Dunwell Mine

Harry Gibson

One of the first and foremost of Stewart's pioneers was Harry P. Gibson, who, by 1910, had a roadhouse at Bitter Creek.

One winter, about 1912 or '13, Harry and his bullcook, Danny Hume, closed the doors (no locks), hitched up the horse sleigh and headed for Stewart to enjoy the holiday festivities.

After a few weeks in town, they set out for home, to complete the winter in the comforts of their sturdy log home. But, after a brisk 10-mile drive, they found, to their amazement, that the roadhouse and barn had disappeared! As Harry told me, he "looked at Danny and said, 'Good God, we didn't drink that much that we're lost on the only road to Bitter Creek?'"

As it turned out, ther had been a tremendous snowslide during Christmas week which had tumbled down for thousands of feet and out onto Bear River. This had created gale-force winds which had flattened all timber and everything across the river for a thousand-foot swathe. Had Harry and Dan been in the roadhouse at the time . . .

After the mining boom peaked, Harry moved into town, married and settled down. In my time he operated a cigar store, newsstand, ice cream parlor and, upstairs, the Stewart Club.

This club operated under the "individual locker" system, whereby a member could invite a friend for a drink out of his own private locker but he had to pay 50 cents for each drink, as a service charge.

Long known as the "mayor" before Stewart incorporated, this title became official during the first election of village commissioners in 1930. Mrs. Gibson was very active in community affairs, her pet undertaking being the children's annual May Pole Dance, which she initiated in the 1920's.


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