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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
BLANKET
Date Range From
1920
Date Range To
1990
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
RAW FLAX YARN
Catalogue Number
P20160003007
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
BLANKET
Date Range From
1920
Date Range To
1990
Materials
RAW FLAX YARN
No. Pieces
1
Length
139
Width
99.5
Description
HAND-WOVEN BLANKET MADE FROM RAW FLAX. THE BLANKET IS COMPOSED OF 2 SECTIONS OF THE SAME SIZE OF MATERIAL THAT ARE JOINED TOGETHER WITH A SEAM AT THE CENTER. ON THE FRONT SIDE (WITH NEAT SIDE OF THE STITCHING AND PATCHES), THERE ARE THREE PATCHES ON THE BLANKET MADE FROM LIGHTER, RAW-COLOURED MATERIAL. ONE SECTION OF THE FABRIC HAS TWO OF THE PATCHES ALIGNED VERTICALLY NEAR THE CENTER SEAM. THE AREA SHOWING ON ONE PATCH IS 3 CM X 5 CM AND THE OTHER IS SHOWING 5 CM X 6 CM. ON THE OPPOSITE SECTION THERE IS ONE PATCH THAT IS 16 CM X 8.5 CM SEWN AT THE EDGE OF THE BLANKET. THE BLANKET IS HEMMED ON BOTH SHORT SIDES. ON THE OPPOSING/BACK SIDE OF THE BLANKET, THE FULL PIECES OF THE FABRIC FOR THE PATCHES ARE SHOWING. THE SMALLER PATCH OF THE TWO ON THE ONE HALF-SECTION OF THE BLANKET IS 8CM X 10 CM AND THE OTHER PATCH ON THAT SIDE IS 14CM X 15CM. THE PATCH ON THE OTHER HALF-SECTION IS THE SAME SIZE AS WHEN VIEWED FROM THE FRONT. THERE IS A SEVERELY FADED BLUE STAMP ON THIS PATCH’S FABRIC. FAIR CONDITION. THERE IS RED STAINING THAT CAN BE SEEN FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE BLANKET AT THE CENTER SEAM, NEAR THE EDGE OF THE BLANKET AT THE SIDE WITH 2 PATCHES (CLOSER TO THE LARGER PATCH), AND NEAR THE SMALL PATCH AT THE END FURTHER FROM THE CENTER. THERE IS A HOLE WITH MANY LOOSE THREADS SURROUNDING NEAR THE CENTER OF THE HALF SECTION WITH ONE PATCH. THERE ARE VARIOUS THREADS COMING LOOSE AT MULTIPLE POINTS OF THE BLANKET.
Subjects
AGRICULTURAL T&E
BEDDING
Historical Association
AGRICULTURE
DOMESTIC
ETHNOGRAPHIC
History
THE KONKINS WERE A RUSSIAN-SPEAKING FAMILY FROM THE TOWN OF SHOULDICE, ALBERTA, NEAR CALGARY. THEY AND MANY OTHER RUSSIAN FAMILIES COMPOSED THAT TOWN’S DOUKHOBOR COLONY. IT WAS THERE WILLIAM KONKIN MARRIED ELIZABETH WISHLOW. IN 1928, THEIR DAUGHTER, ELSIE WAS BORN. THEY LATER MOVED TO A FARM IN VAUXHALL, ALBERTA. THE PRECEDING AND FOLLOWING INFORMATION HAS BEEN EXTRACTED FROM A TWO-PART INTERVIEW WITH DONOR ELSIE MORRIS, WHICH WAS CONDUCTED BY COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN ON FEBRUARY 17, 2016. