS DISCRIMINATION AT THAT TIME. WE WERE THE ONLY FOREIGN-SPEAKING PEOPLE, ON THE SOUTHSIDE OF LETHBRIDGE. THAT WAS A UNIQUE SITUATION OF THE GREEK COMMUNITY. ALL OTHER NATIONALITIES, WHO SPOKE ANOTHER LANGUAGE, LIVED ON THE NORTHSIDE. THE SOUTHSIDE WAS WASP-VILLE SO THERE WAS DISCRIMINATION AND WE FELT IT. WHEN I LEFT TO GO TO UNIVERSITY, AT 17 YEARS OF AGE, THE ONLY THING I WAS SURE OF, WAS THAT I’D NEVER COME BACK TO LETHBRIDGE BECAUSE OF THE DISCRIMINATION I FELT… THEY HAD A WAY OF LETTING YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE A SECOND-CLASS CITIZEN, AND THAT YOU REALLY BELONGED ON THE NORTHSIDE. THE INTERESTING THING IS THAT, WHEN I CAME BACK, AND I WAS ONLY COMING BACK FOR A YEAR, I FELL IN LOVE WITH HELEN. WE GOT MARRIED; BUILT A HOME ON FIFTEENTH AVENUE, AND THERE WAS NO DISCRIMINATION WHATSOEVER, IN ONE GENERATION.” AS STATED BY CHRISTOU, THE GREEK COMMUNITY BEGAN TO SHRINK IN SIZE AFTER THE SECOND WORLD WAR FOR VARIOUS REASONS: “AFTER THE WAR, IT WAS A DIFFERENT COMMUNITY ALL TOGETHER. THAT COMMUNITY WAS REALLY VIBRANT UP UNTIL THE SECOND WORLD WAR… BEFORE WE GOT THE UNIVERSITY HERE, MOST YOUNG PEOPLE WOULD LEAVE TOWN. VERY FEW STAYED. THE SPOULOS BOYS STAYED. I STAYED AND HELEN STAYED BECAUSE WE GOT MARRIED. HER BROTHER CAME BACK, BUT VERY FEW OTHERS. [THE COMMUNITY] GRADUALLY DIED OUT – JUST PASSED AWAY... WE ARE THE LAST REMNANTS – JIM SPOULOS AND I, HARRY AFAGANIS AND JIM’S SISTER, OLIVIA – ARE THE LAST REMNANTS OF THAT WHOLE COMMUNITY.” ACCORDING TO HIS OBITUARY, ACCESSED FROM THE MARTIN BROTHERS FUNERAL CHAPEL WEBSITE, PETO NICAS, THE DONOR’S FATHER WAS BORN IN LETHBRIDGE ON 2 JANUARY 1924. HE BECAME A LETHBRIDGE ENTREPRENEUR, LIKE HIS FATHER, OPENING MCGUIRE’S MEN’S WEAR FOR 50 YEARS. HE PASSED AWAY ON 20 DECEMBER 2016. AN OBITUARY PUBLISHED IN THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD ON 1 APRIL 1944 FOR ANDREW A. NICAS, STATES THAT HE WAS BORN IN ARGOS, GREECE, AND IMMIGRATED TO THE UNITED STATES IN 1900. IN 1911, HE MOVED TO LETHBRIDGE. A QUOTE FROM THAT OBITUARY STATES, “FEW RESTAURANT OPERATORS IN THE PROVINCE WERE MORE WIDELY KNOWN THAN A. A. ‘SHORTY’ NICAS, GENEROUS, GENIAL, AND HOSPITABLE.” HE PASSED AWAY IN LETHBRIDGE ON 1 APRIL 1944. ACCORDING TO THE OBITUARY OF AGNES A. NICAS, WIFE OF SHORTY NICAS, STATES THAT SHE WAS BORN IN GREECE, MOVING TO MONTREAL AND THEN TO LETHBRIDGE IN 1919 UPON HER MARRIAGE TO NICAS. SHE PASSED AWAY ON 3 MARCH 1988. FROM DR. VAN CHRISTOU’S OBITUARY, ALSO ON THE MARTIN BROTHERS FUNERAL CHAPEL WEBSITE, HE WAS BORN IN LETHBRIDGE ON 24 JANUARY 1926. HIS PARENTS WERE CHRIST (CHRIS) AND ANASTASIA CHRISTOU. IN 1948, HE GRADUATED FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA WITH A DOCTORATE OF DENTISTRY, AND LATER COMPLETED HIS POSTGRADUATE IN ORTHODONTICS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER FROM 1948-50. HE RETURNED TO LETHBRIDGE TO PRACTICE GENERAL DENTISTRY AND LATER ESTABLISHED HIS OWN ORTHODONTIST PRACTICE. HE MARRIED HELEN AFAGANIS IN 1952 AND TOGETHER THEY HAD FOUR CHILDREN. HE PASSED AWAY ON 27 SEPTEMBER 2017. CHRISTOU PROVIDED A WRITTEN HISTORY TITLED “LETHBRIDGE’S GREEK (HELLENIC) COMMUNITY,” WHERE HE LISTED THE TEN PRE-WORLD WAR II GREEK FAMILIES LIVING IN LETHBRIDGE, INCLUDING THE CHRISTOU FAMILY AND THE NICAS FAMILY. A LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLE FROM 11 OCTOBER 1946 STATES THAT THE WHITE LUNCH CAFÉ WAS SOLD IN 1946. PLEASE SEE PERMANENT FILE FOR MORE INFORMATION, INCLUDING FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTIONS, THE WRITTEN HISTORY OF THE GREEK COMMUNITY, AND LETHBRIDGE HERALD RESEARCH.
