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In December 1938, J.W. “Big Kid” Eames, who ran a gambling establishment called the Biltmore in the Reed Building at 3rd and Main Streets, was shot and killed by three masked robbers: Fern “Bubbles” Sadler, who ran the Copeco dance hall, and his friends and business partners Tommy Humotoff and Otis Slane (According to D.A. Brockett, Sadler ran the Mile-Away Dance Hall, but Grand Junction police officer Fritz Becker, who was an assisting officer...
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He was born in Montgomery County, Missouri to Edwin Samuel Eames, an immigrant from England, and Cora A. Calvin of Ohio. He came to Grand Junction from Telluride in the early Twentieth century. He ran a gambling hall called the Biltmore above the Merchant's Cafe in what later became the J.C. Penney's building on Main Street. He was said to have been a very generous man with his money, donating baskets of food to hundreds of residents over Thanksgiving....
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He frequented the Biltmore gambling club on Grand Junction, Colorado’s Main Street. There, he witnessed the death of J.W. “Big Kid” Eames, owner of the Biltmore, at the hands of armed robbers.
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4) Wagner
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A banker who stole money from the Chase Bank in New York in order to fund his bank in Telluride. After getting out of Federal prison, he worked as a dealer for J. W. "Big Kid" Eames in the Biltmore gambling parlor, located in the upstairs of the J.C. Penney's building on Grand Junction's Main Street.
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Voice Recording
To mark the centennial celebration of the town of Grand Junction, Colorado in 1981, the Mesa County Oral History Project wrote and recorded several radio plays about local history. Beginning on September 26, 1981, local radio stations KSTR, KREX-AM, KREX-FM, and KMSA broadcast the plays. Authors of the plays used interviews recorded by the Mesa County Oral History Project as inspiration. This archival recording contains the play Aces and Eights, which...
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Roy Dinkins, co-owner of Costanzas Liquor Store in Grand Junction, Colorado during the 1930’s, talks in detail about the murder of Biltmore gambling hall owner J.W. “Big Kid” Eames. He describes special investigator Walter Byron’s involvement in the case, the community’s reaction to the murder, and the trial. He also speaks about his upbringing in Salida. The interview was conducted by the Mesa County Oral History Project, a collaboration...
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Al Look talks about taking groups of teachers on tours of the Colorado National Monument and about the history of Grand Junction’s Avalon Theater. He describes the Biltmore, a gambling hall on Main Street owned by J.W. “Big Kid” Eames, and the murder of Eames by dance hall owner and would-be robber Fern “Bubbles” Sadler. He also discusses Pretty Boy Floyd’s brief stay at the Yellow Jacket in Delta, Colorado and his frequenting of Grand...
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He was born to Charles "Chalk" Dinkins and Margaret (Hyatt) Dinkins in Salida, Colorado, and grew up there. According to US Census records, his father worked as a steward for the Elks Club for many years. His mother was a homemaker. He became a machinist for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad as a young man. He moved to Grand Junction sometime in the 1920's or 30's, where he was the co-owner of Costanzas Liquor Store. He married Bernadine Goe in...
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A member of the Fleagle Gang. With his brother Ralph and, at times, Herbert Royston and George Abshier, they robbed several banks around the West, including the First National Bank of Lamar. After fatal shootings during that robbery, the whole gang was hunted down, with Jake being the last man found. During the manhunt, Jake reputedly spent some time in Grand Junction, Colorado, where he frequented the Biltmore gambling club operated by Big Kid Eames....
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A California inmate in San Quentin Prison who was paroled by his mother into the supervision of Charles Lumley in Mesa County. With the help of two fellow parolees, Tommy Humotoff and Otis Slane, he started the COPECO dance hall in the 1920s, in an old barn and packing shed owned by his mother. The facility had been used previously by Elmer Craven for his COPECO fruit growing business in the Hunter District (According to D.A. Brockett, Sadler ran...
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Leo Coyner is interviewed by Grace May and Ginger Infanger about growing up on a homestead in Clark.
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Abandoned buildings, mine camps, and towns, oh my! Librarian Ike shares the secret past of Mesa County Ghost Towns. Librarian Noel discusses the re-initiation of the Oral History Project, a partnership with the Museums of Western Colorado, and the rich local history available at Mesa County Libraries!
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Nancy Gray talks about growing up in Steamboat Springs in the 1950s and 1960s, her 49-year career as a ski instructor at Steamboat Ski Resort after ski racing in her youth, teaching and coaching young swimmers, and the importance of the downtown hot springs to herself and her family.
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Glenn McFall discusses downtown businesses and business owners in Grand Junction, Colorado, as well as the shoe store he worked at for nine years, McConnell-Lowes. Glenn also talks about the involvement of the Ku Klux Klan in the Grand Valley area, the Mesa County Pest House and Smallpox outbreaks, the social scene and where people went to go dancing, the Mesa County Fair, horse racing and gambling, bailing rowdy cowboys out of the local jail, Eddie...
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Interview with T. Rex Rhodes, born Feb. 17, 1925 and died April 13, 2008. T. Rex reminisces about ice skating, swimming, the ski train, fun with the Frantz family, and why 1936 was a big year in Salida.
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Judy Walden, Roger Reynolds and Karyn Doughty talk about their experiences providing support for gifted children and adults with various learning abilities, as well as touch upon the students they mentor who are interested in the same field of work.
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Ruby Cooper writes about the Paraprofessional and Special Education Training Program at Colorado Northwestern Community College based on interviews with Judy Walden and Ian Payton. Roger Reynolds and Debbie Hazelbaker talk about their experiences working with special needs children at Discovery Center.
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Interview with siblings Norman Colin Campbell and Helen Louise Campbell Drake in Delta, Colo. Norman was born June 3, 1927 and died Oct. 9, 2012 and Helen was born March 4, 1933 and died Jan. 6, 2006. They discuss attending Valley View School, square dancing at the band pavilion in Alpine Park, and growing up on their farm in Salida, Colorado.
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Interview with Laurence 'Campy' Campton, b. October 27, 1916 and died April 13, 2012. Laurence discusses his time in a P.O.W. camp in WWII, competing in FIBArk in the 50s, and his life and work in Salida, Colorado. Interviewed May 10, 2004.
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John Abner "Doc" Utterback Jr. describes his life growing up in Routt County and voices his opinions on a variety of topics including changing values, music, education, and community development in Routt County in this interview with Mari Jo Hoaglund and Bill McKelvie.