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION COMES FROM FAMILY HISTORIES AND TEXTS PROVIDED BY THE DONOR. A FULL HISTORY OF THE KONKIN FAMILY CAN BE FOUND WITH THE RECORD P20160003001. ACCORDING TO A NOTE THAT WAS ATTACHED TO THIS LIGHTWEIGHT BLANKET AT THE TIME OF ACQUISITION THE BLANKET IS BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN MADE C. 1920S. MORRIS SAYS HER MEMORY OF THE BLANKET DATES AS FAR BACK AS SHE CAN REMEMBER: “RIGHT INTO THE ‘30S, ‘40S AND ‘50S BECAUSE MY MOTHER DID THAT RIGHT UP UNTIL NEAR THE END. I USE THAT EVEN IN LETHBRIDGE WHEN I HAD A GARDEN. [THIS TYPE OF BLANKET] WAS USED FOR TWO PURPOSES. IT WAS EITHER PUT ON THE BED UNDERNEATH THE MATTRESS THE LADIES MADE OUT OF WOOL AND OR ELSE IT WAS USED, A DIFFERENT PIECE OF CLOTH WOULD BE USED FOR FLAILING THINGS. [THE] FLAIL ACTUALLY GOES WITH IT AND THEY BANG ON THE SEEDS AND IT WOULD TAKE THE HULLS OFF… IT’S HAND WOVEN AND IT’S MADE OUT OF POOR QUALITY FLAX… IT’S UNBLEACHED, DEFINITELY… RAW LINEN." THIS SPECIFIC BLANKET WAS USED FOR SEEDS MORRIS RECALLS: “…IT HAD TO BE A WINDY DAY… WE WOULD PICK DRIED PEAS OR BEANS OR WHATEVER BEET SEEDS AND WE WOULD BEAT AWAY AND THEN WE WOULD STAND UP, HOLD IT UP AND THE BREEZE WOULD BLOW THE HULLS OFF AND THE SEEDS WOULD GO STRAIGHT DOWN [ONTO THE BLANKET.” THE SEEDS WOULD THEN BE CARRIED ON THE BLANKET AND THEN PUT INTO A PAIL. OF THE BLANKET’S CLEAN STATE, MORRIS EXPLAINS, “THEY’RE ALWAYS WASHED AFTER THEY’RE FINISHED USING THEM.” WHEN SHE LOOKS AT THIS ARTIFACT, MORRIS SAYS: “I FEEL LIKE I’M OUT ON THE FARM, I SEE FIELDS AND FIELDS OF FLAX, BLUE FLAX. BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT SHE USED IT FOR. SHE DID USE IT IF SHE WANTED A LITTLE BIT OF THE FLAX THEN SHE’D POUND THE FLAX, BUT THAT WASN’T OFTEN. IT WAS MOSTLY BEANS AND PEAS.” IT IS UNKNOWN WHO WOVE THIS BLANKET. PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE FOR MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION, OBITUARIES, PHOTOGRAPHS, AND FAMILY HISTORIES.
Catalogue Number
P20160003007
Acquisition Date
2016-02
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
FLAIL PADDLE
Date Range From
1920
Date Range To
1990
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
WOOD
Catalogue Number
P20160003001
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
FLAIL PADDLE
Date Range From
1920
Date Range To
1990
Materials
WOOD
No. Pieces
1
Height
4
Length
41
Width
12
Description
WOODEN FLAIL. ONE END HAS A PADDLE WITH A WIDTH THAT TAPERS FROM 12 CM AT THE TOP TO 10 CM AT THE BASE. THE PADDLE IS WELL WORN IN THE CENTER WITH A HEIGHT OF 4 CM AT THE ENDS AND 2 CM IN THE CENTER. HANDLE IS ATTACHED TO THE PADDLE AND IS 16 CM LONG WITH A CIRCULAR SHAPE AT THE END OF THE HANDLE. ENGRAVED ON THE CIRCLE THE INITIALS OF DONOR’S MATERNAL GRANDMOTHER, ELIZABETH EVANAVNA WISHLOW, “ . . .” GOOD CONDITION. THERE IS SLIGHT SPLITTING OF THE WOOD ON THE PADDLE AND AROUND THE JOINT BETWEEN THE HANDLE AND THE PADDLE. OVERALL WEAR FROM USE.
