Cottonwood to celebrate 150th year in 2012, area history included
(History continued from last week)
What comes around goes around. All our lives we talk of or about the 1920’s or especially the 1930’s when we talk about hard times out of one side of our mouth then, in a little while out of the other side of our mouth, “Yes, by golly, those were the good old days!” Just like every other story it has to be compared to something else to make it come out one way or the other. Some of the old story tellers always have “yeah, it ain’t all bad, remember when.” This business of tell it like it was is quite a bit like Idaho weather. “If you don’t like what we have, just wait a little and it will change.”
Sure our history is full of the talk of the good and the bad, but, really, depending on your attitude, people of this area spend most of their time recalling the good  things in their past and only a small amount of time remembering the hard times. I think it’s because of their nature and the way they were brought up. Negative thoughts don’t leave much hope for the future.
Working on this project sure has many positive things to recall and discuss. Guys like Lee Rehder light up like a light bulb when we talk of family and friends anytime the last 100 years and even a little more!
Sometimes between my “hen scratching” and just plain bad spelling I get quite a few phone calls about “that last article.” It’s nice to have Greg Wherry to blame for part of it and it’s also nice to know so many people follow this project. It’s also nice to know that we, on this end, aren’t the only ones who like to remember and “jaw” history.
Last week we talked about some of the people who lived along our private stretch of the Salmon River. I’ve received a lot of “remember some of the other people who lived around here when we were growing up.” Most of these people could not have been more widely known had they had their own newspaper.
Some, like Big Ed Nuxoll, who left his mark by his special relationship with the kids and with his big heart, always giving a little help where needed. Of course there are stories about his size and strength and most of us who knew him will swear to it!
Over in Ferdinand Eva Herzog will always be remembered for Ferdinand News in the local paper. Most of the men in the service remember Eva’s columns like an extra letter from home. Many of our servicemen tell of passing the Chronicle around for complete strangers to read.
For many years Danny Trautman from Greencreek was a handyman who worked on most projects in the area and was always ready to give a hand. He just plain liked people and would do most anything to entertain. I remember Danny for many reasons, especially his resilience. He was working for Bill Jacks building Bill and Viola Nuxoll’s home on the old Brewery Site. I happened to be there on other business on Monday morning when the crew was just starting to shingle the rood. Bill Jacks was up on the roof and asked Danny to put the next bundle on the south or lower side as he was starting there first. Danny picked up a bundle and trotted up the ladder on the north side, went over the ridge at a run and ran off the roof (about 10 ft.), hit the ground and showed back up at the ladder in about 2 minutes ready to have a go at it again! Still carrying the bundle of shingles! Danny sure was a dedicated worker.
Another man who was always on the job and most always there to make his mark was John Rieland, a good steady worker and he was a good carpenter. If one nail was good, two was better! John’s work stands as his signature both at the convent and at the hospital as well as many local barns.
Golly all these bits and pieces from the people and things that were part of our lives in the by-gone days. Seems like the memories were built around both special people and coming of new things. Remember when Ben and Martha Lightfield first owned the Sales Yard. Then their house, which set on the hall just below the Yard burnt down and it wasn’t too long they built the movie theatre on the East side of Simon Meat Market. I remember there was a small coffee shot on the west side of the movie house and another small office on the east side with a ticket booth in the center with in and out ramps on either side of the booth. To start with there were shows on only the weekends. Sometimes, as I remember, a magic show or such would be featured. There was a one-bedroom apartment upstairs and also the projection rooms. What a treat to have movies and newsreels during WWII! Later on Cletus and Peg Uhlorn bought and ran the Mode Theatre along with Uhlorn Funeral Home.
Also during the war there was a bowling alley on the ground floor of the old Rooke Hotel and the old City Hall sat where the Post Office is now. Dances and other public meetings were held in the K of C Hall where U.S. Bank now sets.
In a way and for sure we are all characters of a sort and, each with their own make-up have left a memory in the lives of all their friends and neighbors. Believe me, when we recall some of these special people, we, in no way, do so to “poke fun” at them. We remember these people as our friends and in a way that makes them special in our own lives. Many of us who were in business along Main Street went to work every day, much as the farmer who does his daily chores and day after day we kind of look forward to seeing someone special to break up the day. One of these special people was Anna Hatke who lived down Front Street across the creek just east of Ted and Mable Roberts. She and her husband Louis made a classic pair. Louis was about 6 ft. 1 or 2 and Anna was about 5’1” or so. He wore blue bib overalls and long sleeve shirts. Anna wore a kitchen print dress and always a special bonnet which was very outstanding as I knew no one else who did this. Both were very friendly and quick with a “hi there.” I never saw them without a smile both going and coming from the Post Office.
Louie liked to stop at the Café Royale for usually just a coffee and a few stories and to catch up on the over night news. Anna liked to stop at the drug store and the grocery store and bank to make sure everyone was doing their thing. Louis was pretty much a one trip man while Anna, on a good day, would walk uptown twice or more. They both had a lot of contacts and they were regular as a clock and we all enjoyed them very much. Part of our town, part of the area story.
While in the neighborhood let’s talk about another couple that lived next to Anna and Louis. Of course you remember Ted and Mable Roberts. Mable worked out for other people and in a local café or two. Ted was born and raised on the last bench on the left where Graves Creek empties into the Salmon River. Ted worked many years in the logging business. Both he and Mable had many friends and spent a lot of time socializing in one or another of the local bars. George Geis ran a logging outfit and Ted worked for him quite a few times. Ted had a voice that kind of crackled and George got so he could imitate Ted pretty good when telling a Ted story. One time Ted got put in the “clinker” and called George to bail him out. George went over to Grangeville to bail Teddy out the next morning. Which he did and when they left town to head home George asked Teddy why he was being so quiet. Ted looked over at George and finally said, “George it was terrible – just terrible.” George asked “What was terrible?” Ted replied, “You just can’t imagine when they put me in there last night and swung the door shut. It just went clank! That sound of the door closing was plain terrible!”
Another time when George and Ted were out logging on a hot day it came time for lunch and George shut the outfit down and went over to where Ted had shut off his saw and dropped down in his tracks right out in the sun. Teddy was holding a handful of dimes – looked up at George and said “Sure was a good deal last night.” George asked “What was?” Ted said, “Them guys at the Royale Room had two drinks for a dollar – I sure made a good deal.”
Having Ted and Mable here in our area, along with all the others was a good deal for all of us.

Several more of the vintage homes in town that have been around for 100 years or more. From top down are the old Carl Reuter home, the Joyce Lorentz home, the first Herman Seubert home and the first Ben Engel home. Photos taken by Don Hoene.

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522


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503 King St.
P.O. Box 157
Cottonwood, ID 83522-0157
Fax 208-962-7131
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