Columbia in 1970

The Anecdotal History of Columbia

The Anecdotal History of Columbia

As a class project, the students of Mrs. Øydegaard's Hands-on History elective at a local elementary school, gathered a plethora of tales representing each decade of 20th century Columbia State Historic Park history. Columbia, known since the early gold rush years, as the "Gem of the Southern Mines," has been a town since 1850 and a state historic park since 1945. Thousands of school children and other visitors come each year to experience a real gold rush town and, as you can learn from the Columbia Memories recorded here, they keep coming back for a myriad of good reasons.

A memory might not make it into the history book, lacking factual backing, but even so, it ought to have a place to be recorded and shared. Many a memory that seemed too fanciful to be true has been validated by some late-coming evidence. On the other hand, and probably more often, stories are related as fact, when they ought to be retold as “just stories,” lacking significant reality and truth (an “art form” the movie-making industry has perfected).

Here we share our Columbia memories, whether laden with fact or fiction, as well as give readers a chance to compare, validate, or provide the missing factual information making this blog an educational exchange as well as a place to tell our cherished tales of Columbia.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Date: 1954

By Tom Barajas
For Kailie

It was the year 1954.  I was sixteen years old, always looking for adventure.  I was in a group know as “The Standard Crew.”  We were a group of good friends always looking for fun.  A good way to stay our of trouble, and meet girls, was to go to the dances in Columbia on Saturday nights.  The dances were at Angelo’s Hall.  I always remember thinking to myself, “Who am I going to meet tonight?”

My friends and I would always have such a good time; we could dance for hours.  We would go almost every Saturday night.  But, there was one Saturday that changed my life.  I remember it exactly.  I was coming down with a cold and did not feel like going to Angelo’s Hall.  My buddies finally talked me into going, but I knew I wasn’t going to have a good time.  We got there late and I already felt like going home.

As soon as I was about to leave I saw this girl I had liked for the past couple weeks.  My friends knew I liked her, so they talked me into asking her to dance.  I was so nervous; I had butterflies in my stomach.  My palms were sweating and my face started to turn red.  What would happen if she said no, or if she just laughed and walked away?  All these thoughts were going through my mind.

It was the last song of the night and I finally got the nerve to ask her to dance.  She said yes, with a big smile, so I was very happy.  I wished I would have asked to her dance sooner.  We were having such a good time.  I didn’t even feel like I was sick anymore.  I had completely forgotten about my cold.  That was the best night I had ever had at Angelo’s Hall.

Many years later that beautiful girl became my wife.  Who would have thought, on that Saturday night I would have met the love of my life.  We have now been married for many years, and whenever I go to Columbia, I remember this special memory.  Columbia holds memories for many people of all ages.

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