By Richard Beene
How many of you know the history behind the fiberglass "Big Indian" that now stands in front of Ethel's Old Corral on Alfred Harrell Highway? On Tuesday, at 9 a.m., local Realtor Ken Barnes will join me on First Look with Scott Cox (KERN 1180 or video streamed on bakersfield.com) to talk about the history of the statue. It turns out the Barnes family brought the Indian to town in 1965 to promote their tire store that was located on the Garces Circle. The original price: just $1,400. On some weekends, teenagers would drive by and fill it with arrows as a kind of rite of adolescent passage. Call in at (661) 842-5376 to share your memories.
There has been a lot of talk on this blog speculating if there were two locations for the old Blackboard bar, birthplace of the Bakersfield Sound. Charlie Duran says back in 1953, he worked at Wayne's Dairy up the street and as far as he knows, there was only one location for the honky tonk. "On the south across the street from the cafe side of the building was the Hammaroph Hotel," he told me. "Farther south near the train overpass was the Tower Motel that had weekly rates. I and my milkmen pals used to enjoy going to the Blackboard to down a few cool beers while playing poker dice... Little did we know we were listening to the invention of the Bakersfield Sound."
Al Caetano and his pals always have lunch on the first Monday of the month as a way to network and stay in touch. What happened last week at La Mina at the corner of Brimhall and Coffee roads was a pleasant surprise. "The five of us were sitting at a table near the buffet and across from us, in a booth, was a 'young' fellow with two ladies. Since they were in front of me, I glanced at them but didn't recognize any of them. After they had left, a La Mina employee came to our table and said that the gentleman had picked up our check, treating us to lunch. I've heard about this happening, but this had never happened to any of us. The man was gone before we had a chance to thank him, and I'm guessing that was on purpose. When we asked the waiter, he said that the gentleman was a regular customer and that he just wanted to do something nice. It was certainly a nice gesture and I'm sure that sometime in the future each of us will do the same."
Hats off to Anthony Wonderly, a graduate of Garces Memorial High School, who was honored this week in Fort Worth, TX., as one of the 'Forty under Forty.' Wonderly has emerged as a leader and principal of Olympus Property, along with his brother, Chandler Wonderly. Anthony was recognized as one of the Elite 40 at an awards ceremony held by the Fort Worth Business Press, as well as featured in their May magazine. He is currently serving as the president of the Tarrant County Apartment Association. He graduated from UT Arlington with a communication and business double major, and along with his wife and children, calls Texas his home. His parents Bill and Avon Wonderly of Bakersfield couldn't be prouder.
From Dixie Crane: "You might be a Bakersfield old timer if you remember the Green Grasshopper Teenage Night Club (no one over 20 allowed). It was located on 18th Street right in front of the canal. Before that, it was a cola bottling plant."