Looking into the past

Well-traveled mirror gives glimpse into history of Oak Creek

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— The mirror hung in Spiro Callas' shed for years, unseen by anyone except his family.

"I had no place to put it," said Callas, a longtime Oak Creek resident. "It's an heirloom, and I thought I could find a better place to put it than my shed."

Callas talked it over with his family and agreed to donate the antique mirror to the Historical Society of Oak Creek and Phippsburg.

The mirror has three 2-foot-by-4-foot panels and advertisements from days gone by.

The mirrors are held in the frame by black-painted wooden slats made from orange crates. Jammed between the wooden slats and the frame of the mirror is a shipping address to W.C. Marmaduke, Oak Creek, Colo.

Marmaduke's Tonsorial Parlors was established in Phippsburg sometime between 1908 and 1910 and moved to Oak Creek about 1911.

A tonsorial parlor is a barbershop. Marmaduke changed the name to City Barbershop in 1912.

The mirror then moved next door to the original Antlers Bar in Oak Creek, which later became a pool hall and coffee house. In 1924, it was named the Greek Coffee House.

In the late 1920s, the building changed back into a billiards place called the Oak Creek Pool Hall.

In the 1930s, Pete Callas, Spiro's uncle, put a barbershop in the northeast corner of the building calling it "Pete's Place."

After World War II, the Veterans of Foreign Wars used the building, until the group opened another building across the street.

The mirror stayed near the front window of the building even while it was vacant for a while.

It remained there when Spiro Callas turned the building into what is now Spiro's Trading Post. Some years ago, he took the mirror and put it in his shed where it remained until his donation.

The only problem for the historical society is that the society doesn't have a place to display the mirror. So the mirror, along with an old slot machine and more of the society's antiques, are being displayed in Town Hall.

Oak Creek Mayor Cargo Rodeman doesn't mind.

"It's just awesome," Rodeman said. "There's so much history in that mirror, it's just amazing. We didn't want it to go right back into a shed."

Rodeman is working with the Historical Society to find grant money to renovate the old town hall and convert it into a museum.

The Historical Society keeps an office in the building and members meet there weekly to identify and catalog pictures and artifacts.

The renovations necessary to convert the building into a museum would cost about $200,000, Historical Society Treasurer Nancy Peckham said.

Peckham said there are more items such as the mirror in storage throughout the community.

"It's a shame these things are sitting in a shed," Peckham said. "But, we're certain we'll get a museum one of these days. Otherwise, we'll sit here with a collection and nowhere to put it."

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