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Ardath Loosli Peterson

Interviewed by: Adam Christensen

00:00 / 34:39



May 20, 2010 Thursday

Interviewee: Ardath Loosli Peterson, 472 N. 700 E. Morgan, Utah

Interviewer: Adam Christensen, Weber State college student

Subject: Como Springs Resort

Transcriber: Cissy Toone

Edited by: Linda H. Smith

Adam Christensen: How were you connected to Como? Was it parents went there? Did you have a job there?

Ardath Peterson: I worked there; I worked there in the hamburger stand. That was not the main thing; it was just something to do in the summer. As soon as you got your house work done you grabbed your swimming suit and towel and you headed for Como for something to do. It’s just where everyone kind of ran together?

Adam: So everybody went?

Ardath: Yes, and then I did work. I worked for Nola [Sommers] and Leone [Heiner],  both of them; especially during the holidays. During the week there was not that much to do, but sometimes on the weekends, and then on the holiday times because it was packed; a lot of people.

Adam: You say you worked in the hamburger stand. What did you do?

Ardath: Well, sometimes I waited on them to find out what they wanted and then call it back. Sometimes I did the actual cooking. Sometimes I was the waitress to furnish what they were asking for. It was fun.

Adam: Was it a fun job?

Ardath: Yes, it was fun; I guess that’s why we all collected at Como because it was fun. It was just a fun place to be around everybody. It was just fun.

Adam: Why?

Ardath: Well, I don’t know; I look now and remember taking my kids to Lagoon and we watched them like hawks. There was always that stress. For a few minutes, I lost one of my kids and I panicked because this was when everyone was taking children. There wasn’t that up there; there was no stress. It was just a happy time because you could visit. You could go up, I would say the fourth or fifth grade. We just went, no parents, nothing. We just headed for Como. It was safe; it was a safe environment.

Adam: Around what years did you go up there?

Ardath: Let’s see Adam, I’ve got to go back. I graduated in forty-seven so it’s got to be well, it was when the war hit, so it’s got to be in the early forties. [1940's]

Adam: That was when you spent your time up there?

Ardath: Yes, all the time up there.

Adam: What do you think attracted people there?

Ardath: I would have to almost say the atmosphere. This valley is gorgeous. I would say a lot was the atmosphere and there were a lot of things to do. You could skate, you could bowl, and there was good food. Then there was the train around the lake. There was the merry-go-round; so there were things to do and it was reasonably priced. Families could go together because it was reasonably priced and it was easy to get to.

Adam: I haven't interviewed anyone who worked with the restaurant and café. What kind of food did they...

Ardath: I didn't really work in the café, it was the hamburger stand. What kind of food did they serve? I do know there…steaks. A lot of people would come to Morgan for one of Rex [Heiner’s] steaks; it was a melt in your mouth. It was a steak dinner, so you had your potato, and sometimes the gravy, and the salad. A lot of the food was just plain old homemade. Leone [Heiner] made the best onion rings you ever tasted. The food was very good, so I think a lot of them came because of the food.

Adam: What are some of the day-to-day events that went on? If I went up there today what would I see?

Ardath: You would see the kids either skating or on the train or on the little merry-go-round or swimming; mostly swimming. On the weekends you would see the skating rink was closed down and their dances; every weekend there was dances. I even let my kids go up there to dance because I knew they were safe. There was that, and then there was the bowling; people could bowl. I just think it was maybe the comradery. On the weekends, I don't know if anyone has told you, the band would perform. On Sunday’s we would do a band concert.

Adam: I’ve heard that. Was it behind the pool?

Ardath: Yes, well it was more off to the side, off to the house. It was in that little grove of trees there. Because of doing that we [could] swim any time we wanted to swim, except on weekends and holidays. So another reason while we were up there; we were up there every day of the week.

Adam: You were in the band?

Ardath: I was in the band, and we played well. People didn’t just walk by; they would take a seat, sit down, and listen.

