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Alfred Turner

Interviewed by: Adam Christensen

00:00 / 34:22



Interviewee: Alfred Turner

Interviewer: Adam Christensen (student)

Subject: Como Springs Resort Experiences

April 12, 2010

Transcriber: Cissy Toone

Edited by: Linda H. Smith

Adam Christensen: My name is Adam Christensen. I’m visiting with Alfred Turner and we just finished looking through one of his grandfather's journals. His name was Charles Turner. August 24, 1884 entry talks about visiting Lake Como and one particular time when he took his family and they bathed there in the water at Lake Como.

In September of 1884, he talks about getting his work done in the morning then going to help prepare, and get a band ready for a party at Como. Then later he took his family there to hear the band, and for the party. We will now continue on with the interview and I will ask Alfred a few questions.

AC: How were you connected to Como? Did your family visit? Did you work there?

Alfred Turner: I did a little work there but mostly I was just there for entertainment. By the way, you didn’t mention him baptizing ________________.

AC: Oh yeah, also in the journal he [Charles Turner] did some baptizing there because he was the bishop in the Morgan ward. He did baptisms at Lake Como.

AF: He baptized couples before they went to the temple to be married.

AC: Okay, so he baptized couples before they went to the temple to be married. Sorry I forgot about that. So you basically went there for entertainment?

AF: Yes, the first I remember going there when I was boy in about 1920. I was about eight or nine years old. I went there to fish. There were hundreds of little sun fish about three inches long. A big one would be four inches long. ______________________ a string and a bent pin to catch them.

AC: For a hook?

AT: There were so many that any bait you’d put on, bread, worms, or anything you could always catch a few.

AT: Next in 1924 when I was about ten or eleven years old (I was born in 1914) all the Scouts… I don’t know if it was in the County or just the Morgan Ward. I imagine it was the County because there was a lot of us, hiked up to Como Peak just behind Como, that sharp peak.

AC: Uh huh, that peak.

AT: There was a flag pole up there and we’d raise the flag at day light and come back down to Como and build fires and cook breakfast. It was before I was in Scouts but I went along with my older brother. That was ______________________________.

The Heiner family owned Como and the Como flats up above Como, that long strip of ground. They paved the road that goes to Como, in the foothill.

AC: Okay.

AT: And they pumped water out of the lower end of the lake up and into the ditch that flowed water to all that.

AC: For farming?

AT: Yeah, they raised grain, hay, and one year I remember they raised all them peas.

AC: Oh really?

AT: Some of the farmers had to help __________ and the Heiners hired them to haul the peas to the canning factory. Did you get the date they built the swimming pool?

AC: I have it, what do you have?

AT: I don’t have it.

AC: Oh, I have it in a book.

AT: Okay, you got that?

AC: Yeah.

AT: ________________ they’d roller skate in the day time and dance at night. There was a fox farm; I guess they told you about that.

AC: Yeah, there was a fox farm there.

AT: Yeah, they used to have dances every Saturday and on Holiday’s. When the 4thof July fell on Sunday they would dance Saturday night up until midnight, then quit and start again at midnight Sunday and dance for about three hours. They called it a Midnight Frolic.

AC: A Midnight Frolic huh?

AT: Yeah. Did they tell you about the band ________?

AC: I haven’t heard a whole lot about the band.

AT: They used to play. There were two heavy cables across and little cables down to the walkway with boards across this way and you would get swinging.

AC: Tt wasn’t very stable huh?

AT: It was just a swinging bridge all the way across the river on the other side of the car bridge. The car bridge was too narrow for people to walk so they had this for people.

AC: They made the foot bridge.

AT: Did they tell you about the fireworks?

AC: I haven’t had a whole lot of people tell me about the fireworks.

AT: They used to, on the 4th of July and maybe the 24th too, they’d set them up above the road on the hill side, way above the road. And they’d put up a _________ and the flag and a lot of others all around and ____________by the lake.

AC: So you could set there on the Lake shore and watch the fireworks?

AT: Yeah, about every year the fireworks would set the June grass on fire. They’d set off a few fireworks, then you’d see them around fighting the fire. Up there you could see them fighting the fire then they’d set off some more.