Catalogue Number
P20170008000
Acquisition Date
2017-02
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Date Range From
1942
Date Range To
1946
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
WOOD
Catalogue Number
P20160007002
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Date Range From
1942
Date Range To
1946
Materials
WOOD
No. Pieces
34
Height
8.7
Length
20.5
Width
16.2
Description
.1: BOX, BOTTOM. WOOD. PAINTED RED ON THREE SIDES (TWO LONG AND ONE SHORT SIDE). FOURTH SIDE REMAINS UNFINISHED. PARTIALLY PAINTED BOTTOM. GROOVE ALONG TOP ON THREE SIDES FOR LID TO SLIDE INTO. H: 8.7CM L: 20.5CM W: 16.2CM POOR TO GOOD CONDITION. GROOVE FOR LID MISSING ALONG ONE LONG SIDE OF THE BOX. INTERIOR OF BOX IS STAINED, POSSIBLY WITH AN OILY SUBSTANCE. .2: BOX, LID. WOOD. PAINTED RED ON OUTSIDE, UNFINISHED INSIDE. CREST SHAPED INDENTATION IN LID, TO ALLOW IT TO BE OPENED. THREE SIDES OF LID HAVE A THIN SECTION OF WOOD, WHICH FITS INTO THE GROOVE OF THE BOX. H: 1.0CM L: 19.7CM W: 14.7CM POOR TO GOOD CONDITION. MISSING THIN SECTION OF WOOD ON ONE LONG SIDE. .3: ROOK. BLACK. WOOD. H: 4.7CM D: 3.1CM. GOOD CONDITION. SMALL CHIP ON BOTTOM. .4: ROOK. BLACK. WOOD. H: 4.7CM D: 3.1CM. EXCELLENT CONDITION. .5: KNIGHT. BLACK. WOOD. H: 5.0CM D: 3.1CM. GOOD CONDITION. SMALL CHIP ON BOTTOM. .6: KNIGHT. BLACK. WOOD. H: 5.0CM D: 3.1CM. EXCELLENT CONDITION. .7: BISHOP. BLACK. WOOD. H: 5.6CM D: 3.1CM. GOOD CONDITION. SMALL CIRCLE ON VERY TOP SUGGESTS THAT PIECE IS MISSING, ABOVE THE GROOVE. SMALL CHIP ON SHOULDER. .8: BISHOP. BLACK. WOOD. H: 5.6CM D: 3.1CM. GOOD CONDITION. SMALL CIRCLE ON VERY TOP SUGGESTS THAT PIECE IS MISSING, ABOVE THE GROOVE. LARGE CHIPS ON SHOULDER SO THAT ABOUT HALF IS MISSING. .9: QUEEN. BLACK. WOOD. H: 7.1CM D: 3.5CM. GOOD CONDITION. SMALL CIRCLE ON VERY TOP SUGGESTS THAT TOP IS MISSING, ABOVE THE CROWN. SMALL CHIP IN CROWN. SMALL CHIP ON SHOULDER. SMALL INDENTATION ON UPPER PORTION OF THE BASE. .10: KING. BLACK. WOOD. H: 8.5CM D: 3.5CM. VERY GOOD CONDITION. TOP CROSS PORTION BROKEN, LEAVING A THIN PIECE WOOD THAT IS 0.9CM TALL STICKING OUT OF THE TOP. .11: PAWN. BLACK. WOOD. H: 4.3CM D: 2.5CM. EXCELLENT CONDITION. .12: PAWN. BLACK. WOOD. H: 