Subjects
AGRICULTURAL T&E
Historical Association
AGRICULTURE
ETHNOGRAPHIC
History
THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION HAS BEEN EXTRACTED FROM A TWO-PART INTERVIEW WITH DONOR ELSIE MORRIS, WHICH WAS CONDUCTED BY COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN ON FEBRUARY 17, 2016. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION COMES FROM FAMILY HISTORIES AND TEXTS PROVIDED BY THE DONOR. THIS WOODEN DOUKHOBOR TOOL IS CALLED A “FLAIL.” A NOTE WRITTEN BY ELSIE MORRIS THAT WAS ATTACHED TO THE FLAIL AT THE TIME OF DONATION EXPLAINS, “FLAIL USED FOR BEATING OUT SEEDS. BELONGED TO ELIZABETH EVANAVNA WISHLOW, THEN HANDED TO HER DAUGHTER ELIZABETH PETROVNA KONKIN WHO PASSED IT ON TO HER DAUGHTER ELIZABETH W. MORRIS.” ALTERNATELY, IN THE INTERVIEW, MORRIS REMEMBERED HER GRANDMOTHER’S, “… NAME WAS JUSOULNA AND THE MIDDLE INITIAL IS THE DAUGHTER OF YVONNE. YVONNE WAS HER FATHER’S NAME AND WISHLOW WAS HER LAST NAME.” THE FLAIL AND THE BLANKET, ALSO DONATED BY MORRIS, WERE USED TOGETHER AT HARVEST TIME TO EXTRACT AND COLLECT SEEDS FROM GARDEN CROPS. ELSIE RECALLED THAT ON WINDY DAYS, “WE WOULD PICK DRIED PEAS OR BEANS, OR WHATEVER, AND WE WOULD [LAY THEM OUT ON THE BLANKET], BEAT AWAY AND THEN HOLD [THE BLANKET] UP, AND THE BREEZE WOULD BLOW THE HULLS OFF AND THE SEEDS WOULD GO STRAIGHT DOWN.” THE FLAIL CONTINUED TO BE USED BY ELIZABETH “RIGHT UP TO THE END,” POSSIBLY INTO THE 1990S, AND THEREAFTER BY MORRIS. WHEN ASKED WHY SHE STOPPED USING IT HERSELF, MORRIS SAID, “I DON’T GARDEN ANYMORE. FURTHERMORE, PEAS ARE SO INEXPENSIVE THAT YOU DON’T WANT TO GO TO ALL THAT WORK... I DON’T KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE HARVEST THEIR SEEDS. I THINK WE JUST GO AND BUY THEM IN PACKETS NOW.” THE KONKINS WERE A RUSSIAN-SPEAKING FAMILY FROM THE TOWN OF SHOULDICE, ALBERTA, NEAR CALGARY. THEY AND MANY OTHER RUSSIAN FAMILIES COMPOSED THAT TOWN’S DOUKHOBOR COLONY. DOUKHOBOURS CAME TO CANADA IN FINAL YEARS OF THE 19TH CENTURY TO ESCAPE RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION IN RUSSIA. ELIZABETH KONKIN (NEE WISHLOW) WAS BORN IN CANORA, SK ON JANUARY 22, 1907 TO HER PARENTS, PETER AND ELIZABETH WISHLOW. AT THE AGE OF 6 SHE MOVED WITH HER FAMILY TO A DOUKHOBOR SETTLEMENT AT BRILLIANT, BC, AND THEY LATER MOVED TO THE DOUKHOBOR SETTLEMENT AT SHOULDICE. IT WAS HERE THAT SHE MET AND MARRIED WILLIAM KONKIN. THEIR DAUGHTER, ELSIE MORRIS (NÉE KONKIN), WAS BORN IN SHOULDICE IN 1928. INITIALLY, WILLIAM TRIED TO SUPPORT HIS FAMILY BY GROWING AND PEDDLING VEGETABLES. WHEN THE FAMILY RECOGNIZED THAT GARDENING WOULD NOT PROVIDE