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Other Name
"SPEED GUN"
Date Range From
1980
Date Range To
1985
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
STEEL, PLASTIC, FOAM
Catalogue Number
P20120014000
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
"SPEED GUN"
Date Range From
1980
Date Range To
1985
Materials
STEEL, PLASTIC, FOAM
No. Pieces
5
Height
13
Length
45
Width
32
Description
A. CASE, SPEED GUN, 45CM LONG X 32CM WIDE X 13CM TALL. BLACK SYNTHETIC LEATHER EXTERIOR WITH SILVER TRIM ALONG LID, TWO SILVER METAL CLASPS WITH LOCKS ON FRONT, FOUR ROUND, SILVER METAL FEET ON BACK, AND SILVER METAL HINGES ON BACK. FRONT OF CASE HAS BLACK PLASTIC HANDLE ATTACHED TO SILVER METAL MOUNT. CASE INTERIOR HAS GREEN FOAM INSERTS INSIDE LID AND BASE; BASE FOAM INSERT HAS CUT-OUTS FOR SPEED GUN TO REST. CASE EXTERIOR IS SCUFFED AND WORN; TOP AND FRONT OF CASE STAINED WHITE AND BROWN; HANDLE HAS LABEL RESIDE ON TOP AND INSIDE; FOAM INSIDE CASE IS HAS INDENTS FROM SPEED GUN. OVERALL VERY GOOD CONDITION. B. SPEED GUN, 75.4CM LONG WITH CORD, GUN 30.8CM LONG X 9.2CM WIDE. BLACK METAL GUN BODY WITH CONICAL FRONT END; SPEED GUN HAS BLACK HANDLE WITH ENGRAVED CROSS-HATCHED GRIP, AND BLACK TAPE WRAPPED AROUND THE BASE; BASE OF HANDLE HAS BLACK CORD ATTACHED. CORD HAS WHITE TAPE WOUND AROUND TOP, WHITE RUBBER CABLE GUARD; CORD IS SPIRALED WITH BLACK VEHICLE ADAPTER FITTED AT END; ADAPTER IS BLACK PLASTIC WITH ROUND SILVER METAL FITTING. SPEED GUN HAS BLACK PLASTIC TRIGGER AT FRONT OF HANDLE BELOW BODY; FRONT OF SPEED GUN HAS BLACK FOAM FITTED INSIDE CONICAL END. SPEED GUN BODY HAS WHITE TEXT ON SIDE “SPEEDGUN EIGHT” WITH ARROW RUNNING THROUGH WORDS; BODY HAS SILVER SWITCH, TWO WHITE DIALS LABELLED “ALARM”, SILVER DIAL, AND BLACK PLASTIC SWITCH LABELLED “MAN.” “AUTO” “(REL).” BESIDE TEXT. SPEED GUN HAS WHITE TEXT ON REVERSE SIDE “SPEEDGUN EIGHT” WITH ARROW RUNNING THROUGH TEXT. UNDERNEATH OF SPEED GUN BODY HAS SILVER AND BLACK METAL PLATE FIXED WITH SILVER TEXT “CMI INC, MINTURN, CO. USA, TRANSMITTER TYPE JF100, PAT. NO. 3,689,921 & RE 29, 401, S/N 38-001367”. BACK OF SPEED GUN HAS DARKENED GLASS DISPLAY WINDOW, WITH TWO GREEN AND TWO RED BULBS VISIBLE INSIDE. BACK OF SPEED GUN HAS SILVER SWITCH LABELLED “(CAL), MOV, STA.” BELOW DISPLAY WINDOW, AND BELOW A SECOND SILVER SWITCH LABELLED “OFF, ON”. BACK OF SPEED GUN HAS WHITE TEXT “CMI INCORPORATED” BELOW DISPLAY WINDOW. BODY OF SPEED GUN IS SCUFFED AND WORN, WITH CHIPS IN BLACK PAINT; OVERALL VERY GOOD CONDITION. C. LEATHER CASE, 14.4CM LONG X 6.7CM WIDE. BLACK LEATHER EXTERIOR WITH BLACK COTTON AND FOAM-LINED INTERIOR; FRONT OF CASE HAS GOLD TEXT STAMPED NEAR TOP EDGE “DECATUR ELECTRONICS, INC, 715 BRIGHT STREET, DECATUR, ILLINOIS 82522”. CASE MACHINE-STITCHED ALONG RIGHT AND BOTTOM EDGES; TOP EDGE HAS RIM ENGRAVED IN LEATHER. CASE INTERIOR IS FLAKING; TEXT ON FRONT OF CASE IS WORN AND FADED; OVERALL VERY GOOD CONDITION. D. TUNING FORK, 12.5CM LONG X 2.5CM WIDE. SILVER WITH TWO SQUARE PRONGS AND HANDLE; FRONT HAS TEXT ENGRAVED BELOW HANDLE “65 KPH, X BAND”. BACK HAS TEXT ENGRAVED BELOW HANDLE “11443”. TOP OF HANDLE HAS CUT-OUT CIRCLE IN MIDDLE. TUNING FORK HAS BLACK FOAM RESIDUE ON PRONGS FROM LEATHER CASE INTERIOR; OVERALL VERY GOOD CONDITION. E. TUNING FORK, 12.5CM LONG X 2.5CM WIDE. SILVER WITH TWO SQUARE PRONGS AND HANDLE; FRONT HAS TEXT ENGRAVED BELOW HANDLE “88 KPH”. BACK HAS TEXT ENGRAVED BELOW HANDLE “C22333”. TOP OF HANDLE HAS CUT-OUT CIRCLE IN MIDDLE. TUNING FORK HAS BLACK FOAM RESIDUE ON PRONGS FROM LEATHER CASE INTERIOR; OVERALL VERY GOOD CONDITION.
