‘Mother Bender’ showed generous holiday spirit | PostIndependent.com

‘Mother Bender’ showed generous holiday spirit

Willa Soncarty
Registrar, Frontier Historical Society
and Museum

Katie Bender was passionate about many things. She was a successful restaurateur, owning and operating the Commercial Restaurant at 308 7th Street, now occupied by Juicy Lucy’s, in Glenwood Springs from 1886 to 1917.

A staunch Republican, she advocated the right of women to vote during a time when the issue was hotly debated. A patriot, she celebrated the 25th anniversary of her eating establishment by hoisting a large American flag above her restaurant.

Perhaps above all, Katie Bender was a devout Christian woman, with one of her greatest legacies being generosity. This generosity was displayed year round, but was especially evident at Christmas.

Mrs. Bender was known for her boundless gift giving. During the holidays, she dispatched enormous sized baskets filled with food to the homes of her friends. Leaving no detail unattended, all the makings of a holiday feast were contained in the baskets, including the turkey. Often these and other gifts came anonymously.

Children were especially adored by Katie Bender. Any child who visited her restaurant during the holidays was treated to gifts of cookies, candy, and a sweet juicy orange.

Affiliated with a national organization dedicated to assisting families in need, Mrs. Bender sent Christmas gifts to children across the nation.

Knowing that the success of her Commercial Restaurant hinged upon her dedicated employees, Katie Bender publicly expressed her appreciation with words of high praise. She showered them with Christmas gifts.

There seemed to be no end to the charity expressed by Katie Bender. Everyday was a holiday to be celebrated by giving back to her friends, community and the nation. Because of the depth and expanse of her good deeds, she was rightly given the title of “Mother Bender.”

“Frontier Diary” is provided to the Glenwood Springs Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Winter hours are 1 to 4 p.m. Monday and Thursday through Saturday.

The 2004 Frontier Historical Society calendars are now available at the museum book store, the Book Train and at Through the Looking Glass bookstore. Calendars are $10 and all proceeds benefit the Frontier Historical Society. This year’s calendar features John B. Schutte’s black-and-white photography of Glenwood Canyon.

Information: 945-4448.

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