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Site of "Durant's Restaurant" today

Tom Butler shares some poignant memories of the popular gathering place:

"In the early or mid 1950's, Ray and Fran Riding purchased the place, and that is when my memories really began. It was the place to be on Saturday nights especially. The jukebox never stopped playing, the dance floor was jammed, and excitement reigned supreme. There were bunny hops with thirty or forty people trailing in and out of the building, regardless of rain, sleet or snow. Emulating a very popular western television show of that time called Rawhide, Denny Lamos of Long Lake, would arrange six or more chairs on top of three or four tables, and he would be the stagecoach driver with make believe whip, horses, and gee hawing from the passengers seated behind him. A wild, loud and fantastic time was had by all.'

It was the time of our youth, and the place was packed on weekends. The living was better than good. Whenever we could, we coaxed Basil to play the piano. His tickling of the keys was hot, fast, beautiful and accurate. At times, he needed a pail of water handy, or perhaps a fire extinguisher, in case OSHA ever visited the place, as his playing was indeed very intense. On Saturday or Sunday afternoons, there were many impromptu jam sessions when musicians from all over the area gathered and played country, rock, bluegrass, jazz and blues. The good times rolled, but then, even faster, they ran away from us. When Basil retired, his daughter, Nat, took over management for a few years still serving delicious food and friendship, but the wild times had become a bit more sedate. After Nat closed the bar, it sat vacant for a long period of time.

"The establishment has been a mainstay in our community, and we wish the new proprietors every success, and hope they will have memories as many of us have, when they reach their golden years."

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