Subjects
MECHANICAL T&E
Historical Association
SAFETY SERVICES
History
ON DECEMBER 22, 2017, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN INTERVIEWED TIM STOBBS, FORMER LETHBRIDGE POLICE SERVICES OFFICER, ON THE DONATION OF THE SPEED GUN. ON THE SPEED GUN, STOBBS ELABORATED, “[THE SPEED GUN 8] REALLY CHANGED THE WAY THE WORLD WORKED. [IT] ALLOWED US TO SET AN ALARM, IT COULD BE MOUNTED ON THE DASH OF THE CAR TO BE MOBILE, OR IT COULD BE HELD IN A STATIONARY POSITION.” “THIS IS THE LAST ITERATION OF THE SPEED GUN SERIES OF RADAR THAT THE POLICE SERVICES USED IN THE LATE ‘60S…PROBABLY A LOT OF PLACES USED THEM INTO THE EIGHTIES, AND LATER BECAUSE THEY WERE SUCH A GOOD UNIT. THE SPEED GUN 6 WAS A PRECURSOR TO THIS AND IT WOULD [BE] A PLAIN SPEED GUN WHICH LOOKED IDENTICAL TO [THIS] MODEL. BUT IT HAD NONE OF THE FANCY ITERATIONS LIKE ALARMS AND MANUAL AND AUTO SETTINGS ON IT. IT WAS THE FIRST ITERATION THAT ALLOWED THE POLICE, OR AN ENFORCEMENT AGENCY, TO ACTUALLY HAVE A PORTABLE UNIT THAT THEY COULD HOLD IN THEIR HAND [TO] GIVE THEM A READING ON A CAR…VERSUS EVERYTHING THAT THEY HAD WHICH WAS BUILT INTO THE CAR BEFORE AND ACTUALLY FIXED IN THE CAR. PRIOR TO THAT YOU WOULD BE OUTSIDE AND YOU WOULD HAVE A MOUNTED PIECE THAT WOULD BE A TIMING DEVICE, AND YOU WOULD HAVE PIECES OF TUBING ON THE GROUND AND IT WOULD GIVE YOU SPEED FROM TUBES. THIS WAS A STEP FORWARD INTO THE MODERN 2000 FUTURE. EVERYBODY THOUGHT THIS WAS FROM THE PLANET MARS, IT WAS AWESOME." “THE INITIAL ONES THAT STARTED OUT WERE 6’S…[BY 1979 WHEN I ARRIVED] WE WERE MOVING TO 8’S. 8’S HAD ALL THESE WONDERFUL FEATURES IN THEM, THEY HAD COME SO FAR [WITH] THE ALARM, THE AUTO AND MANUAL SETTINGS, THE STATIONARY MOVEMENT, VERY QUICKLY YOU COULD MOVE FROM STATIONARY TO MOVING. THE INTERNAL CALIBRATION WAS A BIG [FEATURE] BECAUSE YOU COULD VALIDATE YOUR SPEEDS WITH YOUR TUNING FORKS, BUT IT WAS ALWAYS NICE TO JUST PERIODICALLY RUN AN INTERNAL CALIBRATION TO MAKE SURE EVERYTHING WAS RUNNING GOOD.” “THEY ONLY LASTED PROBABLY ANOTHER 5 YEARS AFTER I GOT THERE, IF THAT, BECAUSE WE STARTED MOVING TO…A DOUBLE SYSTEM WHERE WE HAD HARD MOUNTED, MOVING RADAR. IT ALSO DID STATIONARY FRONT AND BACK. WE ALSO STARTED MOVING TO A HANDHELD STATIONARY RADAR, WHICH GAVE US MORE VERSATILITY AS WELL. NOW YOU HAD YOUR RADAR LIKE THIS [SPEED GUN] AND YOU COULD RUN TO THE SIDE, YOU COULD DO MULTIPLE FUNCTIONS AT ONCE.” “[WE RAN] 6’S AND 8’S AT THE SAME TIME.” “THIS PARTICULAR MODEL IS QUITE A HIGH END ONE, IT HAS A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT SETTINGS ON IT AND, YOU CAN LOOK ON THE SIDE AND IT SAYS “ALARM”. THIS WAS A UNIQUE THING BACK IN THE DAY—YOU COULD SET, WHEN YOU WERE TRAVELING DOWN THE HIGHWAY OR ON THE ROAD, A PRE-SET SPEED. LET’S SAY FOR AN EXAMPLE YOU GAVE A 15 KM/H DIFFERENTIAL. YOU WOULD SET THIS AT 65 KM/H AND YOU WOULD PUT THE TOP SWITCH TO THE “ON” POSITION, AND YOU LEAVE THIS BACK ROCKER SWITCH IN THE CENTER POSITION, AND