A letter from Palma Berger:
I will quote a few lines from Palma Berger’s letter to me.
“I have just now got around to reading the Yukon News papers that had accumulated while I was away. In the October 13 edition, there was your Colourful Five Per Cent, and you featured the fire at the Old Melbourne Hotel. Thank you for your kind comments about Fred Berger, and for remembering him when he was young and optimistic and not overcome by our many losses and ill health. Yes, he was a straight shooter, and a good person.
A young Fred Berger was behind the old mahogany bar and was running the Bonanza Hotel (originally called the Melbourne Hotel in gold rush days) when I first arrived in Dawson City in 1961.
When entering the Bonanza Hotel Bar, it was like entering the past, an original saloon-style bar from the early Melbourne days, still intact. I sold Fred a snowshoe; its interior was stretched, illustrated moosehide.
In Palma Berger’s answering letter to me she mentioned, “We still have that snowshoe that Fred bought from you. It got packed away when we moved to Bear Creek. Now I know more of the history of it. Sorry, but the moosehide has shrunk a bit over the years.”
One of my greatest experiences was when I entered the hotel. It was an absolutely wonderful glimpse into the past, visiting it. In my first column about this hotel, I mentioned, “When I first entered the hotel,” the lobby sported a sort of couch-chair composed of real Texas longhorns.
In her letter to me, Palma Berger wrote, “As for the couch-chair comprised of Texas longhorns … This summer Parks Canada had an open house at the Bear Creek compound and opened up most buildings and showed what was stored in them. I looked at this weird sofa thing with the long horns and thought I remembered it from somewhere. I asked, and was told it used to be in the Bonanza Hotel. Then it all came back to me.
“Once again, thank you, Jim.”
Anyone with information about this subject, please write Jim Robb: The Colourful Five Per Cent Scrapbook – Can You Identify? c/o the Yukon News, 211 Wood Street, Whitehorse, Yukon, Y1A 2E4, or email through the News website, www.yukon-news.com.