The following story was written by Thomas King about the early businesses that opened in Golden. It gives us a good glimpse of what the town was like more than 100 years ago.
“Until survey parties, later the C.P.R. mainline construction crews came through, there was no attempt made to settle here.
With the advent of workmen, Mr. Baptiste Morigeau, who was born in 1846, of a French voyager and his native wife, started a trading post about 1883 and did business for two years.
A Mr. Lang opened a store in 1884, which was a log cabin built on the ground where the present Feuz block now stands. He had a son and three daughters, the youngest of whom is well known to many Goldenites. She built the Feuz block about 1911 and owned the property where the present Post Office was built. Right up until her death at the age of ninety-two years she maintained a genuine interest in Golden. When Mr. Lang failed in business, the late H.S. Forster put up the money to continue the business under the management of G.B. McDermot.
In 1886, Charles Warren and a partner by the name of Durrick, started a general store in a building situated on the site of the Big Bend Hotel. Soon after, Mr. Durrick retired from business and went into partnership with a Mr. William Carlin, who had an old established business at Ft. Steele, as Carlin and Durrick.
After Mr. McDermot withdrew from the store business, the owners formed a Company called The Golden and East Kootenay Trading Company. In 1903-04 this company had almost finished the building of a new store on the present Post Office site, which was of tremendous proportions for the amount of business here in those early days. It was one hundred and ten feet long and forty-five feet wide, with three floors and a basement. Before it was finished, it burned to the ground on May 4th of 1904. This fire also ignited a warehouse belonging to Mr. Warren. This resulted in a heavy loss. Mr. Warren was then financed by Mr. Forster to build the present store occupied by Barlow’s Department Store. This store was ready for occupancy on November 4th, 1904. The stocks of the two businesses were combined. This business was operated under Mr. Warren followed by Mr. T. King. In October 1957, Mr. Fred Barlow took over.
Mr. Mike Carlin and Mr. Joseph Lake had been early settlers in the west. Mr. Carlin, a very big man, had had tie contracts from the C.P.R. during construction days. Mr. Lake had gone from Winnipeg to Edmonton in a Red River cart before there was a railway connection. They built a store at Field, and in 1891, they built one in Golden, known as the “Big Store.” It was rightly named, for supplying so sparse a settlement and retail liquor business. This stock was kept in the basement of the store. This immense building also housed living rooms upstairs.
Here, too, was a large hall (the first concert hall, which was used for dances and Lodge rooms.) The Odd fellows and Masons both used it for their meetings, the latter after the desolation of
Donald. In the year 1899, the Charter for this Lodge being Mountain Lodge No. 11, A.F. and A.M. was transferred to Golden.
The Mercantile Store was begun by Rolston and Mitchell in 1912, but the latter entered the ministry two years later. Mr. D.R. Rolston continued alone until his death. His son, Robert, carried on the business until he became interested in the motel business. It was purchased by Tony Ingstrup.
The Golden Meat Market Business was started in the 80’s by W.R. Hull and Company of Calgary. Its original site was what is now C.P.R. land almost opposite Barlow’s Store. About 1893, W.R. Hull and Company purchased the site where George Keenleyside operated his butcher shop. About 1948, he added groceries and vegetables to make it a real food store.
Mr. J.C. Greene started the Queen’s Hotel in 1884. He had a picture hanging in the hotel. This was entitled “The Evolution of the Queen’s Hotel,” illustrating it from its meager beginning to its then large proportions. At that time, it was one of the finest in the country. It had the name of being (early in the century) the only country interior hotel that had five bedrooms with bath attached. In fact, it had not been long before that, that a guest at a local hostelry asked for the hotel restroom. He was directed to a “log out back.” Soon a bullet whizzed past him, and, looking up to see why, it is reported he was told to go to the other end of the log, as he was on the ladies’ section. How true this may be, I leave it to the reader to guess.”