Adam: What kind of songs did you play?

Ardath: Oh, I can’t remember. I played the piccolo, but I can’t remember exactly what music we played; just the music of the times.

Adam: Would you say there were more local people there who came or out-of-town or did you notice?

Ardath: I would say both; weekends a lot of out-of-town people, during the week mostly towns people. The town’s people supported Como. Everyone went; they supported Como. On weekends we had a lot of out of towns and a lot of vacationers. They used to have little cabins and a lot of people would come spend either the weekend or the week; a lot of vacationer’s. And you know, having to do with the mineral water, I think a lot of the people thought it had healing purposes.

Adam: So did that have a big run, like the mineral water, was that a big attraction?

Ardath: It was labeled their mineral water; the only thing is I thought, "Oh, this smells like rotten eggs.' Sometimes when you would get out I would think, "Oh, this smells like rotten eggs." When we would have friends come up they would say, "What’s that smell?" But we were used to it. So it's just like the mink; a few come and smell mink, but I don't smell mink, they are in our back door yard.

Adam: I haven’t had a lot of people tell me about the smell.

Ardath: There was a definite smell from the water, especially when they had the indoor pool, not so much the outdoor pool. When they had the indoor pool, you could definitely smell the mineral water. Every time I go up there and see what’s happened to it, I could cry.

Adam: Yes, there is nothing there anymore.

Ardath: I feel so bad!

Adam: Yes, it’s too bad. Tell me about some of the events or community activities; things that you remember happening there.

Ardath: Okay, off behind the ball park---well there used to be kind of a pavilion off to the side too that they used to hold family reunions and things, just off from where the restaurant was. Out behind was an area; a ball park and picnic area for mutual, and a lot of church activities were spent up there picnicking, playing ball, swimming, any of those activities. Como was used.

Adam: I have got online and read some of the old newspaper articles back from in the forties and late thirties. It even talks about young women’s groups, and mutual groups that came up from Centerville and spent the night.

Ardath:  They did, a lot of them.

Adam: Did you ever go up there for the fourth of July? Do you remember the fourth of July up there?

Ardath: Not really, I will tell you why. When I was growing up my parents, we went to Yellowstone over the Fourth of July weekend, so I didn’t really spend a lot of time there during the fourth of July.

Adam: Any other kind of events that you can remember, besides mutual?

Ardath: No, I can’t; a lot of church activities, a lot of groups and, family reunions.

Adam: I met with Paul Warner the other day. He said the church and the community was like all one, one big thing.

Ardath: You’re right.

Adam: Why do you think Como was so popular? In its time, I have heard it rivaled Lagoon.

Ardath: Oh yes, it was the big thing. I think, going back again; I think a lot of it had to do with the atmosphere. A lot of it had to do with the safety and the beauty of this valley. If you’re in Ogden, it was getting away, but it wasn’t getting away so far, but it was still getting away. You know, people didn’t have a lot of money to spend on activities, and it was reasonable, economic. Even the Heiner's helped make it such a “come and enjoy place.”

Adam: What was it like during the winter?

Ardath: We didn’t swim, we did roller skating mostly and bowling. The hamburger place was closed. The only thing that was open was the restaurant.

Adam: Did it still do pretty well, even in the winter?

Ardath: Oh yes, on weekends there a lot of people. Even during the week days you liked to go up for lunch; there was a bunch.

Adam: Did the schools do anything there, besides the band?

Ardath: I can’t really remember any school activities. It seems like we went up for a seminary party, but I really can’t remember the schools going up for any activities, other than the seminary.

Adam: What are some of the reasons Como is not here anymore?

Ardath: Grandma Heiner died; that’s my thinking. At one time, they used to have a boat there, and it wasn’t commercialized. You were just free to go; no one was standing there like at Lagoon. So you could swim, you could skate, you could bowl, you could go around the river (lake) on the boat. The boat wasn't always available. Coming back to winter, another thing we did a lot; the lake froze over and we ice skated on the lake. A lot of ice skating on the lake.