WHEN YOU’RE TRAVELING DOWN THE ROAD, ANY VEHICLE THAT WAS IN VIOLATION OF THAT 65 IT WOULD AUTOMATICALLY BEEP AND IT WOULD LOCK THEIR SPEED ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE. YOUR PATROL SPEED WOULD BE DEMONSTRATED IN THE GREEN ON THE LEFT HAND SIDE OF THE BACK DISPLAY AND ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE WOULD BE THE RED DISPLAY WHICH WOULD BE YOUR TARGET SPEED. IT WOULD LOCK IT. WITH RADAR, THIS IS A DEVICE THAT CAN BE USED TO TEST A SPEED OF A MOTOR VEHICLE, BUT THE INITIAL OBSERVATION HAS TO BE MADE BY THE OFFICER TO SAY THAT, “I LOOKED AT A VEHICLE, I SAW THE VEHICLE WAS TRAVELLING AT WHAT I BELIEVE TO BE A SPEED OF FASTER THAN 65KM/H, I CHECKED AND VALIDATED IT WITH MY RADAR.” THIS [SPEED GUN], YOU COULD TOTALLY DEPEND UPON THE RADAR TO LOCK IT UP, EVEN IF YOU DIDN’T SEE THE VEHICLE. THIS ONE WAS A MILE STEP AHEAD OF ANYTHING AT THAT TIME THAT WE HAD.” “[THE SPEED GUNS] WORKED WELL IN COLD, THEY WORKED WELL IN HOT, THEY WERE VERY PORTABLE. WE COULD PUT A BATTERY PACK ON THESE, A 12 VOLT BATTERY PACK AND WE COULD STAND OUTSIDE THE VEHICLE WITH THE BATTERY PACK. THEY WERE A PRETTY GOOD UNIT FOR THE DAY. THE ONLY THING THAT YOU REQUIRED THE OFFICER FOR WAS TO ENSURE THAT YOU DIDN’T GET THE WRONG READING, BECAUSE IF YOU HAVE TWO CARS COMING AT YOU AND YOU HAVE TWO OF THEM IN THE BEAM, THE OFFICER HAS TO MAKE A DIFFERENTIAL WHETHER OR NOT IT WOULD WORK.” “WE HAD A NUMBER OF DASH MOUNTED UNITS WHICH HAD THE SAME CAPABILITIES, BUT NOTHING HAD THE ALLOWANCE FOR YOU TO BE ABLE TO PULL IT OUT IN A SECOND AND POINT IT OUT THE SIDE WINDOW TO CATCH SOMEBODY COMING AT YOU FROM THE SIDE OR THE REAR. IT WAS A VERY UNIQUE AND WELL THOUGHT OF BEAST. THE ONLY PROBLEMS WE HAD WITH THESE IS IF YOU CAN NOTICE THERE IS AT THE END [THERE’S A PIECE THAT LOOKS] LIKE A HORN. ONE OF THE BIGGEST ISSUES IS MOST POLICEMEN ARE RELATIVELY HARD ON EQUIPMENT IN THE CARS. THEY’VE GOT THE [SPEED GUN] AND THEY DROP IT ON THE GROUND AFTER THEY GET A SPEED. WE [USED] TO KNOCK THE HORNS OFF [SPEED GUNS] QUITE A BIT AND HAVE TO SEND THEM BACK, OR THE HORNS [BECAME] DEFORMED, AND THE REASON IT’S DEFORMED IS ITS BEEN DROPPED OR BANGED AGAINST SOMETHING. WHILE THAT WOULD BE A NORMAL FOR THIS TYPE OF INSTRUMENT, THAT WAS THE ONLY WEAK POINT IN THIS. IF YOU LOOK AT THE MORE MODERN HANDHELD UNITS THEY WENT AWAY FROM A HORN AND PUT A CONE ON THE OUTSIDE TO PROTECT THE INTAKE OF THE RADAR UNIT. THIS ONE HERE…HAS A STYROFOAM INSERT [IN] IT [TO PROTECT IT]. THOSE ALSO WERE VERY SUSCEPTIBLE TO BEING BANGED AND SMASHED OUT. WE WERE ALWAYS MAKING SOMETHING NEW TO PUT BACK IN THERE AND GLUE THEM BACK IN TO PROTECT THE INNARDS OF THE UNIT; THAT WAS PRETTY MUCH THE ONLY DOWNFALL OF THE UNIT.” “ANOTHER THING IT HAD, WHICH THE OLD ONES DIDN’T HAVE, IS IT HAS A STATIONARY MODE ON THE TOP SWITCH AND A MOVING MODE. THEN IT ALSO HAD A CALIBRATE MODE. IT HAD AN INTERNAL TESTING SYSTEM THAT WHEN YOU HIT CALIBRATE IT