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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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On the House: 1937

On the House: 1937

August 1937. "A drink on the house. Lumberjacks, proprietor and lady attendant in saloon. Craigville, Minnesota." Where everyone knows your name. Photo by Russell Lee for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.

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Half the Message is Better than None

The Prince Albert salesman likely gave three free packs of product to the bar owner for the right to hang his sign. And, the salesman must have figured over the door was the best possible place for the sign, even though it meant cutting off the top caption our spokesman was trying to tell us.

Rare Items on the Door Casing

I don't chew snoose but I recognise the two circles on the door casing as label cutters to free the lid of Copenhagen or other brands of snuff cans. Can't quite identify the logo on in either photo but I think these went away when plastic laminate and aluminum became the norm.

What is the young lady drinking?

Yes she is using a beer glass but that ain't beer in the glass.

Rural electricity before most

"...electricity in Craigsville?..." Early in the 20th Century most large sawmills had their own power plants. The mill itself was usually steam powered, but most everything else was electrified. Since they could make far more electricity than the mill could use, wires were run to the railroad shops, company store and to the company owned houses in town.

When the mill ran out of trees and shut down, the power plant shut down with it. In a few rare instances, private individuals purchased the power plant and continued, but many former mill towns that had cheap electricity before the Great War found themselves getting the old oil lamps out before the Greater War.

Hamms would have been the beer of choice

and it was probably poured from a bottle instead of draft.

My grandfather ran a bar very similar to this one in the 20's and 30's. He had no electricity yet, so he used a wind powered generator that charged a room full of batteries. It provided just enough power to run the coolers, heat the water, and run a few lights.

Rural electrification would make its way in the 40's and business would become much easier.

Noah Beery

The guy next to the "lady attendent" reminds me of the actor Noah Beery, Jr. Altho he would have been too young for that photo; maybe it's his father, also a famous actor in his day. :-)

Beer Glasses

I work in the restaurant supply business. Those glasses are still made as far as I know, by Libbey. They were in the '70's when I started. I believe they were/are available in 6 oz and 7 oz versions.

The Eyes have it

Her eyebrows are extremely well groomed. I wonder if she gussied herself up to go out for a drink.


I think Craigsville is up in the National Forest area of Northern MN. Might have been a little more primitive up there at that time. Looks like a friendly neighborhood bar.

Those Are Some Small Glasses

Anyone know what the standard draft beer glass was back then? Those look like they hold about eight ounces.

Always in good taste

Raising your pinkie makes any drink classy.

Rolling Your Own

Our bartender knows how to save a few pennies during hard times. Like my grandfather, he rolls his own cigarettes. Notice the tobacco pouch string hanging out of his rear pocket. A very popular brand at the time was Bull Durham. Perhaps that's his preference.


Strange to see the liquid fueled gas mantle light fixture, hanging over the bar. Didn't they have electricity in Craigville?

What's the number?

Do they have a phone? If so, I have a killer Prince Albert joke.

Nightview Of Bar Interior

Previously seen here at night and on TV from 1982-1993.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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