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The Insufficiency of the Bucket of Blood Ordinance

front page of Transcript with headlines announcing proposed ordinance for curfew and regulation on 3.2 beer
Headline from the May 13, 1943 Colorado Transcript

81 Years (and one day) Ago
The May 13, 1943 Colorado Transcript led with the lurid headline, “Citizens Consider ‘Bucket of Blood’ Ordinance Insufficient: Men and Women Petition City Council for Protective Regulations for Children.”

That Golden citizens are thoroughly aroused over what they have seen happening on the streets, in alleys, and in places of refreshment and amusement at hours when young children should be at home with their parents, was evidenced last Friday night when the Golden City Council chambers were crowded to overflowing with men and women…urging that ordinances be passed and enforced which will discourage and decrease juvenile delinquency.
Colorado Transcript – May 13, 1943

Golden in the 1940s

Wow! What awful things were happening to Golden’s children in 1943?

The article goes on to explain that parents were concerned that teenagers (not precisely “young children”) were playing pool and drinking 3.2% beer in Golden. Representatives from “the Big Four” (the Chamber, the PTA, the Kiwanis, and the Lions) all petitioned City Council to establish a curfew and fund a supervised summer recreation program so that Golden’s youth would have wholesome alternatives to pool and beer.

The appeals were successful. A supervised summer recreation program was funded and a curfew of 9:30PM was established for children aged 18 and younger.

But what was the “Bucket of Blood?” To learn about that, we need to go back to…

104 Years (and one day) Ago
The May 13, 1920 Colorado Transcript announced that 40 prominent women had spoken to City Council in support of a “Cabaret Ordinance.” The new law would require cafes and restaurants to apply for a permit, pay a license fee, and provide letters of commendation by “two reputable citizens of the city.” Businesses that sold only food would be assessed modest fees. Businesses that also offered dancing, music, card-playing or other entertainments would pay much higher permit fees.

The Bucket of Blood was in the approximate location of the current Buffalo Rose

The goal of the worthy citizens was to close down one particularly disreputable business on Washington Avenue called the “Bucket of Blood.” That establishment evidently offered “dancing, music, card-playing or other entertainments.” Worse still, it was reputedly frequented by people from Denver.

The ordinance passed, and the offending Bucket of Blood closed a month later.

The Transcript was such a respectable newspaper, and such a Golden booster, that it’s nearly impossible to find any evidence of historic vice. Sometimes, though, we can infer its presence by tracking new ordinances as they arise.

105 Years Ago
In 1919, Council passed an ordinance stating that “no bawdy house, house of ill-fame, house of assignation, or place for the practice of fornication, or common ill-governed or disorderly house, dance hall, road-house or cafe with dance hall in connection, or cabaret shall be kept or maintained within the limits of the City of Golden.”

Was that ordinance passed in response to existing businesses, or was Council just anxious that no such businesses come to Golden? On this issue, the Transcript is mum.

Thanks to the Golden History Museum for providing the online cache of historic Transcripts, and to the Golden Transcript for documenting our history since 1866!