I love this old picture that I found among my uncle's collection. This picture of the New Bandon Theatre was taken in 1937, just a year after the Bandon Fire.

We have grown so accustomed to other forms of entertainment that we forget what it was like for a small community, when suddenly there was no theatre.

My grandfather wrote, in the Sept. 16, 1937, Western World: "All Bandon and community joins in the congratulatory ceremony that marks the dedication of Dick Fisk's New Bandon Theatre, which is to take place next Tuesday and Wednesday, when the 20-30 Club will officiate in the presentation of a musical review, humorously entitled, 'Debris of 1937.'

"For seven months after the fire of last September Bandon was without a theatre. Hurried construction was necessary to care for the more urgent commercial buildings and to provide shelter for the populace. A place of amusement was secondary under the circumstances and it seemed inevitable that the erection of a suitable place of amusement must wait until permanent building was undertaken.

"Along came Dick Fisk, who already had theatres in Waldport, Florence and Gold Beach. Realizing the uncertainty of plans for a new city he likewise saw the necessity of a theater as a place for relaxation and enjoyment midst the somber struggle of reconstruction that faced a hapless people."

The theatre had seating for 500 people ... and continued to be a gathering place for a lot of us until it was torn down, I think sometime in the 1980s. I lived in the apartment upstairs from 1969 until 1976 ... in a two-bedroom apartment, for which my rent was $75 a month. (And Jack and Shirley Ward never raised my rent during the six years I lived there.) Oh to have rents like that again ...

The building next door later became Fred Tuttle's news stand.

I am sharing the second picture because it shows the doors for the fire hall, at the far west end of the building, which was in that location until the new city hall was built in 1970. It was not actually the city hall when this picture was taken, as it had been turned into the Old City Hall restaurant and bar, but the exterior looked pretty much the same. Today all fire equipment belongs to the Bandon Rural Fire Protection District and most of it is housed in their spacious facility just south of town.

I found an article in the Sept. 9, 1937, Western World with the headline: "Pin-Ball machines ordered out; fire department loses its revenue."

District Attorney Ben Flaxel had ruled out all forms of gambling in Coos County.

"Pin-ball machines in Bandon have produced the sole source of revenue for the local fire department. A percentage of the profits from the machines has gone into the treasury of the department and used to maintain the organization and purchase needed supplies. Loss of this revenue will make it necessary for Bandon to find some other source of funds if the fire department is to be kept in tact.

"With pin-ball revenue and other funds raised by the firemen they have been able to fit up and equip their apartments in the city hall building, buy and repair equipment and pay other bills of the city, up to a total of more than $1600."

I know that for many years there were two apartments behind where the equipment was housed, in what is now part of the space used by the Bandon Historical Society for its displays.

I always like to share one picture of people from the past, and this one was taken in 1965 as Western World owner Warren Strycker, left, and Syd and Janice Dominy, and son, George, prepare for the annual school carnival. Syd was a member of the Bandon Police Department in those days.

* * *

The whole community had been praying for Todd Freitag, 43, who died last week after a brave battle with pancreatic cancer. Todd leaves behind his wife Courtney, his children Kyle and Raelyn, his parents Nancy and Ed Freitag, the extended Freitag family and the many friends who supported the family through their "Team Todd" fundraisers and support network.

Todd was a lineman on the city's hydro-electric crew and we stood for a moment of silence in his memory during our Christmas party Saturday night.

It is always hard to lose a loved one, but even harder at Christmastime.

* * *

I heard from Linda DePaolo this week with an update on her son, Matt, a 2006 graduate of Bandon High School, who was critically injured in an ATV accident on Oct. 22 in Arizona. He was not responsive at the scene and was life-flighted to Banner Trauma Center in Glendale, Ariz., where he spent two weeks in the trauma and ICU center. He was in a medical coma for 10 days. On Nov. 6 he was medically transported to an acute rehab center in Phoenix where he is today.

Linda said he is making slow progress, but it could take years to recover from his injuries. "He is young and healthy so that is in his favor," his mother said, adding that he is not paralyzed, "although he does have some loss of use but that may return once full physical therapy can be initiated.

The biggest hill to climb is the traumatic brain injury. The great unknown."

They have a gofundme account set up to help with his expenses. It is www.gofundme.com/matt-depaolo-atv-tragedy.

Barry Winters, who recently visited Matt and Linda in Arizona, also has shirts available, with all proceeds going to Matt's medical expenses. People can contact Barry at 541-297-7833.

* * *

I simply cannot comprehend senseless vandalism ... destroying things for the pure pleasure of it is mind-boggling.

Dan and Lynn Barnett announced this week that they would not be decorating Billy Smoothboar's restaurant next year because of the vandalism and theft that has occurred to their wonderful Christmas light display twice already this season.

"Sadly we have succumbed to the evil in our society and will no longer put out exterior Christmas cheer for the soulless to steal," said Dan in a Facebook post.

Jessica Neal, owner of The Broken Anchor, came back with a post which said: "someone got my credit card number (my business card) and rung up almost 3 grand at Wal-Mart online today. The card has never been out of my possession."

As many of you know, Dan and Lynn provide a wonderful treat, "Christmas for the Less Fortunate," which is scheduled for Wednesday (Dec. 19) from 4 to 7 at the restaurant for children 12 and younger.

I try to stop by each year just to watch the youngsters as they receive gifts, food and other treats. It is special gifi from a special couple. Thanks Dan and Lynn for all you do!

* * *

Speaking of special treats and special people. Friday night, we went to "The Nutcracker," produced and directed by Maria Merriam, and it was fabulous. It really does take a village to put on a production like this, from the lighting and sound crew, to those designing the costumes, to the choreographers and on and on, but most of all to the dancers of all ages who delight us with their presence on stage.

I see by the program that MarLo Dance Studio will be presenting Pinocchio two weekends in May, and I definitely won't miss it.

Subscribe to Breaking News

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.