Mrs. Alfred –
In December of 1896 Mrs. Minnie Alfred operated a restaurant in Randsburg; in January of 1897 she built another building adjoining her restaurant which was 24 x 40 with sleeping rooms in the back. According the Randsburg Miner the restaurant was located on Butte Ave. Minnie was still listed as being in business in the 1898-business directory.
Dunn & Banks — Eureka Chop House
The Eureka Chop House was listed in the Randsburg Miner in December of 1896 as being run by Dunn & Banks. In January of 1897 the cook Mr. William Stone died. While this was the fourth death in the new camp of Randsburg it was the first by natural causes. He must have been a fairly decent cook, as someone “passed the hat” to give the man a decent burial. Mr. Stone may very well have been the first resident of the Rand District Cemetery.
George who was the proprietor of a restaurant in Randsburg in February of 1897 has the dubious distinction of being the victim of the first reported hold up in Randsburg. Mr. Day was on his way home and just off the main street of town he walked between two men who grabbed him by the arms and removed fifty dollars from his pockets. 3
Emily and David Davidson
Emily and David Davidson were married in 1890. In 1895 they moved west to Los Angeles where Emily, who was reported to be a very handsome woman, became involved in an affair with an older man of wealth. Emily and David were divorced and David sued the older man for damages for having alienated the affections of his wife.
While the suit was in progress David and Emily deciding that they were still in love agreed to settle their differences and moved to Randsburg to become business partners in a restaurant. They did not however sustain the relationship of man and wife, and David with Emily’s concurrence returned to Los Angeles. When the damage suit was settled David bought a restaurant in Los Angeles and asked Emily to return to him. She however was not interested and refused to even answer his messages.
On May 19th, 1897 David came to Randsburg by way of the train. Upon arriving in town he went to Emily’s restaurant and became abusive. Marshall Webb offered to have him put under a peace bond, however, Emily refused, as she did not believe that she was in any danger. When Mr. Davidson left the restaurant Emily left shortly thereafter to go to the grocery store across the street. Davidson, who was watching from down the street entered a saloon and went out the back door and down the alley to Emily’s restaurant, where he concealed himself. When Emily started to return to the restaurant he met her in the middle of the street grabbed her around the waist with his left arm and placed a gun to her body with his right hand. He fired two shots into her body and one into her neck, killing her instantly.
David Davidson was immediately arrested for the murder of his wife. The talk of lynching was strong among the local residents, but before they could get organized the lawmen of Randsburg hitched up a team and left town with Davidson, taking him to the train for transport to Bakersfield.
May 20, 1897: “LYNCHERS FOILED BY STRATEGY– Murderer Saved From Mob Violence at Randsburg –ANGRY MINERS NEATLY TRICKED. Their Prey Escapes While They Hasten to a Meeting of Vigilantes. LEADERS HELD AT BAY WITH SHOTGUNS. Exciting: Scene Following: the Brutal Killing of a Woman by Her Ex-Husband. RANDSBURG, Cal-., May 10.— Mrs. Emily Davidson, one of the first women to come to this rough mining camp to seek her fortune, was murdered by her former husband on the main street at II o’clock this morning. Twenty minutes later the murderer was hurried out of town by a posse of citizens’ committee members, just in time to escape a mob which had gathered to lynch him. His guards had little time to spare at that, for the leader of the mob, learning that they had been tricked, were hurrying to prevent the escape of their intended prey, and the men in charge of Davidson were compelled to make a show of arms to drive them back.
It is probable that Davidson would have been lynched within ten minutes after his crime was commuted, but several cool headed citizens sent the mob on a wild goose chase to the Office saloon by telling them that a meeting of the citizens’ committee was to be held there at once to decide the fate of the murderer. While the miners were gathering at the Office, preparations were being made to hurry Davidson to Mojave by team, and before the rough border men knew that they had been the victims of a strategy the assassin and his guards bad started on their way.
