As you may know, Blonger Day also includes the ritual “airing of grievances” – no, sorry, that’s Festivus – rather, it includes a recounting of the past year’s events (as bountiful or scanty as they may be), not to mention a peak at the year to come.
The Mark Inside
In April, author Amy Reading gave an interview on WILL about her new book “The Mark Inside.” Although the conversation never turned to Lou Blonger specifically, it was a great interview and a good plug for the subject of humbuggery in general.
April also led us, finally, to Sam’s resting place. While we had thought Sam was in an unmarked grave in Denver’s Fairmount Cemetery, where both Lou and Sam’s wife Virginia are interred, he turned up on the Find-A-Grave website, resting quietly in Riverside Cemetery. We’ll visit this summer.
This discovery inspired Scott to create a virtual Blonger cemetery plot. Here it is:
Sam’s Bad Habit
Friend of the show Kenny Vail forwarded an interesting item regarding Sam. Seems he was a fan of the opium pipe, which isn’t a shocker, really, but still news to us.
An Interesting Day at Wittmore’s Justice Mill.
The cases against the Chinese opium joint proprietors and their patrons, who were “pulled” on Monday night by the order of Coroner Linton were arraigned…. The Chinese fined were Ah Joe, in $100 and costs; Sam Hing, in the same; Ah Wee, Su Quie and Ah Gee, in $50 each and costs. Then there were the white men who had been taken at the Arapahoe street joint for smoking. They are Sam Blonger, G.S. Howard, George Perkins and J. Kennedy. They were fined $50 each and costs. Another man named W. Hutchins was not fined… The costs in each of these cases was $7.50.….
Denver Rocky Mountain News – Oct. 13, 1880, p. 3
Bee Hive Blizzard
April also gave us the story of a spring snowstorm that stranded a train near Lou’s Bee Hive orchard in April of 1920. Students of the Colorado School of Mines weathered the storm at Lou’s house, dining on roast pork, and pushing on to Golden on foot the next day.
The Drunken Orgy
August brought us this editorial cartoon from the Denver Times, March 27, 1923. Scott photographed it on a recent trip to Denver. The original clipping was found in the papers of Robert Maiden, part of the collection at the Denver Public Library.
The sketch depicts Lou Blonger, manager Adolph “Kid Duffy” Duff, bookmaker John Homer “Dapper Jackie” French, and Sheriff’s Deputy Tom Clarke, king of Denver’s West Side Criminal Court. They are all singing the praises of Lou’s old pal Mayor Dewey Bailey, who had been questioning Van Cise’s entire operation, suggesting it was plot by the city’s stock brokers to legitimize their own racket and crush the competition in one fell swoop.
As the jury began their deliberations at the trial’s end, the primary defendants – those wealthy enough to post bail – were anticipating the revocation of bail and the prospect of spending at least one night in jail. To make the most of their last night of freedom (at least until their ultimate victory) with a celebration hosted by Clarke, who procured several bottles of illegal spirits, and a few young ladies for good measure. Meanwhile, one floor below, Van Cise and his team worked on the case into the night.
Unfortunately for Clarke, the party did not escape the prosecutor’s notice, and the next day a grand jury was convened. Clarke lost his job, and the papers buzzed about the “drunken orgy” in the West Side Court.
Poor Wee Willie
August also brought news – again via Find-A-Grave – of yet another heretofore unknown Blonger; young Willie, son of Marvin, buried in Shoals, Indiana in October of 1879 at the tender age of 9 months.
As for the year ahead, we will be heading to Denver this summer, and though we won’t be doing research per se, we should have something to say, including, I’m sure, some photos and video.
Finally, work on a screenplay about the Blonger boys continues. Not gonna say too much about this one, except perhaps that it’s gonna to be epic, of course…