WOULD RUN AN INTERNAL CALIBRATION ON IT TO HELP YOU, WITH YOUR TUNING FORKS, TO ENSURE THAT THIS WAS WORKING RIGHT. YOU WOULD GENERALLY TEST THIS AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR SHIFT AND IF YOU STOPPED FOR LUNCH YOU WOULD TEST IT AGAIN DURING THE MIDDLE OF YOUR SHIFT. THEN YOU’D TEST AT THE END OF YOUR SHIFT TO VALIDATE THAT THIS INSTRUMENT HAD BEEN OPERATING CORRECTLY DURING THE DURATION OF YOUR SHIFT.” “THIS CALIBRATION INTERNALLY WOULD RUN AN INTERNAL TEST TO MAKE SURE THAT THE CALCULATIONS INSIDE WERE WORKING CORRECTLY, THE ELECTRONICS. BECAUSE THIS IS A PIECE OF ELECTRONICS AND IT IS SUSCEPTIBLE TO HOT AND COLD. THE WHOLE IDEA OF THIS IS TO ENSURE THAT WHEN YOU WENT TO COURT, WITH THE TUNING FORK TEST AND WITH THE INTERNAL CALIBRATION TEST, YOU COULD STAND UP BEFORE THE COURT AND [SAY], “I TESTED THE UNIT, AND IN MY OPINION, AND MY TRAINING, THIS UNIT WORKED CORRECTLY AND AS IT SHOULD TO DETERMINE ACCURATELY THE SPEED OF A MOTOR VEHICLE, EITHER WITH ME MOVING IT OR ME STATIONARY”. YOU HAVE TO GIVE THAT EVIDENCE…AND THAT [CALIBRATION] ALLOWED THAT. [THE] TUNING FORK TEST AND THE INTERNAL [MODE] VALIDATED YOUR ABILITY TO SAY THAT.” “EVERY TIME YOU TOOK OVER A CAR, OR SAY YOU CHANGE CARS MID-SHIFT, [AND] YOU HAD ONE OF THESE UNITS OR ANY RADAR UNIT IN IT, THE FIRST THING YOU’D DO IS YOU WOULD TEST AND ENSURE THE ACCURACY OF THIS UNIT. [THAT WOULD] ENSURE THAT WHEN YOU LEFT, IF YOU GOT SOMEBODY ON RADAR, IT WOULD BE GIVING YOU AN ACCURATE READING. THEY’RE USUALLY ACCURATE, PLUS OR MINUS LESS THAN 1%. AT A 100KM/H IT WOULD BE LESS THAN 1KM/H OFF. THERE ARE VARIOUS THINGS WITH RADAR THAT ARE [BENEFICIAL]. IF YOU’RE SITTING AT THE SIDE OF THE ROAD AND YOU’RE SHOOTING AT AN ANGLE, THE HIGHER THE ANGLE THE LOWER THE SPEED BECAUSE IT’S LIKE A TONE. IF YOU THINK OF RADAR AS HEARING A TRAIN COMING TOWARDS YOU, YOU HEAR IT COMING, IT GETS LOUD, AND THEN IT GOES AWAY AND IT CHANGES TONE. [THE SPEED GUN] GIVES US THE SAME THING AND THAT’S WHAT THIS READS. SO THAT’S GOOD. THIS [SPEED GUN] WAS THE ULTIMATE IN THE SPEED GUNS, THIS WAS EXCELLENT.” “THE COOL THING ABOUT IT WAS FOR THE COURT SYSTEM, IT CAME WITH TWO SETS OF TUNING FORKS. THE TUNING FORKS WERE USUALLY CALIBRATED TO A SPEED. THESE ONES ARE X-BAND TYPE TUNING FORKS, AND THEY WERE SENT AWAY ANNUALLY TO BE CALIBRATED TO ENSURE THAT THEY MAINTAINED THEIR FREQUENCIES. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IS THAT YOU WOULD TAKE AND PUT [THE SPEED GUN] IN STATIONARY MODE, AND YOU WOULD TEST THE DEVICE TO ENSURE THAT IT WAS ACTUALLY READING CORRECTLY, ON BOTH OF [TUNING FORKS]. YOU TESTED THE COMPUTATIONAL SPEED OF THE UNIT. YOU’D STRIKE TWO OF THE TUNING FORKS AND PUT THEM TOGETHER IN FRONT OF THE UNIT, AND IT WOULD MAKE A COMPUTATION ON THE TWO TONES TO GIVE YOU THE BASIC SPEED DIFFERENTIAL BETWEEN THE TWO TUNING FORKS. THIS WAS ANOTHER MEANS TO ENSURE THAT WHAT YOU’RE DOING IS GETTING THE PROPER SPEED OUT OF YOUR UNIT. IT