THEM WITH THE INCOME THEY NEEDED, WILLIAM VENTURED OUT TO FARM A QUARTER SECTION OF IRRIGATED LAND 120 KM (75 MILES) AWAY IN VAUXHALL. IN 1941, AFTER THREE YEARS OF FARMING REMOTELY, HE AND ELIZABETH DECIDED TO LEAVE THE ALBERTA COLONY AND RELOCATE TO VAUXHALL. MORRIS WAS 12 YEARS OLD AT THE TIME. MORRIS STATED: “… [T]HEY LEFT THE COLONY BECAUSE THERE WERE THINGS GOING ON THAT THEY DID NOT LIKE SO THEY WANTED TO FARM ON THEIR OWN. SO NOW NOBODY HAD MONEY, SO VAUXHALL HAD LAND, YOU KNOW, THAT THEY WANTED TO HAVE THE PEOPLE AND THEY DIDN’T HAVE TO PUT ANY DOWN DEPOSIT THEY JUST WERE GIVEN THE LAND AND THEY HAD TO SIGN A PAPER SAYING THEY WOULD GIVE THEM ONE FOURTH OF THE CROP EVERY YEAR. THAT WAS HOW MY DAD GOT PAID BUT WHAT MY DAD DIDN’T KNOW WAS THAT THE MONEY THAT WENT IN THERE WAS ACTUALLY PAYING OFF THE FARM SO HE WENT TO SEE MR., WHAT WAS HIS LAST NAME, HE WAS THE PERSON IN CHARGE. ANYWAY HE SAID TO HIM “HOW LONG WILL IT BE BEFORE I CAN PAY OFF THIS FARM” AND HE SAYS “YOU’VE BEEN PAYING IT RIGHT ALONG YOU OWE ABOUT TWO HUNDRED AND A FEW DOLLARS”. WELL THAT WAS A REAL SURPRISE FOR THEM SO THEY GAVE THEM THE TWO HUNDRED AND WHATEVER IT WAS THAT HE OWED AND HE BECAME THE OWNER OF THE FARM." MORRIS WENT ON, ”THE DOUKHOBORS ARE AGRARIAN, THEY LIKE TO GROW THINGS THAT’S THEIR CULTURE OF OCCUPATION AND SO THE ONES WHO LIKED FRUIT MOVED TO B.C. LIKE MY UNCLE DID AND MY DAD LIKED FARMING SO HE MOVED TO VAUXHALL AND THERE WERE LET’S SEE, I THINK THERE WERE FOUR OTHER FAMILIES THAT MOVED TO VAUXHALL AND THREE OF THE MEN GOT TOGETHER AND DECIDED THEY WERE GOING TO GET THEIR TOOLS TOGETHER LIKE A TRACTOR AND MACHINERY THEY NEEDED AND THEN THEY WOULD TAKE TURNS…” THE KONKINS RETIRED TO LETHBRIDGE FROM VAUXHALL IN 1968. MORRIS, BY THEN A SCHOOL TEACHER, RELOCATED TO LETHBRIDGE WITH HER OWN FAMILY. WILLIAM KONKIN PASSED AWAY IN LETHBRIDGE ON MARCH 3, 1977 AT THE AGE OF 72 AND 23 YEARS LATER, ON APRIL 8, 2000, ELIZABETH KONKIN PASSED AWAY IN LETHBRIDGE. A NUMBER OF ARTIFACTS PREVIOUSLY BELONGING TO THE FAMILY EXIST IN THE GALT COLLECTION. THE KONKINS RETIRED TO LETHBRIDGE FROM VAUXHALL IN 1968. MORRIS, BY THEN A SCHOOL TEACHER, RELOCATED TO LETHBRIDGE WITH HER OWN FAMILY. WILLIAM KONKIN PASSED AWAY IN LETHBRIDGE ON MARCH 3, 1977 AT THE AGE OF 72 AND 23 YEARS LATER, ON APRIL 8, 2000, ELIZABETH KONKIN PASSED AWAY IN LETHBRIDGE. A NUMBER OF ARTIFACTS PREVIOUSLY BELONGING TO THE FAMILY EXIST IN THE GALT COLLECTION. PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE FOR MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION, OBITUARIES, PHOTOGRAPHS, AND FAMILY HISTORIES.