4.3CM D: 2.5CM. GOOD CONDITION. CHIP ON SHOULDER, ALMOST HALF IS MISSING. .13: PAWN. BLACK. WOOD. H: 4.3CM D: 2.5CM. GOOD CONDITION. CHIP ON SHOULDER, ALMOST HALF IS MISSING. .14: PAWN. BLACK. WOOD. H: 4.3CM D: 2.5CM. EXCELLENT CONDITION. .15: PAWN. BLACK. WOOD. H: 4.3CM D: 2.5CM. GOOD CONDITION. CHIP ON SHOULDER, ALMOST HALF IS MISSING. .16: PAWN. BLACK. WOOD. H: 4.3CM D: 2.5CM. GOOD CONDITION. SMALL CHIP ON SHOULDER. TWO WHITE SPOTS ON ROUND TOP. .17: PAWN. BLACK. WOOD. H: 4.3CM D: 2.5CM. GOOD CONDITION. TWO SMALL CHIPS ON BOTTOM. .18: PAWN. BLACK. WOOD. H: 4.3CM D: 2.5CM. GOOD CONDITION. CHIP ON SHOULDER, ALMOST HALF IS MISSING. .19: ROOK. WHITE. WOOD. H: 4.7CM D: 3.1CM. EXCELLENT CONDITION. .20: ROOK. WHITE. WOOD. H: 4.7CM D: 3.1CM. EXCELLENT CONDITION. .21: KNIGHT. WHITE. WOOD. H: 5.0CM D: 3.1CM. EXCELLENT CONDITION. DIRT HAS ACCUMULATED IN THE DETAILED CARVINGS OF THE KNIGHT. .22: KNIGHT. WHITE. WOOD. H: 5.0CM D: 3.1CM. EXCELLENT CONDITION. DIRT HAS ACCUMULATED IN THE DETAILED CARVINGS OF THE KNIGHT. .23: BISHOP. WHITE. WOOD. H: 5.6CM D: 3.1CM. GOOD CONDITION. SMALL CIRCLE ON VERY TOP SUGGESTS THAT PIECE IS MISSING, ABOVE THE GROOVE. SMALL GREEN SPOT JUST BLOW THE GROOVE. DIRTY JUST BELOW SHOULDER. .24: BISHOP. WHITE. WOOD. H: 5.6CM D: 3.1CM. GOOD CONDITION. SMALL CIRCLE ON VERY TOP SUGGESTS THAT PIECE IS MISSING, ABOVE THE GROOVE. SMALL CHIP ON SHOULDER. .25: QUEEN. WHITE. WOOD. H: 7.1CM D: 3.5CM. EXCELLENT CONDITION. SMALL CIRCLE ON VERY TOP SUGGESTS THAT TOP IS MISSING, ABOVE THE CROWN. .26: KING. WHITE. WOOD. H: 8.5CM D: 3.5CM. 3.5CM. EXCELLENT CONDITION. .27: PAWN. WHITE. WOOD. H: 4.3CM D: 2.5CM. GOOD CONDITION. SMALL CHIP ON BOTTOM. .28: PAWN. WHITE. WOOD. H: 4.3CM D: 2.5CM. EXCELLENT CONDITION. .29: PAWN. WHITE. WOOD. H: 4.3CM D: 2.5CM. EXCELLENT CONDITION. .30: PAWN. WHITE. WOOD. H: 4.3CM D: 2.5CM. EXCELLENT CONDITION. .31: PAWN. WHITE. WOOD. H: 4.3CM D: 2.5CM. EXCELLENT CONDITION. .32: PAWN. WHITE. WOOD. H: 4.3CM D: 2.5CM. EXCELLENT CONDITION. .33: PAWN. WHITE. WOOD. H: 4.3CM D: 2.5CM. EXCELLENT CONDITION. .34: PAWN. WHITE. WOOD. H: 4.3CM D: 2.5CM. FAIR TO GOOD CONDITION. ROUND PORTION ABOVE SHOULDER COMPLETELY MISSING.