For several months the woman had conducted a cheap restaurant on Butte Avenue. Shortly after she opened it Davidson came and took charge of the kitchen. Soon he began to find fault with her management, and about three weeks ago he left for Los Angeles. From, that city Davidson sent many letters and telegrams asking his wife to come to him, but no attention was paid to them. Finally he sent word that, he would come and compel her to return with him. The woman expected trouble, but not of a serious character, and she was not surprised when he appeared this morning. Davidson arrived on the Kramer stage at 10 o’clock and at once went to the restaurant. “I see you’re not glad at my coming,” said the ex-husband when his salutation to her on entering the restaurant was not answered. “I don’t want anything to do with you,” was her reply. Without paving the intruder further notice, Mrs. Davidson went out through the kitchen door to a neighboring store for a bottle of vinegar. Davidson awaited her return, and went out to meet her. She tried to avoid him by crossing the street, but he crossed over after her. On meeting her he said something, and several bystanders heard her exclaim, “No, no.no. no!” Davidson grabbed one of her hands and drew a pistol. The woman struck the weapon aside, and the bullet crashed through the bottle she was carrying. She then tried to shield her face from’ a second bullet, which entered and passed through her right shoulder. As the woman was falling Davidson shot her in the left, side. . The fourth shot was fired at her prostrate body, but missed its mark.
Men who had witnessed the shooting —it was all done so quickly that they had not time to interfere — came running up, and while some seized the assassin and hustled him off to the camp’s jail others raised the dying woman and carried her into the restaurant. She lived but a few minutes. On the way to the lock-up Davidson raved like a madman, declaring that he was crazy and repeatedly calling for a revolver with which to end his life. When searched in his cell another loaded pistol was found on his person.
Soon the news of the brutal murder spread and men came running from all directions. Low muttering 3 soon developed into shouts from the more hot headed ones to hang Davidson at once. The friends of law and order hastily decided to entice the mob away, and passed out word that the Citizens’ Committee would meet at once. In the meantime the citizens’ committee was not idle. A light wagon with the best span of mules in the district was fitted out and held in readiness, while Citizen Fugard went among the people telling them to hurry to the meeting place. Fugard worked his way along Butte Avenue toward the calaboose. On his arrival there the team hove in sight, and a prominent mine-owner, growing suspicious, asked Fugard: “Are you going to take that fellow away?” Fugard looked at his questioner a moment and exclaimed, “What, me? Not much,” and with a look of disgust wended his way to the lockup and ordered the committeemen to hurry. As soon as the prisoner was brought out and hurried into the wagon a cry went up, but Constable Bohannan’s shotgun and the pistols of the other four committee men held the most anxious of the would-be lynchers at bay. The mules were whipped up and dashed out of town, followed by yells of rage from the baffled miners. Davidson was taken to Bakersfield tonight.” –San Francisco Call
Davidson’s attorneys adopted a defense of hereditary insanity and in a sensational trial produced evidence of how happy he had been prior to discovering the infidelity of his wife and how morose and irrational he had become after the discovery. Affidavits were produced that testified to the facts that he had very much loved his wife and that her affair had caused him to become unbalanced. According to the evidence he was in the habit after the affair of wandering the streets of Los Angeles, bareheaded, with his hat in his hand, eyes glaring wildly and muttering indistinctly. A Mr. Hill testified that he had seen Davidson beat his head against a telegraph pole, throw his hat in the sewer, and walk barefooted three or four blocks to the door of the room occupied by Emily and kiss the door mat while wailing over his loss. He also testified that Davidson slept with a wrapper belonging to Emily.
However the defense produced a witness by the name of Mrs. Lyda from Randsburg. Mrs. Lyda stated that Davidson had told her, while residing in Randsburg, that when he was in Los Angeles he knew he was being observed by a private detective because of the pending damage suit for alienation of affections, and therefore he acted accordingly. Mr. Borgwardt, one of the law officers from the Bakersfield jail testified to many small acts of sanity that he had observed and produced a letter that Davidson had wrote to a lady in Los Angeles. This letter stated that the previous letter he had written to her had some strange things in it that he had been directed to write by his lawyer.
