October 30, 2016

The razing of Soapy Smith's Tivoli Club, Denver,Colorado

Soapy's Tivoli Club
17th and Market Streets
circa 1890
Jeff Smith collection

hanks to Edward S. Valdez 
we have photographs of the Deutsch Building (held the Tivoli Club) being torn down. Edward forgets the date but we know, from the 1973 release of Scarecrow, that it was razed some time after 1973.

Circa 1973
Courtesy Denver Public Library digital collection

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Close up of the sign above the door
Film Scarecrow

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Inside the Tivoli Club
Al Pacino and Gene Hackman
Scene from the 1973 film Scarecrow

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Advertisement for Scarecrow

      Scarecrow, a 1973 film starring Gene Hackman, Al Pacino, and Dorothy Tristan, was filmed inside the bar. Hackman plays Max, an ex-con drifter with a penchant for brawling. Max is amused by "Lion," played by Al Pacino, a homeless ex-sailor, and they partner up as they head east together.
      Although a photograph from 1963 indicates that the bar was known as Denver's Oldest Bar, a sign on the photograph above indicates it was also known as the Ginn Mill.

The Razing.

      Edward S Valdez was smart enough to take the following three photographs showing the demise of the Deutsch Building.

Deutsch building ready for demolition
Courtesy of Edward S Valdez

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A closer view
Courtesy of Edward S Valdez

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The End
Courtesy of Edward S Valdez

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The Tivoli Club (not in order of importance. Be sure to scroll and note additional pages).

The Tivoli Club: pages 79-81, 89, 120, 124-29, 131-32, 138-39, 171-72, 176, 182-83, 185, 188, 190, 197, 247-48, 256-57, 260-64, 272-78, 283-84, 286-87, 324, 336, 338, 352, 358, 389, 420.

“I’ve quit the store and other jobs for a much better thing,” he confided, after the affectionate welcome. “I’ve learned a racket that’s new in this part of the world, one of the slickest and surest money-makers; I have become a cheap John, a dealer in odds and ends of merchandise, and I go from town to town selling my stuff on the streets. I mount a box; take up a banjo, which I twang to the accompaniment of a few plantation songs like the Little Old Log Cabin or Old Black Joe; this never fails to draw a crowd and the rest is easy for then they are primed to buy my stock of socks, hanker chiefs, suspenders, razor belts before the rush of customers and it is a bad day if I don’t net $20 or $25. In a few towns the merchants were so sore at losing trade that they had regulations passed to drive me out.”
— Soapy Smith


1735: John Adams, the future second president of the U.S., is born in Braintree, Massachusetts. His son, John Quincy Adams, will become the sixth president.
1831: Escaped black slave Nathaniel "Nat" Turner is apprehended in Southampton County, Virginia, several weeks after leading the bloodiest slave uprising (August 21, 1831) in American history, resulting in 60 white deaths and at least 200 black deaths. Turner is convicted, sentenced to death, and hanged on November 11, 1831.
1857: Soldiers from Fort McIntosh, Texas pursue and attack a band of Comanche Indians who had been raiding Laredo, Texas.
1864: Last Chance Gulch, in Montana Territory, is renamed Helena. Helena becomes a gold rush, the second biggest placer gold deposit in Montana, producing about $19 million in gold in just four years. In 1875, the city becomes the capital of Montana Territory, and in 1894, the capital of the new state of Montana.
1866: The James-Younger Gang robs the Alexander and Company Bank in Lexington, Missouri of $2,000.
1868: Construction begins on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad in Topeka, Kansas.
1875: The Reverend O. P. Mains persuades bad man Clay Allison to beat a confession out of Cruz Vega, in a New Mexico Territory jail. Vega is suspected of assisting in the murder of Reverend F. J. Tolby. Vega implicated Manuel Cardenas as the murderer, and then vigilantes hung Vega from a pole. Vega was suffering so Allison shot the man dead. The body was taken down and dragged through the streets, and then left in the desert without a burial. On November 10th vigilantes stormed a jail and shot Cardenas to death.
1875: The constitution of Missouri is ratified by popular vote.
1882: George Ruby, a black Reconstruction politician, dies of malaria in New Orleans, Louisiana. Born and educated in the North, Ruby served with the Freedmen's Bureau, and was elected to the Texas State Senate in 1869. At the end of Reconstruction, he retired and moved to Louisiana.
1893: The U.S. Senate gives final approval to repeal the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890. This act destroyed the silver boom towns, such as Creede, Colorado, where Soapy Smith ruled as underworld boss. It is also partly at fault for the Panic of 1893.
1894: The time clock is patented by Daniel Cooper of Rochester, New York.

October 29, 2016

Denver's Oldest Bar (Tivoli Club) book matches

Add caption
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 sure thing
Matches from bar that housed Soapy's Tivoli Club.  

     A new acquisition to my Soapy collection. I do not have the history of the bar known as Denver's Oldest Bar located at the southeast corner of 17th and Market Streets. One photograph indicates it was once called the Ginn Mill. A photograph taken in November 1966 identifies it as Denver's Oldest Bar as does the match book below. The inside structure and layout is pretty much the same as it was in the 1890s so I will guess that it may have been a saloon/bar for it's entire history, thus the name Denver's Oldest Bar applies.

"6 beautiful girls"
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It does not appear that many knew the bar was once home to Soapy Smith's saloon and gaming house. I find it ironic that inside the mach book there is a "gambling" game of sorts, called Lucky Match. The directions to the game are as follows.
Hold book of matches with back cover facing you. Take out one stick for yourself and let the other player or players take one. Match your hand against theirs.
The words A sure thing make the purchase a worthy one for me. (see photo below).

The Lucky Match game
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Denver's Oldest Bar
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The Tivoli Club (not in order of importance. Be sure to scroll and note additional pages).