AC: Then set off some more fireworks after putting the fire out.

AT: After they’d get it put out they’d set off more and start some more fires.

They had a bingo stand.

AC: A bingo stand, yeah.

AT: Did they tell you about that?

AC: Uh huh, Dean Rock shared about that because I think his dad used to run it.

AT: No, it wasn’t his dad; I don’t think.

AC: Was it his grandpa?

AT: Well, I don’t think the guy who ran it ever married.

AC: Oh.

AT: They called him Spike Harding.

AC: Okay yeah, that’s right.

AT: I don’t know what Dean’s…

AC: I can’t remember it was a couple of weeks ago that I interviewed him. Spike Harding, I’ve heard that name a few times.

AT: Yeah, he used to run the Bingo stand. They had a merry go round. They had a boat ride around the big lake, the swimming pool; below that and then a bigger lake. They had a restaurant out over that lake too, did they mention that?

AC: Lyle [Porter] talked a little about that, what do you [know]?

AT: Well, that time it was the depression and they didn’t have much money to do repairs and _________. Money was real scarce so I only ate in there a time or two. I think we had a group of us that went there once. Then the first dance hall caved in from the snow one winter and they rebuilt it. The first one ran east and west, and when they rebuilt it they built it out to the west and bigger; long way it was east and west. The first one was north and south. They had the dance hall then roller skating in the day time. I went to as many dances as I could afford to. They had the cabins. Have they told you about them little cabins …

AC: Yeah.

AT: … on the other side of the ditch and the river? Girls would come up from the other valley and go to the dance. I’d dance with them and then walk them home; they would call it hanging out. We’d fool around a little bit at their cabins.

AC: Okay.

AT: The first dance hall had big fireplaces on each end built of rock. I think it was the year I was a senior, at that time it was the middle of the depression and the superintendent decided that… Well, before that we had the Junior Prom with a decorated floor in the gym then Senior Hop was a few weeks later. The seniors had a dance and the superintendent decided we couldn’t afford to have the Senior Hop. So the Doctor at the time, Dr. High sponsored it and paid for the orchestra, I think; so we could have a Senior Hop.

AC: At Como?

AT: At Como in the dance hall. They had big fires on each end and it was a formal dance. They had the long formal dresses and their best suits on.

AC: Do you know what year that was?

AT: It would be about 1932, the year I graduated.

AC: Wow.

AT: U’Lalia Heiner was the daughter of all the Heiners that owned it and she had a very frilly dress on and I was double dating with her boyfriend and the girl I was taking out at the time. You would dance and then go to either end in between dances to get a little bit warm.

AC: Yeah.

AT: It was early in the spring, it was a little cool. She backed up toward the fire and I happened to look back. I was standing right to the side of her and the draft from the fire went up the chimney and took her dress up. Just over the fire up toward the chimney and I just happened to look back, run my hand down and shoved her away from it. It scorched her dress a little bit.

AC: It just scorched her dress huh?

AT: It didn’t catch fire, it was pretty close but I happened to look at the right time.

AC: Yeah.

AT: It got a little fired.

AC: What was her name?

AT: U’Lalia Heiner, she was Sylvester’s daughter.

AC: Huh, that’s funny.

AT: That’s about all I have.

AC: Okay, maybe I can ask a few more questions. If you were to go up there on a random day what would see at Como?

AT: Well, there would be swimming; they had swimming all the time, roller skating I think pert near every day, and dances were on Saturday nights.

AC: Was it [Como] busy usually?

AT: What?

AC: Was it usually pretty busy, a lot of people?

AT: It was real crowded on Saturdays, Sunday, and the Holidays but there were just a few during the week.

AC: I’ve kind of learned that there were a few different special events and activities held there. Do you recall any and what were they?

AT: Well, just Holiday’s, Saturday’s, and Sunday’s, I don’t remember many except the Scouting …

AC: The Scouting…

AT: … thing we had, that was before it was developed.

AC: Before it was a big resort?

AT: It was a gathering place for a lot of people from the other valley.

