Memories of the Crossroads
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+9850) 18 years ago
Does anyone have memories of this fabulous supper club they'd like to share? Wedding reception in the Champagne Room? Dancing and Dining? Did you know those old logs came from the Gallatin forest and were old growth? Ah. . .the good old days. . .

--Amorette
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Posted by David Schott (+14460) 18 years ago
It's been so long and I was just a youngster. My grandparents used to take us to the Crossroads for the Sunday night buffet. Seems like they had a buffet two nights per week -- probably Wednesday and Sunday... and they used to refer to the buffet as the "Chuckwagon Buffet" (though it may have been called the "Chuckwagon Buffet" on only one of the two nights they offered a buffet?).

My recollection is their dishware was decorated with various cattle brands and they used paper placemats that were decorated in a similar fashion. Seems like they used to serve a small dish of fruit cocktail with your meal? Anyone remember that or am I dreaming?

Music and dancing. My recollection is that, as a kid, I was bored to tears with the music they had. I swear, Patsy Cline and Gene Autry played at the Crossroads all the time. ; )

I'd love to have the opportunity to experience the Crossroads once more just to remember what it was really like. I haven't seen many photos of the place... I wonder if many exist. The only memento I have is an old Crossroads Inn matchbook. And if I recall correctly their telephone number was 232-9999. : )

Often when I'm in Billings I eat dinner at the Windmill Supper Club. I think it's from that same era and I imagine it's a bit like the Crossroads used to be.

- Dave
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+9850) 18 years ago
Actually, I had forgotten the plates. Yes, it was the "chuckwagon" buffet served off a fake covered wagon. I remember drinking Roy Rogers and Shirley Temples--in the cocktail for the grownups era--and the rotating plate with cut up veg and black olives and pickled herring (which I still think is disgusting) that came with every meal. Ah, memories. . .

It was a busy place, too. When I do the Stardust, some group or another is always doing something out there.

--Amorette
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Posted by Bill Freese (+9) 18 years ago
David,
I notice Amorette Allison, in her reply to you, failed to mention that there are two pictures of a family dining at The Crossroads posted on the web. They can be found at http://www.student.montana.edu/~iedbf/photos/crosrds.htm. The reason I expected Amorette to remember them is because she is in them, sipping a Shirley Temple. And the current principal of Sacred Heart Elementary School can be seen enjoying a Roy Rogers. If you ignore the family in the foreground, you can see a bit of the old Crossroads in the background.

You are right about the fruit cocktail. My favorite was the relish dish that came with significant entrees. You didn't get it with something small, and since I always ordered a lowly burger I would wait hopefully as the adults ordered. Usually someone would order a steak, and that meant everything was OK because they would share the relish dish.

Other things I remember were the big log pillars (visible in one of the photos) the Navajo rugs on the walls, the noisy heating system which made it hard for a kid at one end of the table to hear the adults at the other end (which may have been what the adults had in mind) and a clock over a small bar at one end of the room which had a pendulum that only swung half way. As a kid, I thought that was great.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+9850) 18 years ago
Should I point out who the nifty dresser in the dark-framed glasses is? Remember the coat check? I always thought the coat check was so sophisticated. I miss a coat check.

--Amorette
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Posted by David Schott (+14460) 18 years ago
Those are great pictures! Definitely brings back memories. I assume Bart is the youngster... I'm trying to figure out what he has sitting on the table in front of him in the lower photo.

I'm sure the coat check at the Crossroads was my first exposure to such a concept. Very sophisticated!

One other thing I recall about the Crossroads was they had a cigarette vending machine in the breezeway at the entrance. Seems like after dinner us kids would go out front and play until the adults were ready to leave and I recall trying every lever and button on the cigarette machine.

- Dave
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Posted by Betty O'Brien (+5) 18 years ago
I remember in the early 50's going out to the Crossroad about every night and dancing to Leon Plath and his great orchestra. Also the wonderful meals - getting a shrimp platter for only $1.00 - the buffets were great - I remember a sing-along husband & wife, named Eddie & Enid LaRue. I still have the song book they signed for us and the songs we sang along with them. Francie & Lloyd Mackin were the Hosts at that time. My husband, Eugene O'Brien, would always say every night was Saturday night and Saturday night was New Years Eve. Seemed we danced every night. Remember the floor was a little on the slanty side also - would dance down hill in one spot. Also the crowded rest room - It was a great time and so sorry to see the place gone now - Memories will last forever. Great food and great times were had by all -
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Posted by Jo Anne Plachek Robinson (+4) 18 years ago
My Mother is here visiting me for the Christmas Holiday. I have introduced the internet to her and we decided to look up Miles City. I too am very fond of my Crossroads memories. I remember the large fireplace that was just to the left of the chuck wagon buffet. I think it had a blue flame which would make it a gas fuled fireplace. OR tell me was it wood? Remember those huge shrimp and of couse all you could eat and that wonderful primerib? Loyd in his white outfit cutting you a nice piece. I also remember a large bearskin on the west side of the wall. My father would always ask me if I would like a Shirley Temple for a before dinner drink and I always got 2 cherries. Dad taught me how to do the two step and some steps to the jitterbug out on that slippery dance floor. Do you remember the wagon wheel chandlers and the big Christmas multi color bulbs on them during the Holidays!
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Posted by Bill Freese (+9) 18 years ago
Oh yeah. The bear skin. The wagon wheel chandeliers. The cigarette machine in the entryway. It's all coming back now. As for the acts, my family usually headed for the door as the band was warming up. Didn't like loud music. But my parents friends Bert and Ken Griffin did a magic act there. The only thing I remember about it was that Bert did a fire eating routine. I suppose she probably got sawed in half, too.