Subjects
GAME
Historical Association
LEISURE
MILITARY
History
THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION COMES FROM AN INTERVIEW WITH HILARY WHITE AND WENDY RUSSELL, CONDUCTED BY KEVIN MACLEAN IN FEBRUARY 2016. WENDY IS THE DAUGHTER OF SERGEANT DENZIL ASHBY, WHO WAS IN CHARGE OF THE RCMP DETACHMENT IN MEDICINE HAT WHERE WILLI MUELLER WAS HELD PRIOR TO HIS HANGING IN 1946. HILARY IS WENDY’S NIECE AND IS THE DAUGHTER OF ROSEMARY WELLS. WILLI MUELLER GAVE THE PAINTING AND THE CHESS SET TO DENZIL ASHBY. UPON HIS DEATH IN 1983, THE ITEMS WERE GIVEN TO ROSEMARY. SHE IN TURN GAVE THE TWO PIECES TO HER NEPHEW (AND WENDY’S SON) MICHAEL RUSSELL. WENDY EXPLAINED THAT MICHAEL “WAS VERY INTERESTED IN ANYTHING TO DO WITH MILITARY, PARTICULARLY CANADIAN MILITARY HISTORY.” UPON MICHAEL’S DEATH, THE ITEMS WERE TRANSFERRED TO HILARY, WHO HAS DONATED THEM TO THE GALT. IN EXPLAINING HER MOTIVATIONS TO DO SO, HILARY SAID “I LIVE IN SINGAPORE AND I AM A RESEARCHER AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SINGAPORE, AND I KNOW HOW MUCH THESE THINGS ARE TREASURES, AND THE STORIES THAT GO WITH THEM. SO I WAS ENCOURAGED, WHILE WENDY HAS THE STORIES STILL FRESH IN HER MIND, (LAUGHTER) TO HOPEFULLY SHARE THEM WITH YOU.” THE RCMP DETACHMENT IN MEDICINE HAT HOUSED NOT ONLY THE PRISONERS, BUT THE ASHBY FAMILY AS WELL. WENDY EXPLAINED: “IT WAS JUST A RANCH HOME THAT HAD JUST BEEN DIVIDED AND MADE INTO A DETACHMENT. ON THE FRONT PART OF THE DETACHMENT, I REMEMBER, THERE WERE THE OFFICES, THE JAIL – I THINK THERE WERE TWO CELLS IN THE BASEMENT, AND I ONLY SORT OF PEEKED THROUGH A HOLE IN THE WALL TO SEE THEM. I DON’T THINK I EVER WENT NEAR THEM. AND THEN ON THE UPPER FLOOR, I THINK THE THIRD FLOOR, WAS WHERE THE CONSTABLES SLEPT. THERE WAS ONLY ONE MARRIED OFFICER AND THAT WAS MY FATHER AND THE REST WERE ALL CONSTABLES. SO WE WOULD USUALLY HAVE TWO OR THREE.” SHE ELABORATED, SAYING: “I CAN REMEMBER SITTING ON THE BASEMENT STEPS BECAUSE THE HOUSE WAS DIVIDED. IT WAS AN RCMP DETACHMENT AND SO THE JAILS WERE IN THE BASEMENT ON THE OFFICE SIDE, AND THE PERSONAL WAS ON THE OTHER, AND I WOULD SIT ON THE STAIRS AND LISTEN TO WILLI PLAY HIS HARMONICA. AND IT WAS LILI MARLENE. I GET ALL TEARY WHEN I THINK – BUT HE WAS A VERY, VERY PLEASANT YOUNG MAN. I DON’T REALLY VISUALIZE – I, SEEING PICTURES OF HIM NOW, I CAN RECALL HIS NICE COUNTENANCE. HE HAD A VERY FRIENDLY FACE AND VERY RELAXED, VERY, VERY PERSONABLE, VERY RELIABLE, VERY RESPECTFUL. AND I KNOW MY MOTHER, OF COURSE, DID ALL THE HOME COOKING FOR THE PRISONERS THERE, SO WILLI HAD NICE HOME COOKING, CHOCOLATE CAKE, AND I CAN’T REMEMBER ANYTHING THAT WAS BAD BECAUSE I THINK MY FATHER KEPT EVERYTHING VERY CALM. I HAD NO IDEA THAT THERE WAS A PRISONER OF WAR CAMP. I WOULDN’T