On 11 December 1897 David Davidson was found guilty and imprisoned for life. Two days later when Sheriff Borgwardt transported David to jail he showed none of the signs of insanity that he had been feigning since being arrested. It was a cold morning and upon arrival at the depot the Sheriff noticing that David was shivering bought him a hot toddy. Davidson drank it right down and told the Sheriff “I’m gratified to you for that. It’s probably the last drink I’ll ever have.”
Unfortunately life imprisonment was not life imprisonment and the hot toddy was not David’s last drink. Davidson served 10 years and was released in 1908 on parole. Four years later he was arrested in Redding, Cal. after a drinking bout and was sent back to prison. Henry T. Gage who was David’s lawyer during his original trial went on to become Governor of California.
Phillips & Chivers
The Visalia Morning Daily Delta’s correspondent from Randsburg reported in February of 1897 that George Phillips and W. A. Chivers were partners in a restaurant. They ended up in a lawsuit with each other over the business and eventually split the 50-foot lot they occupied.
A photograph in the collection of the Kern County Museum shows the Yellow Aster — Short Orders to be between the Post Office and the Nugget Saloon. This photograph taken before the 1898 fires it thought to be from sometime in 1897.
Barrett & McKenzie –
Listed in the 1898 Business Directory as being in the restaurant business.
According to Roberta Starry in her book Gold Gamble one of the buildings lost in the great fire of May 6, 1898 was the Orpheus Restaurant.
Listed in the 1898 Great Register of Voters, Mr. Mooser was in the restaurant business in Randsburg.
In 1898 Mr. Wagner was listed in the Great Register of Voters as being in the restaurant business in Randsburg.
John and George Tomicich — French Restaurant
John and George Tomicich operated the French Restaurant which was one of the buildings burned in the great fire of May 1898. They reestablished their business and were still operating it when it was burnt again in the fire of 1903. During the period of 1900 to 1903 they were issued liquor licenses and it is assumed that they served liquor in addition to their restaurant business. In 1903 they appeared to be in partnership with Thomas Garrity. After the 1903 fire John remained in business but George is no longer found in the listings. John stayed in business in Randsburg until sometime after 1906. In 1907 he had moved to San Bernardino.
John returned however to Randsburg by 1910 and again was in the restaurant business.
According to the business directory for 1898 a person by the name of Dayton was operating a lunch counter in Randsburg.
Mrs. E. J. Lindsey–
Another restaurant listed in the 1898 business directory was that of Mrs. E. J. Lindsey.
Chris S. McCarthy
Listing a lunch counter as his business, Chris S. McCarthy was entered into the1898 Business Directory, for the town of Randsburg.14
A. H. Marsh
According to the 1898 business directory Mr. Marsh was running a lunch counter in Randsburg.
Barthald & Sorenson — Union Chop House
The Randsburg Miner reported in November of 1900 that Mary Barthald and Carrie Sorenson had taken over the Union Chop House in Randsburg.
The 1900 census shows that Cinda Prewitt was engaged in the restaurant business in Randsburg at the time the census was taken.
Mrs. Moore — Star Restaurant
The Star Restaurant was in business before the disastrous fire of 1903 that wiped out most of the business district in Randsburg. It is not certain when Mrs. Moore became associated with the business, however she is listed as the proprietor in 1906. The restaurant was enlarged in that year and they added ice cream tables. They also featured home baking, and oysters in all styles.
Mrs. S. Woods — Union Restaurant
In July of 1904 Mrs. Woods who was the proprietor of the Union Restaurant severed her relation with that establishment. In August of 1904 Mrs. Woods shut the doors to the Union Boarding House and left for Goldfield, Nev.
William Greenwood — Butte Ave. Dining Hall
The 1904 Great Register of Voters shows Mr. Greenwood as being a hotel keeper. He was also, however in the restaurant business as is evidenced by the advertisement pictured below.
