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Camille Wilde

Interviewed by: Adam Christensen

00:00 / 29:32



Interviewee: Camille Wilde

Interviewer: Adam Christensen (Weber State college student)

Subject: Como Springs Resort

March 27, 2010

Transcriber: Cissy Toone

Edited by: Cheri K. Jensen

Adam Christensen: This is Adam Christensen. I'm going to interview Camille and Reed Wilde at their home in Croydon. The date is Saturday, March 27 [2010] and we will be taking about the Como Springs Resort. What got you to Como, how were you connected [to Como] ?

Camille Wilde: I don’t remember the first time I went to Como. I must have been really young because we used it for picnics, family get-togethers, and swimming. I don’t remember the first time I went but, the Heiner family was operating it at that time. I do remember Mr. Heiner at the gate to make sure you paid your ticket to get in. It was five dollars for a family for the summer, except you couldn’t swim on Sunday’s or holiday’s. So I don’t really remember. I must have been very young.

Then I was baptized in Como and it was cold - May 17, 1936. It was very cold and the Heiner’s built a fire in a big furnace inside the indoor pool [building] and boy, it was cold. Most of us were baptized in Como because there was no font in the churches at that time. Some were baptized in the river and ditches. Even though it was cold, I remember it very well.

As you came into Como from the north you crossed over the Weber River and I’d look down at that river and think, “Oh boy, I’d hate to ever fall in there.” It looked so big. On the other side when you came up into Como there were many cabins. They were nice cabins for summer and a lot of people came there and stayed and just really enjoyed Como. It was so popular, there were always people that we made friends with; it was wonderful.

The water was very good. It had a healing tendency because of the minerals that were in it. If you had a sore and you went swimming at Como, when you got out your sore looked better. It really did. It was very fast. We had a foster brother stay with us. On "M" day he got into some lime on his back somehow and it burned him and he went up every day to dip into that water because it was so healing. His back did heal from some pretty bad burns.

Getting back to when you’d come into Como, there were lots of cabins like I said and people rented them to stay with their families for a few days. Some would stay all summer. When World War II came there were so many people from other states because Utah had so many defense places, the Navy Base, Hill field, and Second Street. There was quite an influx of people that came there.

I took my mother up there to see her aunt who was tending six children, her grandchildren, so their parents could enjoy the summer. Mother told her she was crazy but she had those six children to watch and she cooked for them, and made sure they didn’t stay too long in the pool. It was really nice. Como was popular. The tabernacle Choir went there for a vacation, more than once, they did.

I remember very much the Red Cross coming and they stayed for ten days and taught swimming lessons, that’s how we all learned to swim. They were a lot of fun to talk to too. There were men and women both and they taught us to swim.

As you entered [Como] from the west there were trailers parked. Trailers didn’t look like they do now, they were just make shift little trailers, probably carried their bedding and all. They would stay and there were tables to eat food and places to park your car. There were cars, trucks, make shift campers, and everything you could imagine when you came in from the west.

There were lots of trees but we were always afraid of rattle snakes. I had a friend come here just a few minutes ago, and he said, “Do I remember Como? Yes. He said, “I went into the dressing room" - in those days you just hollered, “Key-Boy” and he’d come and unlock your door for you to go into the little dressing room. And he said sprawled out on the cement was a big rattle snake. And he said, “Do I remember that," he said, “Boy, it scared me!”

All of a sudden winter comes. It starts in the fall and gets cold and there were those people in the cabins. They were not made for winter, but I don’t know whose responsibility it was but they worked on them and kind of winterized them and people stayed. They couldn’t find enough places to stay in Utah at that time that were close to the Defense place where they were working. They were anxious for a job.

In the winter we’d skate on the pond, the Como pond. We had a great time. We’d build a bon fire. No one said we couldn’t. We'd build the bonfire and go skating. It was just wonderful.