KNOW WHAT THAT MEANT, AND EVEN THAT WILLI WAS GOING TO BE HANGED. BUT OF COURSE, MY SISTER DID.” SHE CONTINUED: “BEING A SMALL CHILD, I WAS JUST AWARE THAT HE WAS THERE. HE WAS CUTTING THE GRASS AND HE WAS A PLEASANT PERSON AND ROSEMARY WAS VERY FOND OF HIM. SHE WAS A TEENAGER AND HE WAS A NICE LOOKING YOUNG MAN AND I THINK SHE SORT OF HAD A CRUSH ON HIM. HE WAS VERY GENTLE AND AS I SAY, VERY RESPECTFUL.” SHE DESCRIBED WILLI FURTHER: “HE WAS VERY RESPECTFUL; HE WASN’T A PUSHY PERSON, OR LIKE, WE OFTEN THINK OF THE GERMANS AS BEING ALOOF AND – BUT HE WASN’T. HE WAS JUST A VERY NATURAL AND VERY – MY FATHER LEFT HIM IN CHARGE OF THE DETACHMENT ONCE. IT WAS A BIT OF – THIS IS ALL HEARSAY, BUT THERE WAS A FIRE SOMEWHERE NEAR MEDICINE HAT AND IT WAS SPREADING AND THEY NEEDED TO GO, SO DAD TOOK ALL THE – MAYBE TWO CONSTABLES AND HIMSELF, AND THEY HAD TO GO, SO HE LEFT WILLI CUTTING THE GRASS AND APPARENTLY HE TOLD HIM, HE SAID, ‘NOW WE HAVE AN EMERGENCY.’ HE SAID, ‘YOU’RE IN CHARGE OF THE DETACHMENT. I EXPECT YOU TO BE HERE WHEN I GET BACK.’ AND HE SAID, ‘YES,’ AND HE WAS.” WENDY’S MOTHER ALSO FOUND WILLI CHARMING: “MY MOTHER THOUGHT HE WAS LOVELY, BECAUSE HE WAS SUCH A GENTLEMAN, I THINK.” WENDY HAD THE FOLLOWING TO SAY ABOUT THE CHESS SET: “I THINK MY FATHER MENTIONED THAT THEY WERE PROVIDED WITH CHESS SETS OR THINGS TO OCCUPY THEIR TIME IN SOME OF THE CAMPS, AND THAT WILLI HAD THIS SET WITH HIM AND HE USED TO PLAY IT IN THE – I DON’T KNOW IF HE PLAYED WITH, YOU KNOW, BY HIMSELF OR SOMEBODY ELSE - ONE OF THE OTHER BOYS THAT WERE IN THE STATION WOULD PLAY WITH HIM. I DO KNOW THAT [THE PAINTING AND CHESS SET] BELONGED TO HIM, AND WHEN HE WAS TAKEN AWAY, HE PRESENTED THESE TO MY FATHER.” WENDY RECALLS BEING TOO YOUNG TO KNOW THAT WILLI HAD BEEN HANGED, BUT FIGURED THAT HER SISTER ROSEMARY KNEW: “WE JUST KNEW THAT HE HAD GONE. BUT ROSEMARY WOULD HAVE KNOWN [THAT HE WAS EXECUTED], AND THAT’S MAYBE WHY – I DON’T KNOW WHAT HILARY CAN TELL YOU, HOW, IF ROSEMARY TOLD HER HOW SHE FELT ABOUT IT.” HILARY RESPONDED, SAYING: “SHE DID A LOT. SHE TOLD ME LOTS OF STORIES, BUT I WAS LIKE, “AAH, MOM.” YOU KNOW I WAS FAIRLY YOUNG, PROBABLY ROLLING MY EYES ABOUT SOME ROMANCE OR SOMETHING SHE HAD WITH THIS GUY, AND I JUST REMEMBER HER TELLING ME THAT HE DIED ON HER BIRTHDAY AND IT WAS DEVASTATING, AND SHE STILL CRIED ABOUT IT … SHE MUST HAVE BEEN VERY EMOTIONALLY ATTACHED TO HIM … BUT I DON’T REALLY KNOW ANY OF THE DETAILS. I’M JUST READING ABOUT IT NOW, AND I DON’T WANT TO MIX IT UP BETWEEN WHAT SHE TOLD ME AND WHAT I’M READING.” WENDY THINKS HER FATHER HELD ONTO THE PAINTING AND CHESS SET BECAUSE HE FELT WILLI SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN HANGED: “I HAVE A FEELING [DAD] THOUGHT AT THE TIME, THAT WILLI SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN HANGED. AND I THINK THAT THAT WEIGHED ON HIM, BUT THIS IS MY FEELING, BECAUSE WILLI THOUGHT THAT BECAUSE HE WAS GIVING EVIDENCE. THIS WAS A TIME OF WAR WHEN WE ALLOWED, IF I UNDERSTAND, THE CAMPS BE RUN BY THE OFFICERS – THEY HAD THEIR OWN HIERARCHY – AND HE WAS COMMANDED OR ORDERED TO COMMIT THIS CRIME, AND DAD, I THINK, FELT BADLY ABOUT THIS. THIS WAS NOT THE – HE WAS ORDERED AND IN A TIME OF WAR, IF YOU DIDN’T DO WHAT YOUR OFFICER SAID, YOU WERE KILLED. YOU KNOW, YOU WERE – SO I THINK THAT, PERHAPS WAS A PART OF IT.” A SPECIAL SERIES FROM THE EDMONTON JOURNAL ENTITLED “HANGED: A SPECIAL SERIES ABOUT THE HISTORY OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IN ALBERTA” INDICATES THAT THE GERMAN P.O.W.S PLAYED CHESS TO PASS THE TIME: “THE FOUR GERMANS SPENT THE DAYS BEFORE THEIR EXECUTION PLAYING CHEST, SHOUTING THEIR MOVES TO EACH OTHER FROM SEPARATE CELLS. NONE OF THE MEN WOULD SPEAK TO [DONALD SHERMAN] STALEY, WHO SPENT HIS FINAL DAYS DOING JIGSAW PUZZLES ALONE.” THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPHS PULL THEIR INFORMATION FROM A SERIES OF LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES. BIOGRAPHIC DETAILS FOR WILLI MUELLER ARE FOUND IN AN ARTICLE PUBLISHED ON APRIL 30, 1946: FELDWEBEL (SERGEANT MAJOR) WILLI MUELLER WAS BORN IN SILESIA, HIS NATIVE CITY BEING KLEINA IN THE PROVINCE OF GORSEROTZ. HE MADE HIS HOME IN ROSETZ IN TROCHENG, WHERE HE WORKED AS AN ENGINE MECHANIC IN CIVILIAN LIFE. MUELLER WENT INTO THE GERMAN NAVY IN 1934 AND THE FOLLOWING YEAR TRANSFERRED TO THE AIR FORCE.” AT THE TIME THE ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED, MUELLER WAS A “32-YEAR-OLD LUFTWAFFE MECHANIC, WHO WAS CAPTURED NEAR GLASGOW, SCOTLAND, ON MAY 6, 1941, AFTER HIS BOMBER WAS SHOT DOWN INTO A SWAMP BY A SPITFIRE FIGHTER. HE WEARS BOTH THE FIRST AND SECOND CLASS VERSIONS OF THE IRON CROSS AND COMPLETED 87 OPERATIONAL FLIGHTS.” THE ARTICLE CONTINUED: “WHEN HIS PLANE WAS SHOT DOWN INTO A SWAMP NEAR GLASGOW, BOTH MUELLER’S LEGS WERE BROKEN AND HE ALSO SUFFERED A FRACTURE OF A VERTEBRA. THE CAPTAIN AND LIEUTENANT IN THE BOMBER WERE KILLED. AFTER BEING RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL AND REGAINING HIS HEALTH, MUELLER WAS BROUGHT TO CANADA AND FOR SIX MONTHS WORKED IN A LUMBER CAMP NEAR FLANDERS, ONT. A SINGLE MAN, HE SPEAKS SPANISH AND ONLY A LITTLE ENGLISH.” MUELLER WAS PUT ON TRIAL FOR HIS INVOLVEMENT IN THE MURDER OF UNTEROFFIZIER (CORPORAL) DR. KARL LEHMANN, A FELLOW GERMAN PRISONER OF WAR, ON SEPTEMBER 10, 1944, AT THE MEDICINE HAT PRISONER OF WAR CAMP, NUMBER 132. LEHMANN “WAS BELIEVED TO BE A GERMAN DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY AND AN ANTI-NAZI” ACCORDING TO AN APRIL 20, 1946 ARTICLE. A JULY 30, 1946 ARTICLE SAID THE FOLLOWING: “LEHMANN’S REPUTATION PRIOR TO HIS DEATH WAS THAT HE WAS A ‘GOOD SPORTSMAN’ AND A ‘GOOD COMRADE.’ AFTER HIS DEATH THE RUMOR HAD BEEN THAT HE WAS A ‘TRAITOR.’” THREE OTHER P.O.W.S WERE IMPLICATED IN THE MURDER AS WELL: BRUNO PERZENOWSKI (ALSO SPELT PERZONOWSKY), WALTER WOLF, AND HEINRICH BUSCH. AN ARTICLE PUBLISHED ON MAY 3, 1946 EXPLAINS THE MOTIVATION BEHIND THE KILLING OF LEHMANN: “PERZENOWSKI INFORMED THEM THAT HE HAD ‘ORDERS TO PUT LEHMANN ASIDE’ BECAUSE HE WAS PLANNING A COMMUNISTIC OVERTHROW AND THAT LEHMANN WAS SUPPOSED TO BE ‘THE CHIEF OF THIS COMMUNISTIC GROUP.’ MUELLER WROTE [IN A STATEMENT GIVEN TO POLICE VOLUNTARILY] THAT AS ‘I WAS A STRONG MAN, PERZENOWSKI GAVE ME THE ORDER TO HELP DO AWAY WITH LEHMANN.” ANOTHER ARTICLE PUBLISHED JUNE 27, 1946 GIVES ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: “MUELLER TOLD … THAT ON THE AFTERNOON OF LEHMANN’S HANGING HE HAD BEEN SUMMONED TO PERZENOWSKI’S QUARTERS. HERE HE WAS TOLD BY [PERZENOWSKI] OF AN ORDER RECEIVED FROM THE ‘HIGHER-UPS’ STATING THAT A ‘COURT HAD TAKEN PLACE AND THAT DURING THAT COURT THREE OR FIVE MEN HAD STATED UNDER OATH THAT CPL. LEHMANN HAD BEEN THE RINGLEADER OF A COMMUNISTIC GROUP WHICH THREATENED TO OVERTHROW THE CAMP LEADERSHIP.’ THE ORDER FURTHER STATED ‘THAT LEHMANN WAS TO BE REMOVED AND THAT I (MUELLER) WOULD HAVE TO ASSIST IN IT.’” IN AN ADDITIONAL ARTICLE, PUBLISHED MAY 13, 1946, AN UNIDENTIFIED GERMAN P.O.W. TESTIFIED THAT KARL LEHMANN WAS HANGED BECAUSE HE WAS “‘SUPPOSED TO BE DANGEROUS FOR THE GENERAL CAMP PUBLIC.’” FINALLY, AN ARTICLE FROM DECEMBER 18, 1946 EXPLAINS FURTHER: “NAZI LEADERS HAD ORDERED LEHMANN KILLED WHEN HE WAS A PRISONER OF WAR IN BRITAIN AFTER HAVING BEEN SHOT DOWN WHILE SERVING WITH THE LUFTWAFFE, BECAUSE HE WAS AN ANTI-NAZI. AT THAT TIME HE WAS DETAINED AT A CAMP WITH PERZENOWSKI, MUELLER, AND BUSCH BUT WAS TRANSFERRED TO CANADA BEFORE THE ORDERS COULD BE EXECUTED. HE AGAIN MET SOME OF HIS FORMER FELLOW CAPTIVES AT THE MEDICINE HAT CAMP AND AFTER THE ATTEMPT ON HITLER’S LIFE. NAZI LEADERS IN THAT CAMP WERE ORDERED BY HIDDEN SHORT WAVE RADIO TO KILL ALL TRAITORS TO NAZISM AND ALL COMMUNISTS. LEHMANN HAD BEEN LECTURING AGAINST NAZI IDEOLOGY AT THE CAMP.” AT HIS TRIAL, PERZENOWSKI TRIED TO TAKE THE BLAME FOR THE MURDER. AN ARTICLE FROM JUNE 28, 1946 GIVES THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION: SERGEANT-MAJOR BRUNO PERZENOWSKI “ADMITTED THAT WITHOUT HAVING BEEN DIRECTLY ORDERED TO DO SO, HE HAD GIVEN THE ORDER TO HAVE LEHMANN REMOVED, AND HE EXPRESSED THE DESIRE THAT FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE MURDER BE PLACED ON HIM AND THAT THOSE HE HAD ORDERED TO ASSIST HIM IN THE HANGING BE NOT BLAMED.” IT CONTINUED