WAS REALLY A STEP FORWARD IN INSURING THAT THE CREDIBILITY AND CAPABILITY OF THE UNIT WAS VALIDATED, AND THE COURTS ACTUALLY LOVE THAT.” “ANNUALLY YOU RECERTIFY YOUR TUNING FORKS, YOUR TUNING FORK CERTIFICATION FOR TWO TUNING FORKS IS PROBABLY ABOUT $120 A YEAR. IF ANYTHING STARTS HAPPENING TO THESE, BECAUSE THEY GET BOUNCED IN THE CAR, VIBRATION, HOT, COLD, THEY’RE IN THE CAR ALL THE TIME. THEY START TO WEAR OUT. IT STARTS BECOMING COST PROHIBITIVE TO SEND THEM BACK TO THE FACTORY FOR REFURBISHING. THERE’S A THING IN [THE SPEED GUNS] CALLED THE OSCILLATOR. UNDER THE NEWER UNITS THE OSCILLATOR IS IN THE HEAD, AWAY FROM THE MAIN UNIT. THE OSCILLATOR FOR THIS [MODEL] IS BUILT INSIDE, SO YOU HAVE TO TAKE [THE] WHOLE UNIT AND SHIP IT OFF. THEY HAVE TO PEAL IT ALL APART, PUT AN OSCILLATOR INTO IT. WHEREAS WITH THE NEW UNITS, WITH THE SEPARATE HEADS WITH THE OSCILLATOR, YOU CAN JUST GET ANOTHER HEAD, PUT ANOTHER HEAD ON, SEND THAT HEAD AWAY TO THE, AND FOR A $160 YOU GET THE OSCILLATOR FIXED. WHEN THESE START TO BREAK DOWN, IT’S USUALLY CATASTROPHIC. THIS IS USUALLY ALMOST COST PROHIBITIVE—LIKE MOST ELECTRONICS, THEY HAVE A VERY LIMITED SHELF LIFE. THEY DON’T GET TREATED EXACTLY THE NICEST. MOST POLICE CARS WILL HAVE POWER SEATS BECAUSE OF THE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE THAT [HAVE] TO BE IN THEM AND THE DIFFERENT POSITIONS THEY HAVE TO BE IN, AND A REGULAR SLIDING SEAT GENERALLY DOESN’T GIVE ENOUGH TO FIT ENOUGH PEOPLE. IF SOMEBODY HAD USED THIS, AND PUT IT DOWN, AND IT FELL BEHIND THE SEAT, AND THEY PUSHED THE SEAT BACK, THOSE POWER SEATS ARE FAIRLY STRONG, THEY CAN DO A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF DAMAGE TO ONE OF THESE UNITS INADVERTENTLY. YOU HAVE TO ASSESS HOW THEY’VE BEEN TREATED, WHAT THE COST IS GOING TO BE TO MAINTAIN THEM, LONG-TERM INVESTMENT. AS SOON AS A SPEED GUN 8 OSCILLATOR’S DONE, IT’S DONE. BECAUSE IT’S NOT WORTH SENDING IT BACK TO HAVE RE-DONE.” “[THE] TRAFFIC SERGEANT WOULD HAVE BEEN IN CHARGE OF THE PROCUREMENT OF [RADAR EQUIPMENT]. AT THAT TIME I’M NOT SURE WHO WOULD HAVE BEEN SERGEANT, BUT IT WAS ONE OF MY SERGEANTS THERE. HE HAD BEEN ON TRAFFIC FOR QUITE A WHILE AT THE TIME…SHORTLY THEREAFTER, WHILE I WAS TENURED THERE, SERGEANT NORRIS VANHORN WAS ALSO ON TRAFFIC WHEN I WAS ON THERE. THESE [SPEED GUNS] WERE FANTASTIC…WHEN WE GOT THESE, THESE WERE EYE OPENERS…YOU THOUGHT YOU’D DIED AND GONE TO HEAVEN BECAUSE OF THE VERSATILITY IT GAVE YOU TO DO YOUR JOB.” “YOU CHANGE THE TECHNOLOGY TO TRY TO KEEP UP WITH THE NEEDS OF THE GUYS THAT ARE WORKING. IT MAKES YOU MORE EFFICIENT…I MANAGED THE PEACE OFFICERS IN OKOTOKS, AND I CAN TELL YOU, I CAN BUY EQUIPMENT EVERY DAY…THAT STUFF’S CHEAP. PEOPLE ARE EXPENSIVE…YOU WOULD TRY TO KEEP THEM IN EQUIPMENT THAT KEEPS THEM VERY EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE, AND YOU’D GET THE MOST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK OUT OF THE PEOPLE WORKING…THIS TYPE OF EQUIPMENT