Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Placerville Cigar Store Indians

Good morning. Gold Country Sister Tina checking in again, because it's Wednesday and it's my turn. I am going to show you a couple of photos of some Cigar Store Indians which used to be fixtures in Placerville, California before they became politically incorrect and were removed to who knows where. I liked them and I miss them. Luckily I liked them enough to have my picture taken with them. I will also share a few photos of Placerville as it was in 1969.
This is Main Street Placerville looking North in 1969. On the right you can see the big blue bell which was the signage for the Blue Bell Cafe and the Blue Bell Bar. The bar was one of the places which had Cigar Store Indians in front. If I remember right, there was an Indian chief and also an Indian squaw, although I don't have a photo of her. The sign is now the property of the El Dorado County Museum.
This photo is also from 1969 and is of the window of the Round Tent Bar. They filled their windows with interesting old gambling items, and also a lot of Chinese gambling items. The bar is closed now, and hopefully the old items have been saved somewhere. Placerville used to be full of bars, but over the years they have all gotten into trouble, either money trouble or because of too many fights there, or other various reasons, and most of the old ones are closed down now.
This is the Indian chief cigar store figure that stood in front of the Blue Bell Bar. You can see to the left a slight darkened area which is the squaw that I didn't take a photo of. I have looked through all my photos and postcards of Placerville, but this is the only one I have showing the Indian, and it was taken in October 1969. He was such a fixture it was hard to imagine he wouldn't always be here. I think he looks happy.
This is the Cigar Store Indian which stood for years in front of Raymond's Liquor Store on Broadway in Placerville. This photo was taken in 1972. Raymond's is still there, but no Indian. I do not remember when he disappeared. I hope he found a good new home. (And, yes, that is me on the right in both photos.)
This is the El Dorado County Courthouse in October 1969. It was closed for a while due to earthquake damage and worries, but has been in use for many years since. It actually sits right on an earthquake fault which runs north down Bedford Avenue and south to Diamond Springs. I used to live on Bedford, worked at the Courthouse, and also lived on the fault in Diamond Springs, so I used to think if there was an earthquake I didn't stand a chance. We never had the big one, though I've felt my share of smaller ones.
My last photo is Dillinger's Furniture on Main Street. My Dad worked there for many years, and was working there when I took this photo in October 1969. Hopefully they fixed their signage! Just this fall Mrs. Wentworth, the owner passed away, although Dillinger's has been closed for a long time. It is now where the Tom Kinkade gallery is located.
Is there anyone else out there with memories of Cigar Store Indians? I would like to hear about them. Apparently they got their start in Europe in the 17th century, when the American Indians brought tobacco to the notice of the Europeans.


Heidi Ann said...

Tina - Reading your posts is always like a wonderful little surprise treat for me! You have to know that I LOVED this one!! Great post!

yosemite faith said...

i agree with heidi - great post and loved the photos. i graduated from high school in 1969. ahh the memories.

Viewliner Ltd. said...

Boy, if this isn't true Americana I don't know what is. Great post. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Jennifer D said...

Gold Country Girls have so much style. I love those photos.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

Awesome poncho and halter tops!

La Mode Feminine said...

I just happened upon your blog and I'm in love!!!! I enjoyed the vintage photos in this post so much! My sister and I have recently been organizing all of our parents old photos, and seeing this post just warmed my heart! I hope you have a wonderful Holiday season!!