"It may be desirable to live to a green old age; but when you have attained it, please keep away from the bunco men."
— Puck, The Mason County Journal, November 29, 1889


1652: The Massachusetts Bay Colony proclaims itself to be an independent commonwealth.
1682: William Penn lands at what is now Chester, Pennsylvania. He is proclaimed the founder of Pennsylvania.
1854: A petition for a reservation in Polk County for the Alabama Indians is approved by tribal leaders and the Texas legislature. Later the Coushatta tribes were added the name became the Alabama-Coushatta reservation.
1858: Charles Blake and Andre Williams of Iowa open the first grocery store in what will become Denver, Colorado.
1863: The International Committee of the Red Cross is founded.
1897: The Al Jennings outlaw gang robs a general store of $15, some used clothing, a bottle of whiskey and some bananas. A posse followed the gang but lost them.
1901: Leon Czolgosz, the assassin of President William McKinley, is electrocuted.
1909: Sara Jane “Jennie” Rogers, famed Denver, Colorado brothel madame, dies at Mercy Hospital.

October 28, 2016

Faked Jeff Smith's Parlor match safe

Jeff Smith's Parlor match safe?
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abricated, fraudulent, fictitious.
The faked Soapy Smith match safe.

    On October 16, 2016 an eBay auction ended with a winning bid of $392.67 for a match safe that supposedly came from Jeff Smith's Parlor, Skagway, Alaska. The match safe itself is antique, but it is not from Jeff Smith's Parlor. At one time I was a collector and seller of match safes. I learned what I could from books but I never considered myself an expert on them.
    This safe naturally caught my eye as it appeared to be related to Soapy Smith. There are some major flaws which exposes the fact that this was fabricated by someone that is not familiar with Soapy and Jeff Smith's Parlor.

  1. Jeff's Place Saloon: That was not the name of the saloon. The term name "Jeff's place" was used in the 1935 biography, The Reign of Soapy Smith. It was used in conversations by people who knew Soapy, such as "you will find Pete down at Jeff's place."
  2. Tobacco spirits cards: The term spirits was rarely used for the advertising of alcohol in the 19th century. The ads for Jeff Smith's Parlor specifically states "no cards - no gambling."
  3. The saloon pictured on the back of the match safe is not Jeff Smith's Parlor.

Wait, that's not Jeff Smith's Parlor?
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This cranky and crooked eBay seller made sure I could not contact him, blocking my address from eBay contact. If you read his description below you can see that he has no intentions of returning anyone's money easily, especially if you find out that the item is a fake.

We don't want to misrepresent anything and if we accidently [sic] do, please return the item for a refund. Do not ask to return something if you simply have second thoughts, buyer's remorse, you tried to sell for a profit but couldn’t, your spouse is busting your chops about how much you spent, you find one for less, it doesn't fit your décor, or you just wanted to see what it looked like close up. Ask questions before you bid. But again, If we have accidently [sic] stated something wrong, please inform us of what we said that was incorrect and if so, we will be more than happy to refund your money. Extrapolations, assumptions on your end, conjecture, simply don't count. We want to know what we stated was incorrect and that is the only reason for a return. If you can't handle that, please refrain from bidding. Remember, this is an auction and not Nordstrom's or Macy's. We are fair and we expect you to be.

I am hoping that the buyer contacts me.


"And when I die don't bury me deep; leave one hand free to fleece the sheep."
— (Opening text from the 1941 film Honky Tonk)


1636: Harvard College is founded in Massachusetts. The original name was Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was the first school of higher education in the new world.
1776: The Battle of White Plains takes place during the American Revolutionary War.
1793: Eli Whitney applies for the patent for his cotton gin.
1835: Texan militia and Mexican soldiers skirmished near San Antonio at the battle of Concepción in Texas, the opening engagement in the siege of Bexar. Some 90 Texans under command of James Bowie and James W. Fannin Jr., defeat a force of 275 Mexican soldiers and two cannon. Causalities on the Mexican side include fourteen killed and thirty-nine wounded. The Texans have one killed and one wounded.
1869: William F. Cody, chief scout for the 5th Cavalry returns to Fort McPherson, Nebraska to winter. In the past year he participated in seven expeditions and nine battles against Indians tribes.
1869: Comanche and Kiowa Indians attack the 4th and 9th Cavalry expedition, camped near the Fresh Water Fork of the Brazos River, Texas. Captain John Bacon and a detachment pursue the Indians for 30 miles and counter attack them. Eight Indians are killed, several more wounded. An Indian girl is taken prisoner.
1878: With less travel on the Sante Fe Trail due to the arrival of the railroad in 1870, the garrison at Fort Larned, Kansas is transferred to Fort Dodge.
1880: Tombstone City, Arizona Territory, Marshal Fred White is shot and killed by William “Curly Bill” Brocius. The gun discharged when Brocius was handing over his pistol to White, when Deputy Sheriff Wyatt Earp grabbed Brocius from behind. The death is ruled an accident.
1880: The 10th Cavalry is attacked while scouting near Ojo Caliente, Texas. Two soldiers are killed.
1886: The Statue of Liberty is dedicated in New York Harbor by President Cleveland. The statue, originally known as "Liberty Enlightening the World," is a gift from France.
1894: Denver, Colorado prostitute Marie Contassot, age 23, is the second of three serial-murders the newspapers called “the triplet murders.” The killer struck first on September 3 and for the last time on November 13, and then disappeared from history, perhaps frightened by a $1000 reward and a slew of private detectives joining the city police search net.
1901: Famed trick shot, Annie Oakley, is seriously injured in a train wreck while traveling with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show near Lexington, Kentucky.
1904: The St. Louis, Missouri police department becomes the first to use fingerprinting.