HAS USUALLY A SHORT SHELF LIFE. WE DID OTHER THINGS WITH THEM. WE USED TO LEND OUT THESE RADAR GUNS TO THE SOFT BALL KIDS…OR THE HARD BALL KIDS…AND THEY COULD SEE HOW FAST THEY COULD PITCH. OR WHEN THEY HAD SOAPBOX DERBIES…YOU’D GIVE THESE [SPEED GUNS] AND THEY COULD POST IT ON THE NEWS “AH LITTLE JOHNNY CAME DOWN THE HILL AND HE WAS DOING 37 KM/H IN HIS HOME MADE THING”. THERE [WERE] LOTS OF OTHER APPLICATIONS THAT THIS WAS SORT OF RE-CIRCULATED TO, FOR THE COMMUNITY. IT’S NOT LIKE YOU’D JUST DISCARD THE [EQUIPMENT], YOU’D TRY TO MAKE ANOTHER USE FOR IT. A LOT OF THIS [EQUIPMENT] FOR MANY YEARS, MADE ITS WAY AROUND THE COMMUNITY IN OTHER SOCIAL EVENTS TO ASSIST THE COMMUNITY IN WHAT THEY WANTED TO DO AND SEE.” STOBBS RECALLED HIS TIME WITH THE LETHBRIDGE POLICE SERVICE, NOTING, “I WAS VERY FORTUNATE. I WORKED FOR LETHBRIDGE POLICE SERVICE [STARTING IN 1979]. I ALSO WORKED FOR THE RED CLIFF POLICE SERVICE PRIOR TO THAT, AND WE RAN THESE UNITS WHEN I WAS A YOUNG CONSTABLE. I WORKED IN TRAFFIC FOR OVER 3 AND A HALF OR 4 YEARS.” “THESE [SPEED GUNS] WERE VERY COMMON IN OUR CARS WHEN I CAME HERE. I WAS VERY FORTUNATE—I DROVE A BLACK WIDOW…ONE OF OUR WIDOWS HAD THIS IN IT…WE HAD TWO CARS IN TOWN THAT WERE RENOWNED WITH THE KIDS. THEY WERE TWO BLACK FORDS WITH BIG 429’S IN THEM. THEY HAD SPEED GUNS IN THEM AND THEY ALSO HAD OTHER RADARS IN THEM. THAT [SPEED GUN] WAS ONE OF THE ITERATIONS WE HAD IN THEM, AND WE USED THESE A LOT FOR OUR ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM. THEY COULD GIVE US SUCH VERSATILITY FOR THE OFFICER TO SIT STATIONARY OR TO BE MOVING. WHEN YOU’RE IN A SCHOOL ZONE, SOMETIMES YOU WANT TO STAND OUTSIDE YOUR CAR, YOU WANT TO RUN BACKWARDS, OR YOU WANT TO RUN TO THE SIDE. IF YOU’RE IN A PLAYGROUND ZONE, IT’S MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO BE SITTING ON A SIDE STREET THAN SITTING WITH THE CARS PASSING YOU. IT GAVE US SUCH VERSATILITY WHICH WE NEVER HAD BEFORE.” “BACK IN THE DAY, OUR FLEET WAS…WE CALLED IT THE ‘SMARTIE’ FLEET. IT WAS MULTIPLE COLOURS AND I DON’T KNOW THE PURPOSE BEHIND IT. WHEN I WAS IN [LETHBRIDGE], IF YOU WOUND UP WITH THE TRAFFIC FLEET WHEN I STARTED IN ‘79, THERE WERE TWO CARS. THERE WERE ALWAYS TWO BLACK CARS, AND THEY WERE CALLED THE BLACK WIDOWS. THERE WERE DIFFERENT ITERATIONS. THE FIRST TWO WERE FORD INTERCEPTORS WITH 429’S ALL DECKED OUT, AND THEY WERE PURSUIT TYPE CARS, THEY ALL WERE IN THOSE DAYS. THEN WE HAD A NUMBER OF OTHER VEHICLES. ONE OF THE CARS THAT, WHEN I FIRST WENT THERE, I DROVE [WAS] A SECONDARY MARKED ENFORCEMENT CAR AND IT WAS A PINKIE SALMON COLOUR. I DON’T EVEN KNOW, AND IT WAS GREAT, BUT IT WAS A GREAT BIG LTD AS WELL. THEN WE HAD A COUPLE OTHER CARS THAT WERE A COLLISION CAR AND A HIT-AND-RUN CAR. THEY WERE DIFFERENT COLOURS AGAIN. I DON’T KNOW WHY THEY BOUGHT THEM THAT WAY, I DON’T KNOW WHETHER THAT WAS THE THOUGHT OF THE CHIEF AT THE TIME, BUT THAT WAS THE WAY THINGS WENT UNTIL FINALLY WE DECIDED