Re: Article Wed. July 4th "Secrets of city revealed on walking tours."
They say you can never go back but just for a brief moment, the historical walks throughout the downtown allow us to glimpse, and perhaps feel, the past.
We celebrate our history in many different ways, individuals, buildings, events, families, photographs, music dates, etc. History is about telling stories, the good along with the bad, as recorded memories.
Our family was fortunate to have played a small part in that history providing hospitality and entertainment in the downtown for 50 years.
During the 60s and 70s, hotels were king. The smell of money was in the air. Ben Ginter was making beer and Ben Meisner was on the radio. Third Avenue offered the greatest shopping outside the Lower Mainland. The Strand Theatre was 10 cents and the Princess was 15 cents to go to the movies. Beer was 10 cents a glass.
Forestry was strong and family names such as Kordyban, Novak, Stewart, Lloyd & Rustad Bros, McDermid & Lofting, & Rahn provided steady employment and kept the town hopping. Many went on to carve out huge lumber empires and become legends in this community.
In January 1978, BC Hotelman Magazine did a feature story on the downtown hotels and personalities. Charismatic, charming, numerous and often colorful. These hoteliers were the perfect hosts. You were met a the door with a warm smile and greeted at the table with a cold beer. Family names such as Russman, Thun, Coole, Cutt, Burgers and Croft provided some of that hospitality.
In the late 60s, the Toronto Star Weekly did a story on the downtown night life, focused on Third Avenue, entitled, "A Saturday Night Never Ends." Everyone worked hard and everyone played hard.
Neon signs lit up the night. Chuck Berry, George Jones, Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn were playing on the jukebox. The streets were full of people saluting each other as they passed and the article was able to catch the celebratory atmosphere of the downtown. Everyone agrees it was a notoriously good time.
The Columbus Hotel sent a team to the World Softball Tournament in Rock Island, Illinois, the Columbus Macs became Senior C Canadian Lacrosse Champs and the Lumber River Kinds became All Native North American Champs.
Music also plays an important part in our history and Prince George can be very proud of the bands and musicians in our City. Many firsts in our lives are connected to a certain song.
A lot has changed and we will not pass this way again. Many folks have passed and many buildings have fallen. Perhaps one day someone will write a book about all this, who knows?
Living in the past has never been so much fun. How lucky were we to have known so many of you.