Adam: During the summer did you have to pay just to get into the resort?

Ardath: They once put up a gate-fee to come but, it didn’t used to be. You just paid if you wanted to go skating, it seems like it was only a dollar. Then you paid if you wanted to go swimming; so each thing was a different pay. So it wasn’t like an all-day ticket except, I am not so sure that those who came on their little vacations, it wasn’t an included price that they could do whatever they wanted during that stay, I think.

Adam: During the winter did you have to pay to go ice skating?

Ardath: Oh, no. That was just if you wanted to go, you were welcome to go.

Ardath: Oh, one other thing too; they had in the roller skating thing, they had kind of a little confectionary, but not the hamburgers and things; but like cookies and drinks, and some ice cream and things. So, if you skated around a lot and you were thirsty you could go buy you a drink and sit down.

Adam: What was your favorite activity to do up there?

Ardath: Well, I liked them all, even the merry-go-round. It was fun, even the little train ride we rode around the track. It was fun.

Adam: Do you know how long that train was?

Ardath: You know, I can’t remember. DeOrr, [Peterson] and I was talking about that the other day. We both tried and can’t remember how long the train went.

Adam: I think Lyle Porter; because I talked with him, he told me but I can’t remember right now.

Ardath: Have you talked to Hal B. Heiner?

Adam: Everybody has told me---I’ve got his name on a list but he was out of town for a while.

Ardath: Oh, you will have to ask him, and I’m not so sure that he hasn’t got a part of that train. You can ask him, but I’m not so sure.

Adam: There are some pictures of it; the Historical Society has some cool pictures of it.

Ardath: It was neat.

Adam: About how many cars did it have on it, the engine, and then how many?

Ardath: Oh, I don’t know, I'm sure at least five; four or five, I would say.

Adam: Did you ever stay in the cabins?

Ardath: No, I didn’t need to; I just jumped on the bike. The duplex up there is where I lived. [331 N. 700 E.] I jumped on the bike and called Joann, and all the rest of them, and we’d all head out.

Adam: Ride your bike then?

Ardath: Riding our bikes there.

Adam: Paul Warner, he told me the other day that they used to just thumb a ride from Mt. Green.

Ardath: Yes, either that or catch the bus; yes, they would.

Ardath: You know I really don’t think there were any drowning's there. Has anyone said that there was?

Adam: I’ve heard that there were a couple. Lyle Porter was trying to tell me, but he couldn’t remember exactly who it was. But I have heard there were, I think, around two; one of them might have been in the river.

Ardath: I was going to say, because I can’t remember. Where the deep water was there was a chained fence, and all the way over to that chained fence, you could walk. Florence and I were going over there, and she was scared to death of water, and she was just clinging right to me. Just before you got to the little chain fence, there was a dip, a little dip. Well, if you get into the dip your head was below the water. Well, I thought I could walk to there and feel, then I could reach across and grab the chain; well, that didn’t happen. We got to the ditch, we went under, and of course she fought me and fought me and every time I would come up trying to holler for help people thought we were playing. They just thought we were playing around. Until, I don’t know who he was, but some gentleman decided that it wasn’t a play thing, that it was a serious situation. It was serious, because when he pulled me out, I remember him grabbing me and that’s all I remember until they were trying to push the water out.

Adam: Wow, close call!

Ardath: That was scary, and the thing of it is, Florence’s head was above because she could, she put her head up because she could push up from my shoulders.

Adam: So she was holding you under.

Ardath: She was holding me under. The other thing of it is the house over there; they just made a bed, laid me on the couch, and I spent a good part of the afternoon on the couch. Then it got night. I jumped on my bike and went home. I told my mother what happened and she about had a heart attack.

Adam: Do you have any memories of roller skating?

Ardath: Yes, we roller skated a lot.

Adam: What did you like about that?