LATER ON THAT OUR FLEET WAS GOING TO GO BLACK AND WHITE LIKE IN THE OLD DAYS. BEFORE THE “SMARTIE” FLEET IT WAS BLACK AND WHITE, WE WERE GOING BACK TO BLACK AND WHITE. WE WERE THE FIRST POLICE SERVICE IN ALBERTA THAT WENT BACK TO BLACK AND WHITE AND EVERYBODY’S FOLLOWING LETHBRIDGE SUIT, ACTUALLY. THAT’S A CULTURAL THING THOUGH AND LETHBRIDGE IS VERY PROUD OF THEIR BLACK AND WHITE CARS.” “RADAR WAS A DAY-TO-DAY THING; IT WAS INVOLVED HEAVILY IN A DIRECTED TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM. WE USED TO HAVE A PIN-MAP, AND WE DIRECTED OUR ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIES AROUND A NUMBER OF THINGS. FIRST AND FOREMOST WOULD BE OUR PIN-MAP AND OUR PIN-MAP WAS OUR COLLISION MAP. EVERY COLLISION WAS PINNED AND THEY WERE PINNED IN DIFFERENT COLOURS—THIS [IS] OLD TECHNOLOGY. A FATAL WOULD BE BLACK, AN INJURY WOULD BE RED, A NON-INJURY WOULD BE BLUE. WE COULD VISUALLY SEE FROM THE ENFORCEMENT ASPECT WHERE WE SHOULD BE INVESTING OUR TIME TO SLOW PEOPLE DOWN AT THESE COLLISION POINTS. SECONDLY IS, LETHBRIDGE HAD ALWAYS HAD OUR SCHOOLS CLOSE TOGETHER, SO WE INVESTED A LOT OF OUR TIME AND ENERGY AROUND THE SCHOOL SYSTEM. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I WAS PROUD OF IS, FOR THE SIZE OF THE CITY AND THE TRAFFIC FLOWS THAT WE HAD, OUR FATALITY WITH YOUTH WAS VERY LOW. WE HAD A FEW KIDS HIT IN MY TIME AND A FEW OBVIOUSLY PASSED AWAY, IN A CITY OF THIS SIZE, BUT OVER THE YEARS MOST OF US TOOK GREAT PRIDE IN THE FACT THAT WE HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO REALLY MAKE A VISUAL AND A NOTED IMPACT ON BEHAVIORS IN SCHOOLS, WHETHER IT BE U-TURNS, SPEEDING, IN THIS. PEOPLE WERE WELL AWARE WE WERE THERE.” “WE HAD AN EXCELLENT RELATIONSHIP WITH THE KIDS…[IN THE 1970S-1980S WHEN] MUSCLE CARS WERE BIG. WE USED TO HAVE A COOL THING GOING WITH SOME OF THESE KIDS WHEN YOU’RE IN THE ENFORCEMENT GAME. WE USED TO HAVE A [SYSTEM OF] EVERY THIRD ONE’S FREE TYPE THING. THEY’D WORK ALL WINTER, A LOT OF THESE KIDS DIDN’T SMOKE, THEY DIDN’T DRINK, THEY DIDN’T DO ANYTHING. ALL THEY WORKED [ON] WAS THEIR CARS, BUT ONCE SPRING ROLLED OUT, OUT CAME THE MUSCLE CARS. OVER THE COURSE OF THE SUMMER THEY DROVE THEM. THEY WOULD END UP AFOUL OF US, WHETHER IT BE FOR STUNTING OR SPEEDING. WITH SOME OF THESE KIDS, WE WOULD HAVE THIS FREQUENT FLYER MILE PROGRAM BECAUSE THEY WOULD GET THEMSELVES INTO A BIND, BUT THEY WERE SUCH GOOD KIDS THEY WERE JUST STUPID WITH THEIR CARS. WE USED TO CATCH THEM FOR SPEEDING WITH THESE [SPEED GUNS], OR STUNTING. THE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE YOUTH, SOME OF THE YOUNGER PEOPLE, THAT ARE LATE-TEENS OR EARLY-TWENTIES WAS PRETTY GOOD, THESE GUYS THAT BUILT THESE CARS UP. WE HAD A PRETTY GOOD KNOWLEDGE OF THEM AND WE WORKED WELL WITH THEM.” “WE RAN WHAT THEY CALLED A “DIRECTED TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM”. THERE [WERE] A LOT OF OPTIONS FOR THE GUYS TO GO WHERE THEY WANTED, BUT FIRST AND