There was a big [in door] skating rink and they used it also for a dance hall. I played in an orchestra and they had dances every Saturday night. Then during the day you could roller skate. I never did roller skate because it cost thirty-five cents and I didn’t have the thirty-five cents, but there were a lot of people who were good skaters - good roller skaters. It was fun to go in and watch them.

Taking you back out to the swimming pool - there was an indoor pool, that’s where the baptisms took place, it was a big pool and it was nice to go in there. Then there was a baby pool outside, just a little, not very deep at all with places for mom’s to watch their little kids. Then there was a big pool with seven and one-half feet down at the bottom.

My sister would climb up the stairs, get up on this scaffold, which didn’t look too safe but she'd stand till she got her balance, then jump onto the board. Oh, she was a pretty diver, she could do the swan dive and she was a good swimmer. A lot of people watched her. I often think if she would have had training and if there had been Olympics - I don’t think there were any Olympics, if so we didn’t know of them. People really watched her. She was a beautiful diver.

Like I said we were baptized there. They would dam off a little bit of the water from the pool inside and build that big fire. We had to go down some steps and then we were baptized.

We’d lie out in the sand and that’s where our big mistake came because now more than forties years later we're having cancer burned off our arms and faces. We didn’t know then, but the sun was not too good for you. We’d get sunburned. We’d have to work in the fields in the mornings and if we worked hard hoeing cabbage, potatoes, beats, and all then we could go swimming in the afternoon. And we did - we loved to go swimming.

The band played a concert. The pavilion was across the pond, down at the lower end and people could go there to set and watch. When the band played you could hear them from across the pond on the benches that were just outside the gate of the pools. We also just enjoyed going to Como. We just loved it.

Now there were three stands. One sold hamburgers, hotdogs, popcorn, candy, and so on. Then outside there was Spike Harding. He was a genius but he never - he hid his smarts. He could play any instrument there was. Just pick them up and play. He had a bingo stand there and I remember seeing him say, “Come in, come on, come over” as he turned the wheel that kept the numbers from sticking together, they were on little pieces of wood, then he has prices but I never did play bingo either.

There were swings, and while I waited for my children to come after they had lessons - this was years later, I thought, “Well I’ll just go swing on the swings while I wait” Whoa, you can’t do that when you get a little older. I was dizzy, oh man, I was dizzy!

There was also a little Farris wheel for a season. I don’t know how long it stayed there but it was a cute little Farris wheel. One summer there were little ponies to ride. There were three nice homes there as I remember. Heiner's lived up there in the summer; then they rented it out to a dear sister who taught me how to tat. There was another home kind of out in the woods I'd call it. I knew a family who lived there - the Worden family [Vernon, Fredell, and family] lived there I believe. Then of course there were places people could park and stay all night. I think there were three homes, and there was an apartment in the back of the skating rink that the Heiner’s probably stayed in.

There was a little train that traveled around the merry-go-round. George Neuteboom, I think, kept that little train going. He was a wonderful musician and a sign painter. He was such a gifted, talented man.

They made a bowling alley which employed people to pick up the pins when they scattered. In one end of the bowling alley - well that would be the door way, but up in the grove there was a covered house. They had conventions there - like 4H conventions, and lots of other conventions. I remember a lady brought a lot of fabric to Como and she said, “Don’t put purple and blue together.” And now I just love purple and blue together - “and orange, and red, or yellow, and orange.” That was the idea back then. She said, “They fight and you’re not supposed to put them together.” You can put anything together now days. Like I said the Tabernacle Choir might have stayed there. It was covered so if there was a rain storm you would be covered in there.

I told about the season ticket. Oh we loved to go swimming. It was the delight of our life. I told about the mineral water. It was really good water. I don’t think if ever cost you a dime to get in. I never remember them ever charging to get in. Some schools would come there to have their Senior Sluff day. Evanston went down every year that I can remember. We’d see some strange kids in school and we’d say, “Oh, Evanston’s here.” They came down and had lunch there. It was too early really to have the swimming pool open for them. They came for conventions. It was just a nice place to be. I loved Como and the Heiner’s were so good. I just loved it!