There was a nightclub that burned down before my time which I only know from an old photo. Gene Larson has done a print based on it. I think it was called Leon Park. Is there a connection between Leon Park and "Leon Plath and his great orchestra"?
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Posted by Dave Roberts (+1297) 18 years ago
Leon Park's still standing (at least it was last year when I was in Miles) . The last that I recall Dwight talking about it, he didn't remember why it closed, but he didn't mention any fires either.

He did remember a lot the famous big bands and jazz greats that played there while the Hiawatha layed over.

Try to give you directions to get there (it looks like it's private property) but I'll probably get you hopelessly lost. It's on the north side of the tracks. As you head out toward Terry on the old highway, go past the left turn that takes you to the wrecking yards and take the next left..I think..and go a pretty good distance back towards Miles on the dirt road. Leon Park's at the end of the road, on the right, behind a bunch of dead cars and trailers.

I'll try to jog Dwight's memory about it more next time I'm in town. He's getting on in years, but I can probably bribe him with the chokecherry syrup my wife just made.

Dave

[This message has been edited by Dave Roberts (edited 1/11/2002).]
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Posted by H Lockie (+11) 18 years ago
Just wanted to tell you that Leon Park burned down in the 1970's. They suspected arson, but don't believe anyone was ever convicted of it. I danced a million miles at Leon Park in the 50's & 60's and until it burned, and so did a lot of other people.
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Posted by Betty O'Brien (+5) 18 years ago
Just another update on the memories of the Crossroads and now the Leon Park. I sure do remember the Leon Park and it's huge dance floor and one could dance for miles before making the circle around it and the crystal chandelier. I can remember Pop Konkright and his family playing there and at the Crossroads. Leon Plath and his band had music as great as Lawrence Welk as far as I was concerned. I am quite sure he was from Plevna and am also sure he played at many many different areas. I don't think Leon Park had anything to do with Leon Plath - as far as I can remember that place was owned by the Leon Brothers who lived in Miles City. I can also remember many cowboys fighting over a girl or girls outside the place during and after the dances. It was quite hard to get to as you had to go under the RR tracks and make a sharp turn into the parking area.
Oh, for the good old days.
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Posted by Merriam Burke (+11) 17 years ago
I remember the Crossroads Inn. That is were I fell in love with shrimp! They had the best food there. I was also in a style show there when I was 6 or 7, which I remember very well, especially those stiff pettycoats that rattled when you moved!
Merriam (Mohler)
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Posted by KELLY BABCOCK (+189) 17 years ago
Hi guys,
I realize how long it has been since the last post here, but I gotta get my two cents worth in. Leon Parks burned in the sixties. I can't tell you exactly what year, but it was before we left. If my memory serves me right, there was a huge discussion about the fire department not being able to respond because it was across the city line, so the fire department stood on one side of the line and watched it burn to the ground. In my mind, I can still see the fire.
Arson was suspected, and as far as I know there were no arrests. I have a feeling that the powers that be, saw the fire as a way to get rid of a nuisance. Leon Parks was notorious for not checking ID's.
I have a post in the General Discussion forum asking for information on Leon Parks, and would still appreciate talking to anyone that was there, and has any specific information.
Thanx, Kelly
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Posted by Stuart Brown (+5) 16 years ago
The Crossroads was sooo awesome. My memories are from the 60's and 70's...leading up to the sad fire that an idiot from my class was responsible for.

But back to memories:

The "fake" fireplace. I remember staring at the blue (gas) flames, walking up ro it, checking it out etc. I guess a gas fireplace and fake logs were novel back then...at least to me.

Roy Rogers! They made the best Roy Rogers/Shirley temple/kiddie cocktail in the West! My parents must have felt they made the best MARTINI'S in the West if you know what I mean.

The little cattle shaped plastic things stuck in your steak that indicated how it was cooked (medium, rare, etc)

The plastic swords that were stuck through the olives in my parents martinis. I'd also put them over the flame from the candle on the table and melt them just enough to stretch them into weird shaped.