Ardath: Well, I don’t know. I always liked to either ice skate or roller skate. We used to roller skate a lot even up and down this side walk out here. We would do a lot of roller skating; it was just fun. It was kind of neat because ours were the clamp on, tighten up with a key; where up there you got to put a shoe on so, it fits you better. Some of us got pretty good; we could turn circles and things. It was fun.

Adam: I’ve heard that there were little game stands where the kids could play games. There was one where they had to crank a thing to race a horse around; do you remember any of that? There was a beano stand.

Ardath: I remember that, but I can’t remember the horse.

Adam: Did you ever play beano?

Ardath: No, I don’t think so.

Adam: Was it just like bingo?

Ardath: Yes.

Ardath: Sometimes when they had activities there were games for small children, the fishing thing. As I remember, I don’t think it was an everyday thing, but I can’t remember for sure.

Adam: Any other stories you can tell me of maybe experiences you had there?

Ardath: Well, I guess I can tell you now, it’s all over and they can’t do anything about it. Over at the deep end, I was a pretty good swimmer, I liked to swim. They had like a little shed at the end where you could sit and wait to get on the diving board or whatever. So some of us decided that we would distract the Heiner's and we found a way we could crawl up onto the shed. They’d give the okay, wave of the hand, then we’d jump into the water.

Adam: Off the shed?

Ardath: Off the shed. It was quite a ways up; it was fun as we got daring. The slippery- slide was a fun slide. It was kind of divided off into the slide area where they had the swimming pool, then the main swimming pool. At one time, when the sand was around the swimming pool, they used to have a child's pool, you know, kind of a wading pool there for children. It used to get sandy, when the sand was around. Not so much out in the middle ,but around the edges. People, they would go and swim, then get out and lay on the sand, and then they would jump back in; so it got kind of sandy. I think that’s when they changed it to cement, because I think the Health Department said they had to. Then I remember, sometimes at night we would climb the fence and go swimming. I shouldn’t be telling you all these things.

Adam: I won’t turn you in. I can’t think of a whole lot more questions.

Ardath: I can’t think of anything either, except it was just a fun, clean place to be. It was a good hangout for teenagers.

Adam: Do you think a place like that would be successful in Morgan today?

Ardath:  I don’t know, but I was really in favor of the sports. I think Morgan’s getting big enough; as I’ve gone around and watched the little kids that are out of Morgan, and watched their ball games, and I see these lovely rec. places. Not right now with the economy, but I think someday Morgan needs to have a rec. center. It needs to have a swimming pool in it. I know our pool isn’t open to the public, it never has been. We just did not want the responsibility. Scouts and things like that have come in, and I think that’s the way the majority of the pools are. I feel bad and I feel guilty, but that’s the way it had to be.

Adam: I’ve wondered if they will do something. I know when I was in school I would have loved having a place that we could go and hang out and stuff like that.

Ardath: And we keep our kids here; we keep them here. I was really disappointed when I heard that it had been vetoed. You know what’s sad about all this, Adam, is too many of us who are in favor of things sit home thinking it’s going to be okay. Those who are against it, even if it’s a handful, and they can make the difference. I think we’ve got to stop being passive. We need to get in there. It isn’t good to be an immediate thing; it’s something that’s down the road. At least it needs to be looked at and thought about. Why take our kids down to the Dee Events Center and all these places? Why don’t we have our own place? I don’t like sending kids out of town. I do not like it at all. I’m an old traditionalist.

Adam: Well, I like staying here too when there was stuff to do.

Adam: Do you remember when Como closed?

Ardath: You know what, I have been trying to think of that all day long. I talked to Jace [Sargent] today, and Jace remembers going to Como. No one’s told you, Lyle didn’t tell you when it closed up?

Adam: I know it closed officially, I think it closed in like 1985. I think some other parts had closed before that and they had a little restaurant. I remember going to a restaurant up there.