AC: That’s good. Maybe - tell me, did you ever have a job there?

CW: No.

AC: Maybe - tell me - you kind of told me a little bit, but if you went there on an average day in the summer, what would you see?

CW: A lot of people. It always seemed like there were a lot of people. There was one family who were Japanese - several Japanese came there and oh they were nice. It was just a wonderful place to be. Years and years ago my great grandfather was part-owner of Como. In those days it was just a swimming hole. They hadn’t made a pond out of it to have cemented. I think it tells about it in the book “Mountain’s Conquered” just a little bit.

The reason I didn’t work there is because they didn’t have very many young girls. We had to work in the fields doing hoeing for cabbage, beets, and potatoes. Very few could even get a job anywhere and you didn’t babysit because parents didn’t go anywhere. They were always home.

AC: Yeah, if you remember - what are some of the big events, or conventions like you said that took place at Como? Do you remember any big celebrations?

CW: The 4th of July they had programs there at times.  We’d get a nickel on the fourth of July. That would be a day we couldn’t go swimming because there would be too many other people there that took up the dressing rooms and that. There were 4H conventions and different places that would come up from Ogden and Salt Lake. If it rained, they had a nice pavilion to cover you up. That was another thing that made it nice. I imagine a lot of people slept out on the ground.

AC: Why do you think Como was such a popular resort?

CW: Well it was so beautiful with all of the trees. There was a man who was always raking and cleaning up and there was no junk. We visited a park in China and as soon as they finished their Popsicle papers they just threw them on the ground. I don’t know if they still do but it was really junky. I couldn’t get over the difference because Como always looked nice. It was always, always nice.

AC: Okay, so you think people went there because it was beautiful and kind of off to one side.

CW: Uh huh, beautiful and kind of off to one side. I might say this that there was a flag pole on Como Peak and they put the Red Cross flag up there when they came to teach swimming and as I remember they only came one year. I thought, “I’d hate to be the person who had to climb that mountain,” because it looked so steep.

AC: Why do you think it was successful as a resort?

CW: The water, the swimming, roller skating, just everything.

AC: There was a lot to do.

CW: Uh huh, it was just a wonderful place to go.  I would give a lot to be able to go back again.

AC: Yeah.

CW: We loved to swim.

AC: You kind of mentioned it earlier but did it attract a lot of people from not just Morgan but Ogden and Salt Lake?

CW: I think so. I’ve had people say where I worked at the temple say, “Oh, we loved to go to Como, we just loved it there” and they were from way out in South Salt Lake. Of course there were other places that had swimming pools but I think it was the location of it and the beauty of the trees. That’s all I can say and I’ve had a lot of people say they just loved to go to Como.

AC: Okay one more question. What do you think are some of the reasons it’s not here anymore - there is no Como Springs Resort anymore?

CW: I think there was so much repair. I really don’t know. There was so much repairing and insurance - I don’t know. Then there weren’t as many to run it then. I guess Heiner’s had quite a big family and now there is not very many. It would take a lot to restore it now. That’s my opinion. I don’t know, I’ve never been told.

AC: Is there any other special memories or experiences you could share that happened to you at Como?

CW: Well our folks didn’t like us going up there too much on Sundays because they said we should stay at home on Sunday but we did go up a little bit. We’d just go in and watch them skate. I remember there was the prettiest girl who was later Ty Little’s wife [Marion Blonquist Little]. I would just wait there until she’d come around on her skates - around the circle. She was so pretty I had to wait until I could see her once more. She was a gorgeous person. Of course our folks never would let us go swimming there anyway. We couldn’t get in free that day as I said before.

AC: Okay, what was your favorite attraction at Como - what do you think?

CW: The swimming pool.

AC: The swimming pool?

CW: Of course my aunt would call up and say, “Let’s go on a picnic tonight,” so mom would make a potato salad or something and we’d go up there and visit. There was running water in a tap up there. What I like about it was it kind of fizzed and my dad said it was because air got into the line someway. We played like that was our drink because it was a little bit fizzy. Just little girls - I don’t know.

