Thursday, March 8, 2018

Rimrock Bunkhouse Band

Romaine Lowdermilk and his Bunkhouse Band were one of the featured
entertainers at the October 8, 1939, dedication of the W.W. Midgley Bridge.
(Editor's Note: Below is a transcription of a letter sent by Romaine Lowdermilk to Grace Sparkes, Secretary for the State Route 79 Association, regarding a performance at the bridge dedication.  Source citation is located at end of post.)

Dear Grace, We have been up on the Mountain at our Summer Ranch on the Long Valley road about 6 miles south of Mormon Lake.  Phones, Wires and letters get us at Mormon Lake, so no wonder you couldn't phone us here as the few left down here during the Summer are seldom near the phone.

However, we are all down here for the winter and can ketchum all calls from now on.
Although this is not a photo of the actual Bunkhouse Band that performed at the bridge dedication,
changes are very good that the  musicians that day looked very much like Lowdermilk's group above.
Also we'll bring the Bunkhouse Band over to the bridge and give you a couple of blastts on the ram's-horn Sunday, October 8th.  We'll bring about the following:
  1. Bob Thomas - violin
  2. Trilby Gillespie - Fiddle
  3. Leon Crane - Guitar
  4. Paul Webb - Guitar
  5. Louis Quiram - Banjo
  6. Romaine - String Bass
The correct geographical name of this orchestra is "Romaine Lowdermilk and his Bunhouse Band"," from Rimrock, Arizona.  But it can be designated by other names while, and after, being heard.  Usually we take along just two pieces of sheet music -- "Hell amongst the Yearlin's" and "After the Bawl".  By turning this music crosswise, endwise and upside-down we're able to play 8 complete and different pieces.  Here lately we're wore the music in two at the folding place and now have sixteen new pieces by turning the half-sheets this way and that and mixing then up half of one and half of t'other, upside, sidewise and crosswise until the selection is practically unlimited.

So we'll see you Oct. 8th in beautiful Oak Creek Canyon at the place nearest the barbecue stand.  Looking forward to seeing you and several others.

The original letter from which the above transcription was made is located in the Northern Arizona University Cline Library Special Collections.  The library call number is: AHS.ND.854. The letter is filed with hundreds of other letters and documents all relating to the the Midgley Bridge dedication.  We will be featuring the other event entertainers (and much, much more) as time permits.

Romaine Lowdermilk was actually a famous national celebrity at the time of the bridge dedication.  Romaine's life story is fascinating.  The best account we've found (so far) is located here: 

Another account can be found:

No comments:

Post a Comment