W. J. West
Although shown as a hotelkeeper in 1904 it was rumored that Mr. West was contemplating opening a “thirst parlor” in the Fagan lodging house on Butte Ave. Whether this actually came about or not has not been found out. The next reference to Mr. West came in January of 1913 when the local paper reported the West’s Chop House which was one of the oldest land marks on Butte Ave. was being torn down by Dave Thomson who was going to use the lumber to build a barn.
Randsburg Miners Union No. 44 W. F. M. — Randsburg Union Restaurant
An advertisement in the January 2nd edition of the Randsburg Miner in 1904 shows that the Miners Union was running its own restaurant.
W. I. Hopcroft — Butte Ave. Coffee Saloon
The Butte Ave. Coffee Saloon was in business in 1905. Although containing the word saloon in their name they did not serve any alcoholic beverages. This is confirmed by the report of the fight that occurred when one of the employees of the coffee saloon when to Marguerite Roberts’ place to purchase a beer for a customer to have with their meal. (See My Place Dance Hall).
Mrs. J. A. Fellnagle
In April of 1907 it was reported that Mrs. Fellnagle was to move her restaurant into the Pamperon building which was located on Butte Ave. opposite McCarthy’s Book Store. This building was much larger than the one she was occupying and the move was to take place as soon as the repairs were made. On the 2nd of May it was reported that she had moved into John Tomicich’s building on Butte Ave. 24
According to the 1910 Census Mr. Thompson was restaurant keeper in Randsburg.
Francis W. Wilson –
The Great Register of Voters lists Mr. Wilson’s occupation as restaurant keeper in 1910.
G. Gomez — Bon Ton Cafe
Mr. Gomez appears to have been the only black businessman in Randsburg in the early days. He ran the Bon Ton Restaurant, which he sold to Albert Bole in July of 1912. The Randsburg Miner reported that after he sold his business he had a celebration in which he took on a bit much to drink and ended his spree with a fitting display of fireworks. Judge Maginnis fined him $25 after a jury trial.
Albert C. Bole — Bon Ton Restaurant
A. G. Bole is listed in the 1908 business directory as being the proprietor of a restaurant. Mr. Bole was later associated with the Houser House Hotel in 1910. He left town sometime after that and returned in May of 1912 and purchased the Bon Ton Restaurant from G. Gomez. He ran this restaurant until the death of his wife in 1914. His wife, known as Aunt Minnie, was 56 years old when she passed on. She is buried in the Randsburg Cemetery in Johannesburg.
J. P. Christensen — Calvert Restaurant — Randsburg Restaurant — Pete’s Restaurant
In February of 1912 J. P. Christensen purchased the Calvert Restaurant. It is thought that he changed the name to the Randsburg Restaurant. In March of that year Mr. Victor Lypps purchased a half interest in the business. In August of 1912 Mr. Christensen purchased the Butte Ave. Lodging House from H. B. Dodson. In September of 1914 he was apparently still running this in conjunction with Pete’s Restaurant as the advertisement in the paper stated that there were 25 rooms in the lodging house associated with the restaurant. In October of 1914 he purchased the Bon Ton from Albert Boles2
Mollia Geneva Barr
It is assumed that M. G. Barr was a woman. The Great Register of Voters listed this unusual name as belonging to a restaurant keeper in Randsburg in 1912.
A. T. Rose — Rose’s Restaurant
Mr. A. T. Rose was in the restaurant business in Randsburg prior to March of 1912, at which time he sold out to Mrs. Lawrence and moved to Los Angeles. In April of 1912 it was reported that he was visiting his son in New Orleans and had decided to open a restaurant in that city.
Lucy May Lawrence
Mrs. Lawrence bought out A. T. Rose’s restaurant in March of 1912. In May of 1912 Mrs. O. E. Lawrence and family from Park City, Utah, joined her. Mrs. O. E. Lawrence enjoyed the reputation of being an excellent cook and was to supervise the culinary department of the Lawrence restaurant. This apparently did not work out as she and her family moved to Long Beach in June of 1912. Mrs. Lawrence sold her restaurant to Mrs. Glynn at the end of July in 1912.