FOREMOST WE CONCENTRATED ON HIGH COLLISION AREAS AND SCHOOLS. OBVIOUSLY WE KNEW WE HAD THE STRIP…WE HAD 3RD AVENUE AND MAYOR MAGRATH DRIVE AND KIDS DROVE THE STRIP IN THE SUMMER, THAT’S WHERE THEY DID THEIR DRAG RACING…BACK IN THE DAY, WHEN I FIRST STARTED, MAYOR MAGRATH DRIVE WENT STRAIGHT THROUGH TO NORTH MAYOR MAGRATH DRIVE. THAT INTERSECTION [OF] 3RD AVENUE, MAYOR MAGRATH DRIVE USED TO GO STRAIGHT THROUGH ON THE HIGHWAY. IT WAS A BUSY PLACE [WITH] LOTS OF COLLISIONS. WE SPENT A LOT OF TIME DOWN IN THERE ON MAYOR MAGRATH, AND THERE WERE OTHER PLACES IN TOWN WHICH WERE CONCERNS. YOU’D GET CITIZENS COMPLAINING ABOUT LOTS OF TRAFFIC AND SPEED, WE WOULD GO DOWN AND MONITOR IT, AND WE WOULD TRY TO RESPOND TO THE NEEDS OF THE COMMUNITY BY ATTENDING THAT AREA. USUALLY IT WAS ONE OR TWO PEOPLE IN THE AREA THAT WERE DOING IT AND YOU CAUGHT AND DEALT WITH THEM, AND THE PROBLEM PRETTY MUCH WENT AWAY. ONE OF THE THINGS I WAS TAUGHT AS A YOUNG CONSTABLE [WAS WHEN YOU] COME TO WORK AFTER YOUR DAYS OFF, THE FIRST THING YOU DO IS YOU GO LOOK AT YOUR PIN BOARD AND YOU SEE IF ANYTHING CHANGED, IF HAVE WE HAD A FATALITY. HAS THERE BEEN SOME SERIOUS COLLISIONS, HAS SOMETHING CHANGED? YOU ALWAYS KNEW IN YOUR MIND WHERE YOU HAD TO BE.” “WE SPENT LOTS OF TIME ON SCENIC DRIVE ANYWHERE. AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS WORTH A POUND OF CURE. IF YOU’RE RUNNING A MARKED VEHICLE, SOMETIMES WE WOULD JUST PARK ON A BOULEVARD SOMEWHERE IT WAS BUSY AND JUST SIT THERE. YOU’D MONITOR TRAFFIC AND OF COURSE SOMEBODY WOULD EVENTUALLY DO SOMETHING SILLY AND YOU’D HAVE STOP THEM, BUT THE WHOLE IDEA WOULD BE FOR THE VISIBILITY ASPECT.” “I REMEMBER WHEN WE GOT THE 8’S [SPEED GUNS] AND WE COULD PROGRAM THEM, WE THOUGHT WE’D DIED AND WENT TO HEAVEN. WE ARE ALL ABOUT EFFICIENCY. EVERY SHIFT YOU WOULD DEAL WITH TWENTY, THIRTY PEOPLE OR MORE. NOT INCLUDING COMPLAINTS, WE’RE TALKING ABOUT INTERACTIONS WITH PEOPLE THAT WERE VIOLATIONS SOMEHOW. [THE SPEED GUNS] GAVE YOU A TOOL TO INTERACT WITH SOMEBODY…AND A LOT OF OTHER THINGS COME FROM THIS. A LARGE AMOUNT OF CRIME IS SOLVED BY SOMEBODY STOPPING A CAR AND TALKING TO SOMEBODY, AND THE CAR’S STOLEN, THERE’S STOLEN PROPERTY IN THE CAR, THE GUY’S WANTED ON WARRANTS. THIS TOOL WAS A LEVERAGE AND AN ABILITY TO ENTER A WHOLE NEW REALM IN ASSISTING OUR COMMUNITY AND KEEPING OUR COMMUNITY SAFE. IT JUST WASN’T FROM THE TRAFFIC END OF IT, IT GAVE YOU AN OPPORTUNITY TO INTERACT WITH PEOPLE THAT NORMALLY YOU WOULD NOT HAVE THE CAPACITY TO INTERACT WITH. AND DO IT IN A LAWFUL MANNER.” FOR MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION AND LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES, PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE P20120014000-GA.
Catalogue Number
P20120014000
Acquisition Date
2012-05
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
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
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