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By Dazzlin' Dallas Morley
from 'Cowboy Up', May, 1998
OVERHEARD: A conversation as to why our dear old "Red Dog Saloon" has never been opened up again. The one excuse was it would be too costly to bring it up to all the utility "CODES". Then it was explained that it could not EVER open because it is too close to the church across the street. Now that is the most ridiculous reason I have ever heard of! I can understand that law being passed in the big cities, where there is dope and killings, and all kinds of crime in the bars, but not here!
In 1964, our wonderful Red Dog WAS the church!
All the week, and weekend activities consisted of mock shoot outs, trials, hangins', rodeos, and nightly singing and dancing to my honky-tonk piano, the "Deacon's" guitar and bass fiddle, and just plain FUN. Sunday mornings were an entirely different story.
A long about 9:30 am, you could hear and see the "drifting Deacon" (Robert Mansfield), dressed in a flat crowned, wide brimmed hat and a long-tailed black frock coat, riding up and down Mane Street, astride "Matildy". (the donkey belonging to the printer of the "Jackass Mail"- our newspaper at that time) He would be ringing a large cow bell and calling everyone to come to church. The bar was shut down and no drinks or ashtrays on the tables during the service. After the Saturday night festivities, and me wearing my red satin gown and feathers and playing honky-tonk music, I donned a demure white squaw dress trimmed in gold braid, and played old standard hymns as background music for the sermon. Regardless of hangovers or whatever, EVERYONE in town would show up, and we even had tourists come up from Palm Springs and Los Angeles too. Sometimes it was "standing room only", just to say they had been to church in a saloon. The Deacon preached a lovely non-denominational service that did inspire the gatherings.
A local family, the Doyle's from Cleveland, had five little girls and one little boy named Donny. They were regulars every week. I remember one occasion; the Deacon was carrying on quite a conversation, when little eight year old Donny crept up behind the Deacon and tugged on his coat tails and said in a stage whisper, "You forgot to say "The bar is open!" That prompted quite a few smiles. The bar was opened and we resumed business as usual.
These services were held every Sunday until the big fire of 1964. Some old man had been going around town raving that he didn't approve of any establishments serving "booze" on religious holidays, sooo, the Red Dog burned down on "Good Friday" and the beautiful "Golden Stallion" turned to smoldering ashes early on ' Easter morning.' The paper said, quote "Both fires have been attributed to accidental happenings, by the authorities." I will always believe that they were torched by arsonists!
That put an end to our church services, but there is no reason I can think of that they couldn't be revived and enjoyed with NO LAWS saying they are too close to the little church across the street!
Click on the Images for a Larger View
Way back a while, in Pioneertown
Hitching rails were made of wood-
There was no charge for parking then-
The day of the horse is returning here-
The horses standing patiently-
We loved our town the way it was.
And now that horses have returned,