Mrs. James Glynn
In the latter part of July 1912 Mrs. Glynn bought our Mrs. L. M. Lawrence and entered the restaurant business in Randsburg. In an article that appeared in the Randsburg Miner at the time Mrs. Glynn stated:
“I take great pleasure in announcing to the public that I have taken over the management of the restaurant formerly conducted by Mrs. M. Lawrence. A trial will convince you of my tasty palatable home-cooking and quick service. Your patronage solicited– Mrs. James Glynn. “
The restaurant closed for business in September of 1913. 33
Wesley B. and Jennie Arenhalt — Home Restaurant
W. B. Arenhalt was originally in business in Randsburg prior to May of 1905 when he left to go to Tonopah Nevada to go into the restaurant business. He returned to Randsburg prior to January of 1914 when he was engaged in running a boarding house in Randsburg. In December of 1915 he was advertising his business as being the Home Restaurant next door to the Maginnis Hotel, where you could obtain the best and cleanest meals in the camp for $1.00 per day. Jennie was still listed as being a restaurant keeper in the 1916 Great Register of Voters. 3
Will Page — White House Lunch Room
In April of 1915 Mr. Page was advertising his White House Lunchroom. The ad makes a statement about the basement of Dickinson’s Saloon, but it is not clear whether the restaurant was located in the basement or the Saloon was in the basement. The saloon had at one time been in the basement. The White House Saloon still stands and is in business on Butte Ave. in Randsburg. 3
Miss Laura Nicholson — O.K. Restaurant
The September 15, 1915 issue of the Randsburg Miner contained an announcement that Miss Laura Nicholson of Taft had opened the O. K. Restaurant in Randsburg and was ready to provide first class service and meals to all.
George Henry Abbott –
The 1916 Great Register of Voters showed Mr. Abbott’s occupation to be that of a restaurant man in Randsburg.
George E. Kelley –
The 1918 Great Register of Voters showed George Kelley’s occupation to be that of a restaurant man in Randsburg.
Mrs. Jannie Hollowell–
Mrs. Hollowell was listed in the 1920 through 1924 Great Register of Voters as a restaurant keeper.
This restaurant occupied a large building which was situated between the Houser Hotel and The Palace on Butte Ave.
THE RAND DISTRICT NEWS, 6-7-22 — ADVERTISEMENT
A REGULAR MEAL
THE RAND DISTRICT NEWS, 6-7-22 — ADVERTISEMENT
B & G CAFE
A GOOD PLACE TO EAT
Club House Cafe
The Club House Cafe advertised in the Rand District Miner section of the Barstow Printer in July of 1922. They claimed to be Randsburg’s leading cafe, serving a la carte and regular meals. They had special chicken dinners, fresh fish and oysters.
Thomas F. Garrity
By 1924 Thomas had left the hotel business and was listed as being a restaurant keeper.
Mrs. Bertha Welch
In 1924 Mrs. Welch was listed in the Great Register of Voters as being a restaurant keeper.
Alvie C. Williams
The 1922 Great Register of Voters shows Alvie as a Restaurant Keeper in Randsburg.
Mrs. Clara McCann — Mc’s Place
Mc’s Place was a short order restaurant featuring steaks, chops and chili. According to the advertisement in the local paper they prided themselves on cleanliness, and prompt courteous service with the best coffee in town.
White House Café—John Backer
An advertisement appearing in the November 10, 1917 edition of the Golden State Miner stated that the White House Café was now open day and night and served lobsters, shrimps, and oysters anytime.
White House Cafe — Mrs. M. Perron
The White House Cafe was advertised in the January editions of the Randsburg Times.
October 31, 1923: “Carpenters are now building up the sides of the White House dance pavilion opposite the post office. With the finishing of the roof, which will follow, the large room will be warm and cozy and right for the next Business Men’s monthly smoker.”—Bakersfield Californian