Ardath: Yes, it stayed open for a long time. Matter of fact, it stayed open until Rex [Heiner] died. I can’t remember when Rex died. It stayed open.

Adam: I remember going to that with my family to get pizza and stuff.

Adam: What are your feelings that it has closed?

Ardath: I cried. I just thought it was so sad that it wasn’t going to be here. And, you know, we really did not get an influx of people who would cause trouble; we really did not get that. I felt really bad. I kind of felt like my kids were going to be cheated. They couldn’t have what I’ve had. I was trying to remember when it closed officially and I couldn’t remember.

Adam: I think it was in 1985 when it officially closed down.

Ardath: That had to be the restaurant. When did the rest of it, the swimming pool and all that? That’s got to be before '85.

Adam: I can’t remember; I have it in my notes, but I can’t recall it off the top of my head. It was right when I was born that it closed.

Ardath: Yes, it’s got to be before '85 because the skating rink has been gone for a long time.

Adam: Yes, that was turned into water bottling.

Ardath: I think now whoever owns it is probably just using it as a write off because I hear he has quite a bit of boo coo bucks.

Adam: Did you ever have any of the water. [Annie Heiner bottled water]

Ardath: I tasted it once.

Adam: The bottled water, was it good?

Ardath: No, I didn’t like it; now, Janet Randall’s dad, he just swore by it. He used to drink a lot of it before he passed away. I tasted it once; just a swallow and I didn’t like it. I thought, “They’ve got to do something different than this."

Adam: They used to raise fish; tropical fish before they took the pools. The pools aren't even there, the lake’s still there. I saw someone fishing in it the other day. I don’t know if there’s still fish in it or not. I didn’t see him catch anything, but he was sitting there with his pole in the water.

Ardath: I had forgotten about the fish until you mentioned them.

Adam: Is there anything else you can think of?

Ardath: I can’t think of anything else right now. I know a lot of people used to come up and would sit in the indoor pool. They thought, for therapeutic, a lot of people thought it helped; I remember that.

(Side 2)

Adam: Did you notice, did the cabins get used a lot?

Ardath: Early on they did. And then they tried to make a trailer park too, but they really were not well kept up. They tore some of the old ones down and built some new ones along the front edge. I don’t think they were used, not like they had hoped, now that’s my thinking.

Adam: What about the motel?

Ardath: About the same, they were used a bit, but I don’t think they did what they were hoping.

Adam: Were the rooms nice in that motel?

Ardath: I don’t know. I don’t think I was ever in them. I was in one of the old ones, and it was just like a bed and that’s it; and you had to go out to go to the bathroom.

Adam: Do you remember during the war, how did Como do?

Ardath: That why I was thinking it closed earlier, because it slowed down. It definitely slowed down. We still always went up as a family. It did slow down a bit, and a lot of it was because you had gas stamps, and you had to really choose where you were going to go for your gas stamps. Unless you were lucky enough to be a farmer, and you happened to have a little extra. I would say more local than it was people from outside. [WWII war era]

Adam: Okay, that’s all the questions I can think of. Anything else you can think of? Any other experiences you remember having up there?

Ardath: No, I can’t remember anything. I remember the rickety bridge, that’s still rickety. I remember when you wanted to cross there you had to make sure your bike was on the raised part of the track going across because if you happened to weave a little bit and get it off, you were doomed to crash.

Adam: One thing I just thought of, a lot of people were baptized up there in the pool. Were you baptized there?

Ardath: No, I was baptized in Idaho. We moved here when I was in the fourth grade.

Adam: Did you remember any services there?

Ardath: No, and I can’t remember ever being invited to go to see one because the old North Morgan [LDS] church had a font, and the majority went there.

Adam: Okay, so maybe that was earlier.

Adam: Alright, I think that’s about it.

Ardath: It’s been fun; it’s been fun to go back down memory lane. I was so excited when you said you were going to do something about it.

(End of recording on side 2)

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