AC: Okay.

AT: The cabins, I know they were full on weekends and probably some during the day.

AC: Okay, why do you think Como Springs was a popular resort?

AT: Well, it was the warm springs that smelt like sulfur (sulfur springs) and it was just built up. They had it really nice for family reunions and things like that. They had the big bowery way up the other end, out in the trees, that people could hold their whole family. They had tables in there. It was pretty good sized bowery. Then I guess, Lagoon and other places got more popular and they let it run down. I think they put the money in their pocket instead of putting it into the resort. Then the ____________________ too small for ______ between the river and __________ not enough room for very much more than they had.

AC: Yeah, they couldn’t really expand a lot more to keep up with other places huh, that’s true I never thought of that.

AC: Do you have any special memories of Como that you personally experienced there?

AT: Well, just…

AC: You said the Scouting thing.

AT: That was the first, but during December I was up there about every week, every Sunday, I had to work on the farm on Saturday’s. We went to church then spent time up there with other boyfriends. It was a place that whenever I could afford it we could meet there. My wife used to come once in awhile from the other valley. She was from Weber, out west of the lake. She’d come out here to dance. We both liked to dance a lot. That would be an entertainment.

AC: The dancing?

AT: Dancing.

AC: Is that how you met your wife at Como?

AT: No, I met her up to Logan at 4H Club training.

AC: Oh.

AT: ___________ and a few boys and girls from all the counties went there for 4H Club Leadership training, and I met her up there.

AC: Then you would just meet at Como for dancing huh?

AT: Yeah, we dated for two or three years during the depression.

AC: Yeah.

AT: It was really hard to get ready to get married.

AC: Yeah.

AT: I did work up there when they were rebuilding the dance hall and the guy overseeing it was _______________ and he was the head contractor/carpenter. The Heiners owned the Ford dealership and ______________ bought a Ford, a 1930 model A Ford. I was having a hard time paying for it and that worked out so the payments on that [Como job] helped make the car payment. __________ drive the nails to put in the sub floor __________.

AC: You helped build the dance hall huh?

AT: Yeah.

AC: Rebuild it, okay. I was going to ask you what your favorite attraction was up there but I’m guessing it was the dancing.

AT: Yeah, that was the main thing. I couldn’t afford to swim very much.

AC: Yeah. What was it like up there during the depression, was it slow?

AT: Well, yeah but then things weren’t too expensive. A hamburger was ten-cents, a bottle of soda water, (it was all in bottles and they’d have these tubs of ice) I think they were ten-cents. Maybe they’d charge you ten-cents then give you a nickel if you turned the bottle back in.

AC: Oh really?

AT: I know there was a refund on the bottle but I’m not sure about the price now, that’s been a long time ago.

AC: Yeah, a little bit.

AT: They are a dollar and five cents now.

AC: Wow! I'm kind of curious because I haven’t had a whole lot of people talk to me about the resort during the depression. Did you notice any setbacks for the resort during the depression? Do you know if they suffered very much from it?

AT: Well, they seemed to be doing real good.

AC: Really.

AT: Yeah.

AC: Why do you think that was?

AT: Well, people could go up there and not have to spend very much. I think to dance it was about fifty to seventy-five cents. Swimming, and to rent a suit was I think… I better not say, I’m thinking it was fifty-cents and if you rented a suit it was seventy-five.

AC: Yeah, not sure.

AT: I don’t remember how much for roller skating, in the afternoon it was different. They had roller skating during the week and _______ afternoons on Sunday’s. You rented the roller skates. They was not too expensive. For a few dollars they could spend a day.

AC: That’s a pretty inexpensive get away, inexpensive vacation huh.

AT: Yeah.

AC: Anything else you can think of?

AT: No, not right now. You’ve got about the bowling alley and the restaurant ________ don’t you?

AC: Yeah, I’ve heard about it. I read a little in a book about it. Did you ever go there?

AT: I bowled there once.

AC: Really?

AT: My brother in law and his wife came up and they were bowlers. We went up and bowled once with them. I only bowled one game, I couldn’t afford it.

AC: Yeah.

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