October 1933 in Golden

Originally published October 28, 2019

Yesterday, I was doing some time-traveling via the online Transcripts and settled in October of 1933. That was Franklin Roosevelt’s first year in office, and the New Deal effects on Golden were both good and bad.

The National Recovery Administration had been created, and one of the first projects to reach this area was a $20,000 roads contract, which employed 30 men to work on 44th Avenue near Mount Olivet Cemetery. The crew was grading and straightening the road and would oil the surface as the final step of the job. The hope was that the work would extend toward Golden as more federal funds became available.

The Golden School Board passed a budget that was 20% lower than the previous year. This was achieved in part by lowering all salaries by 10% and eliminating one teaching position at the High School.

Henry Parfet returned to Golden after a stay of several weeks in Steamboat Springs, where he had been directing a CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) camp. Francis Tripp tried to thaw the engine on his Ford truck, using a gasoline-soaked rag, but wound up destroying the vehicle when the fire got out of hand. Two sisters in Fruitdale (now Wheat Ridge) died of smallpox. Two weeks later, 472 Golden school children were vaccinated against both smallpox and diphtheria.

Burgess House: site of a 1933 relief organization.

People were hungry, and relief organizations were getting underway. A local relief cooperative was operating out of the Burgess House at 1017 Ford Street. Men were visiting area farms, asking for donations of food, and women were canning the donations. The County Relief organization received 6500 pounds of pork from the federal government.

Roosevelt’s “Bank Holiday” had closed Golden’s only bank, the Rubey National, and it remained closed seven months later. As of October, it was estimated that depositors would eventually receive 60-65 cents per dollar that they had deposited. Golden’s business community held many anxious meetings to discuss how they could establish a new bank in town.

The Colorado & Southern Railroad, which ran west from Golden through Clear Creek Canyon, was slowly resuming service after a July 10th flood had washed out the tracks.

The Alpine Drug Store (now Del’s Tonsorial Parlor) featured a library of best sellers, where customers could rent books for 10 cents for the first 3 days, and 3 cents per day thereafter. All downtown stores closed when Mines had a football game, so everyone could attend the game. Foss Drugstore ran an ad, calling itself “The Store Where Boys are Welcome.” The ad said that Mrs. O’Byrne (Heinie Foss’s mother) kept a sewing kit at the store and had mended enough sweaters for School of Mines students to cover the Mines Football Field.

The Golden Gem Theater (13th and Washington–now a Starbucks) ran several different films each week, including “Gold Diggers of 1933,” Ginger Rogers in “Professional Sweetheart,” and “The Bowery,” starring Wallace Beery and Fay Wray. The subtitle of that last one was “A tale of the gayest mile in New York.”

Mayoral Concerns
The Mayor wrote a weekly column for the paper. He was concerned about weeds, which made the city look run-down. They grew so high in spots that they obscured the street signs. He encouraged residents to burn their weeds. He also warned against leaving laundry on clotheslines overnight, because the clothing might be stolen.

The November 2nd edition covered Halloween celebrations. The Mayor’s column chided local youth for setting brush fires all over town, thus endangering adjacent property.

Prohibition and Temporary Employment
The good news for November 2nd was that Golden Fire Brick was going to employ 14 men for 3-5 weeks. They had a contract to supply a Denver brewery with 60,000 fire bricks. Prohibition was scheduled to end on December 5th of that year, and no doubt the breweries were getting ready to resume production!

The Golden Transcript (originally called the Colorado Transcript) has been publishing since 1866. The Golden History Museum has been working on digitizing the old issues, and they’re currently up to October of 1972. You’ll find old Transcripts online at

Return to Random Finds from the Golden Transcript.