Priscilla Mangnall
THE WAY WE WERE
Grand Junction Free Press History Columnist

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October 11, 2012
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GJ HISTORY: Priscilla has some homework for you

I just have to say THANK YOU to all the people that say they LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my column. I LOVE that you do and you inspire me to continue. I'd like to hear from those of you that don't like what I do, too. That would be inspiring as well.

I heard from a childhood chum, D.J. Humphries, last week. He had a few ideas that set my mind to wondering. First was Skateland. I spent many a formative year at Skateland. It was definitely during my geekier years that I went round and round and round and ran headlong into the bumper rails because I didn't know any other way to stop. While my girlfriends were trying to make out with boys, I was trying to skate.

Clarence and Esther Greene owned Skateland. It was out on 2912 Freeway St., as it was called back then and Carpet Time puts the building to good use now. D.J. also wondered about the "big skate" and swears he saw it in a parade or two. I remember a big skate on a sign out in west Delta some time ago. Does anybody out there know about the big skate or have any photos of the rink? I've not seen any snapshots but then again I haven't looked that hard.

When they tore down the old RCBS/Walker Electronics at 537 N. First St., someone called me (sorry I didn't write it down, I must have been napping) and told me that it was once a roller rink. I don't know about that roller rink but I'd like to.

The other thing D.J. Humphries asked about was the driving range on First and North where Ed Bozarth Chevrolet parks his used cars. I remember going there with my brother but little else. I always thought about golf balls still embedded in that hillside and how fun it would be to go dig them up. D.J. said it had go-karts and kiddie rides like Lincoln Park. I don't remember that at all.

Pelley Hannigan stopped me in the Albertson's parking lot and reminded me of the big KEXO spotlight. He remembers hearing Bob Collins on KEXO radio saying: "Come on out to so and so (wherever they were having a remote broadcast) and get a 10 cent hot dog and a 10 cent Coke. Just follow the KEXO light in the sky!"

He said they'd set it up at the circus, the carnival and the go-kart races down at the driving range that D.J. Humphries was asking about were Pelley says you could drive the karts for 5 minutes for 50 cents. He also recalls the spotlight at Butler Motors, a new Mercury dealership around First and Main. You could go see the new Mercury Cougars and the pretty lady with the real live cougar. Abbott Tessman was the manager of KEXO in the early 60's and it was located at 2508 North Ave. KEXO then moved downtown to 557 Main and Mr. Steak was built at 25th and North. KEXO-AM 1230 is still on the air as a talk radio station. It was once the "Voice of the Western Slope" and a Top 40 station. I still have some of the old All American Top 40 Surveys that you could pick up at the station or in the record department of Woolworths.

But where is that dang light? Jim Spehar remembers Jim Holmes at Surplus City owning it and he would use it during hunting season to lure the hunters to his store at First and Grand. It sat out back for many years. Spehar recalls seeing one in Frank Dunn's junkyard and wonders if they were one in the same.

So kids, you have three homework assignments; 1. Find the KEXO light. 2. Tell me more about the driving range on First and North. 3. Find me photos of Skateland and find out what happened to the "big skate."


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The Post Independent Updated Oct 11, 2012 05:22PM Published Oct 11, 2012 05:15PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.