Catalogue Number
P20160003001
Acquisition Date
2016-02
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.” WHEN ASKED IF THE PAINTING HAD BEEN DISPLAYED, WENDY REPLIED: “YES. [MY DAD DENZIL] HAD THIS IN HIS DEN AND HE HAD A DEN/OFFICE BECAUSE HE LATER BECAME A PROVINCIAL COURT JUDGE IN B.C. AND THIS WAS ALWAYS ON HIS WALL IN THAT LITTLE ROOM IN THE BASEMENT THAT HE HAD. THAT WAS JUST IN HIS DISPLAY CASE.” 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
Other Name
BALE OR HAY HOOK
Date Range From
1940
Date Range To
1950
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
METAL, WOOD, IRON
Catalogue Number
P20150010009
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
BALE OR HAY HOOK
Date Range From
1940
Date Range To
1950
Materials
METAL, WOOD, IRON
No. Pieces
1
Height
11.0
Length
24.5
Width
12..7
Description
HAY CROOK OR BALE HOOK. METAL AND WOODEN HANDLE, WITH CAST IRON HOOK. MAIN PORTION OF THE HANDLE IS WOODEN, WITH A MEDIUM AND LIGHT GREY PAINTED FINISH. WHERE THE HANDLE ATTACHES TO THE HOOK IS SILVER COLOURED METAL, WITH A MEDIUM LIGHT BLUE PAINTED FINISH. THE HOOK ITSELF IS CAST IRON, WITH A RED PAINTED FINISH. OVERALL IN FAIR TO GOOD CONDITION. STRUCTURALLY THE HOOK IS IN VERY GOOD CONDITION, BUT THE PAINTED SURFACES ARE ALL VERY WORN. THE WOODEN HANDLE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN FINISHED IN A LIGHT GREY FIRST, WITH A LATER ADDITION OF MEDIUM GREY PAINT. BOTH OF THE GREY FINISHS ARE VERY SCUFFED AND SCRATCHED AND THERE IS A LOT OF EXPOSED WOOD. THE MEDIUM BLUE FINISH OF THE METAL PORTION OF THE HANDLE HAS FLAKED OFF IN SEVERAL AREAS. SEVERAL MORE AREAS OF THE FINISH ARE LOOSE. THE RED FINISH ON THE CAST IRON IS VERY WORN, REVEILING BOTH UNFINISHED METAL AND A LIGHT BLUE PAINT.