SAYING THAT “…THE ACCUSED HAD CONSIDERED [THAT] HE WAS ACTING ACCORDING TO GERMAN MILITARY LAW WHEN ORDERING THE HANGING.” IN AN ARTICLE FROM JUNE 27, 1946, MUELLER EXPLAINED THAT THE MURDER “HAD BEEN PLANNED AND ALL PREPARATIONS MADE PRIOR TO HIS GOING TO THE HEAD BARRACKS OF HUTS DZ.” IT CONTINUED: “IT HAD ALSO BEEN ARRANGED THAT AT A GIVEN SIGNAL HE (MUELLER) WAS TO HIT LEHMANN ON THE CHIN AND KNOCK HIM DOWN. THEN THE NOOSE WAS TO BE PUT OVER HIS NECK AND HE WAS TO BE HANGED.” THE ARTICLE CONTINUED: “‘AS I ARRIVED AT THE HUT I WAS HANDED A ROPE AND A STICK BY SOMEONE AND I WAS INSTRUCTED TO HIT LEHMANN WITH THE STICK. I THREW THE STICK AWAY AND STUCK THE ROPE IN MY POCKET,’ [MUELLER] TESTIFIED. SHORTLY AFTER LEHMANN ARRIVED AND WAS ASKED BY PERZENOWSKI ‘IF HE KNEW ANYTHING ABOUT THE COMMUNISTIC ACTIVITIES. THAT WAS THE SIGNAL FOR ME TO HIT HIM.’ MUELLER SAID WHEN HE HIT HIM WITH HIS FIST, LEHMANN FELL OFF THE BENCH ON WHICH HE WAS SITTING AND THE REST OF THOSE IN THE ROOM ‘FELL UPON HIM.’ THE ROPE WAS THEN ADJUSTED ON THE VICTIM’S NECK BY ‘MYSELF AND BUSCH.’ LEHMANN WAS THEN LIFTED UP AND WHEN THE OTHER END OF THE ROPE HAD BEEN TIED, ‘I BELIEVE BY BUSCH’ TO THE GAS PIPE, ‘I LEFT.’ … [MUELLER] HAD NOT SEEN THE ORDER WHICH PERZENOWSKI SAID HE RECEIVED FROM THE ‘HIGHEST AUTHORITY’ AND HE ‘HAD THE IMPRESSION PERZENOWSKI DID NOT WANT HIM TO SEE IT.’” THE FOUR GERMAN P.O.W.S WERE FOUND GUILTY OF MURDER AND ALL WERE SENTENCED TO HANG. THREE OF THE MEN ATTEMPTED TO COMMIT SUICIDE PRIOR TO THEIR HANGING, INCLUDING MUELLER. THE MEN EXPLAINED, IN A DECEMBER 18, 1946 ARTICLE, “THAT THEY TRIED TO COMMIT SUICIDE IN A DETERMINED EFFORT TO ESCAPE HANGING LIKE CRIMINALS … THEY HAD MADE APPEALS TO BE SHOT ‘LIKE SOLDIERS.’” THE ARTICLE CONTINUED SAYING: “THE TRAP DOOR FOR MUELLER AND WOLF WAS SPRUNG AT 1242 AND THE LATTER WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD IN 12 MINUTES AND MUELLER WAS DEAD THREE MINUTES LATER.” THE FOUR P.O.W.S WERE HUNG AT THE SAME TIME AS DONALD SHERMAN STALEY, WHO WAS CONVICTED OF THE MURDER OF TWO YOUNG BOYS. THE DECEMBER 18 ARTICLE CONTINUED: “EACH OF THE NAZIS EXPRESSED RESENTMENT AT BEING SCHEDULED TO HANG WITH STALEY, THE GERMANS REGARDING HIM AS ‘A CRIMINAL’ BECAUSE HE MURDERED TWO YOUNG BOYS. THEY TREATED HIM WITH CONTEMPT … EACH OF THE MURDERERS WAS HANGED WEARING REGULAR PRISON CLOTHING CONSISTING OF A BLUE SHIRT, KHAKI TROUSERS AND A PAIR OF CANVAS SLIPPERS.” SEE PERMANENT FILE FOR A COPY OF THE INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT, A COPY OF THE SPECIAL “HANGED” FROM THE EDMONTON JOURNAL, AND FOR COPIES OF THE HERALD ARTICLES.
Catalogue Number
P20160007002
Acquisition Date
2016-03
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail

6 records – page 1 of 1.