AC: Well that sounds fun. Is there anything else you have? Anything you would like to share?

CW: Yeah, I know I once heard and I daren’t almost say it because I wonder if I dreamed it but I dreamed a little child fell in that river, and I dreamed that Mayor Durrant found it [the child]. That just came to me just now but I don’t know if that’s true or not.

AC: I will have to look into it.

CW: I should ask someone. I never thought about it until now. It wasn’t a Morgan child I know that.

AC: Your family went up there quite a bit. How many years would you say that you guys went up there?

CW: Oh heck - I had older brothers and I might explain that if you didn’t go to "M" day, for some reason, to white wash the "M" on the mountain, you got in trouble and they’d throw you in the river or something like that. They were my brothers and were a lot older than I am and it was full swing then but they’d throw them in the river. They didn’t care they might get to wink at some of those Evanston girls, I don’t know.

AC: What was "M" day? Explain that to me.

CW: That’s the block letter "M", they painted it, white washed it and every year they took the rocks and threw them away and added a few feet of cement. Reed [Wilde], my husband said when he was on it they were starting up the one "V" of the "M" when left the school and graduated.

AC: So it used to be rocks and on "M" day they would add a little bit [of cement] every year.

CW: Yes, rocks about this size and I think they gathered most of them right from the mountain up there, but I think they also had to haul some up. I know they had to carry their cement and the water. They put out pans and sometimes rain water would get in them. It was a hard day, and then the girls at night would take them to the girls dance to repay them for going to the "M". We made vegetable corsages. They were cute - out of carrot tops, radish tops, and radishes. I’m getting out of the subject of Como.

Oh, I’ve got to tell you this. My sister was four years ahead of me in school and they had been asking the school if they couldn’t have a, “sluff day” they called it. They said, "No, we didn’t believe in it" and the seniors couldn’t do it. Evanston had done it for years. When they got to be seniors, this group of kids, four years older than I was - no one knew it, I never knew it, my sister never told me but they went to school a little bit early and they left. They left a sign [saying], “We have sluffed.” Well the Superintendent was not very happy and they were expelled just before graduation.

So Dr. High, a famous doctor in Devils Slide - he paid for their Senior Hop. It was held at Como. After that they started letting the seniors go [for Senior Sluff].  It was unheard of. You didn’t sluff, it was dangerous to a bunch of you going in cars and it’s true, it was. By the time we got there they even furnished us a bus. We went on a bus.

AC: Yeah, I had a bus too, I did it too.

CW: I got off track there a little bit.

AC: That’s just fine.

CW: Oh, another thing they did that just came to me was they would shoot the 4th of July - beautiful fireworks. They were on the road above [Como Springs] that took you to Round Valley. Round Valley is a settlement that farmed and there is a golf course there now. They would shoot them off and you would be down watching them after it got dark. Then I believe they moved it [the fireworks] to the school grounds soon after that. That was another thing you’d look forward to the fireworks at night. I know there were 4th of July programs up there [at Como] too.

AC: So they would shoot the fireworks from the road out over the lake, is that how they did it?

CW: Out over the swimming pools, it was mostly where the people were gathered around the swimming pool. There were chairs, and then they [the fireworks] were up on the road that went to Round Valley.

AC: That sounds fun. I think that’s all. Is there anything else?

CW: I can’t think of anything. I just always thought the Heiner’s were very kind, very nice, and always wanted to make it [Como Springs] comfortable for us. It was just wonderful. I just thought we were so lucky to live where we did. It [the water at Como] didn’t hurt your eyes. Sometimes at Lagoon it [the water] would sting your eyes. Did you ever go [swim] at Lagoon?

AC: No.

CW: It would burn your eyes. I don’t know whether it was something they put in the water. Ours [Como’s water] never did burn our eyes. It’s just some of the fondest memories I have is of Como.

AC: That’s good.

(End of side A - end of interview and recording)

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