Subjects
AGRICULTURAL T&E
Historical Association
SAFETY SERVICES
History
THIS HAY CROOK OR BALE HOOK WAS USED BY THE LETHBRIDGE FIRE DEPARTMENT. IN THE SUMMER OF 2015, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN, CONDUCTED A SERIES OF INTERVIEWS WITH CURRENT AND FORMER MEMBERS OF THE FIRE DEPARTMENT, INCLUDING: CLIFF “CHARLIE” BROWN (HIRED IN 1966, RETIRED 2004), TREVOR LAZENBY (HIRED IN 1994), RAYMOND “RAY” PETIT (HIRED 1965, RETIRED 1998), AND LAWRENCE DZUREN (HIRED 1959, RETIRED 1992). ALL FOUR MEN AGREE THAT THE HOOK WAS USED TO HELP FIGHT HAYSTACK FIRES ON LOCAL FARMS. BROWN EXPLAINS THE DIFFICULTY OF DEALING WITH A HAYSTACK FIRE AND WHY THE HOOK WAS SO USEFUL: “WITH A HAYSTACK FIRE, ONCE IT STARTS ON FIRE, THE WHOLE STACK IS WRECKED, EVEN THOUGH IT DOESN’T BURN, BECAUSE THE SMOKE GOES THROUGH IT, THE HAY IS CONTAMINATED AND THE ANIMALS AREN’T GOING TO EAT IT, SO YOU PRETTY WELL HAVE TO KNOCK IT DOWN ANYWAY. AS SOON AS YOU PUT WATER ON IT, IT WILL SMOLDER, AND SMOLDER, AND SMOLDER. PROBABLY ONE OF THE HARDEST FIRES TO PUT OUT IS A HAYSTACK FIRE, BECAUSE YOU CAN’T GET THE WATER TO IT. … YOU PUT YOUR WATER, YOU SOAK ON TOP OF THE BALES AND IT JUST WON’T SOAK IN, SO YOU HAVE TO TAKE EVERY BALE APART, BREAK EVERY PIECE APART, EVERY LITTLE BALE, BREAK IT DOWN, HOSE IT DOWN, NEXT BALE, BREAK IT APART, HOSE IT DOWN, AND CONTINUE.” LAZENBY RECALLED SEEING THE HAY CROOK ON THE TRUCK WHEN HE FIRST STARTED AND EXPLAINED: “I’M NOT A FARM KID AND I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT IT WAS.” HE ASKED WHAT IT WAS, RECEIVING THE REPLY: “’WELL, IT’S A BALE HOOK’ AND I SAID, ‘SO I’M NOT TRYING TO BE A SMART ALECK HERE, BUT WHY DO WE HAVE BALE HOOKS ON THE ENGINE?’ THEY SAID, ‘WELL, IN CASE WE GO TO A HAY BALE FIRE.’ YOU KNOW, ASK A SIMPLE QUESTION, YOU GET A SIMPLE ANSWER, RIGHT? … I NEVER SAW ONE USED AND … THIS IS ONE OF THOSE PIECES OF EQUIPMENT THAT GOT PHASED OUT SHORTLY AFTER THE BEGINNING OF MY CAREER. … THIS WAS ONE OF THOSE PIECES THAT WE FOUND THAT WE JUST DIDN’T HAVE A USE FOR. YOU CAN MOVE HAY BALES WITH OTHER MEANS THAN TO HAVE A SET OF BALE HOOKS ON THE TRUCKS, SO THEY WENT AWAY.” PETIT RECALLED USING THE HOOK AND ADDED: “IT WAS USUALLY ON THE PUMP WHEN THEY RESPONDED TO GRASS FIRES … SOMETIMES WE’D TAKE THAT, NOT USUALLY TO FIGHT THE FIRE, BUT WHEN YOU HAD TO KNOCK [THE BALES] DOWN, YOU HAD TO DRAG THE BALES OUT OF THE WAY. OTHERWISE THEY WOULD START THE FIRE ALL OVER AGAIN. IT WASN’T USED THAT MUCH BUT WE DID GO TO QUITE A FEW FIRES, YOU KNOW, STACKS OF BALES.” DZUREN AGREED: “WELL, IT’S THE BAILING HOOK. AND THAT’S JUST TO MOVE ANY, WHETHER IT’S A BALE OF STRAW OR ANY OTHER ITEM THAT HAD TO BE MOVED AWAY FROM THE FIRE, OR JUST, YOU KNOW, SEGREGATED FROM WHAT WAS ALREADY BURNING.” HE RECALLED THAT IT WAS IN USE WHEN HE STARTED IN 1959 AND ADDED “IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ON ONE OF THE VEHICLES … PARTICULARLY … COUNTY VEHICLES THAT WOULD RESPOND OUT TO THE COUNTY, TO THE FARM FIRE.” SEE PERMANENT FILE FOR FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE LETHBRIDGE FIRE DEPARTMENT.
Catalogue Number
P20150010009
Acquisition Date
2015-02
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail

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