The famous Chuckwagon buffet!

The waitresses...so 60's dinner club-ish! Polite, formal, funny, and knew the meaning of SERVICE (a lost art it seems). Francie, Myrtle...gotta love em!

Remember the sun almost burning your eyes out when you exited the darkened club to the west facing parking lot???

Many many more great memories at the best supper club ever!

Stuart
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Posted by Sharon Cain Clements (+14) 16 years ago
Who will every forget all the fun we had at the Crossroads? I think it is where I really learned how to dance. I also remenber having alot of fun dancing at Leon Park, but the Crossroads was always a little more upscale. I use to go there a lot with a fellow named Geroge Balzano from Boston who was stationed at the radar base. I remember once we even got a big band. I think it was Tex Benakey or someone like that. One other vague memory is modeling for a style show for something at the Crossroads. I found a picture of myself and I had on some kind of velvet sheath with a long coat. Sooooo 1950's. What a wonderful trip down memory lane. Thanks everyone. Sharon Cain Clements CCHS 1954
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Posted by Andy Hanson (+162) 16 years ago
Does anyone remember the gambling that took place at the Crossroads? I can remember sitting at a table while my aunt and uncle, Jessie and George Mott played cards, or moving over to the slot machines or walking into the back room where there was more gambling.
I always thought the Crossroads was the closet Miles City had to real class. The steaks were great, the band fun to listen to and the dance floor huge. Going to the Crossroads for dinner was a real treat for us young Hansons.
It was such a marvelous builing as well, never really that crowded. What a shame it burned down.

Andy Hanson
CCHS 1955
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Posted by Don Thompson (+16) 16 years ago
My dad, Ken Thompson, was an auctioneer and rodeo announcer in Miles City. He auctioned the horses at the Bucking Horse Sale in the 50's and 60's. I remember Teddy Kennedy riding in 1960 while campaigning for his brother, Jack. Does anybody remember the baboon tied to the tree near Tongue River in the 50's during the BHS? I think it belonged to a cowboy from Forsyth. That baboon bit a kid who got too close.
One of the rodeo sites that dad announced was at the Leon Park rodeo grounds next to the Yellowstone River. I have a photo of myself riding a calf at a rodeo there.
In his earlier years, Dad was a card dealer (when only 18) at the Bison Bar. He later tended bar at the Montana Bar. He and his brother Vernon and their dad Sam owned the keglers club and bowling alley for a short time in the early 50's and were the first bowling alley in Montana to install automatic pin setters.
I had lobster for the first time in my life at the Crossroads Inn when I was about 8 years old. We got two tails apiece for $2.50. We'll never see that again!

Don Thompson
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Posted by Barb Plummer (+7) 16 years ago
Have to get my 2 cents in. I remember the CrossRoad very well. As a matter of fact I thought my brother Phil Clark might have written of his escapades there. He used to work in the kitchen with his cousin Ord Clark,I believe. They used to clean shrimp, which Phil can not eat to this day. There was also an incident with a chair over his head but I cannot remember who did the deed. Phil if you read this fill us in. ha ha.
But my best times were at Leon Park. I loved to dance and when I was a senior in high school (56-57) my girfriends Ruth Pearl and Mary Ann Berg would go as often as we could. I remember Frank Stoltz was part owner in it as he knew my dad well and said as long as us girls would not drink alcohol and stayed towards the back we could come and dance any time we wanted, which we did. Some of our dates at that time consisted of the fellows in town hooking up the dial phone systems. What fun and what memories. As a matter of fact that is where I met my husband to be. We continued to go their on week-ends with our friends. Lyle and Dephine Fiechtner, Corky and Carolyn Beehler, Gene and Virginia Vaughn, LeRoy and Boyd Hirsch, and many more. I also remember Lyle Cunningham playing with Bucky Konkright and the song of the day was "Who killed the ___ Damn Cat" to which every one joined in the verse. The good days are gone. I think we had the best of times. Thanks for letting me ramble. Barb Plummer
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Posted by Dean Conklin (+12) 16 years ago
Best memory of the Crossroads: It was NOT delivering stuff from Purity Dairy, where I worked summers in 1953 and 54. It WAS the night we graduated from high school in 1954, and dick DeFrance's parents took about 10 to 12 of us to dinner afterward at the Crossroads -- and we had lobster. Lobster in Miles City in 1954. I know Beryl Bowman was one of the diners, and probably Joanne Smith, Sharon Cain, maybe Dorie. Somewhere around 3 in the morning we were out in the little lake in front of the whorehouse, on a raft. But the highlight, by far, was lobster at the Crossroads.
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Posted by Nick Krumenacker (+22) 16 years ago
One of the best memories of the Crossroads is when Buddy Knox came to Miles City to do a concert. He brought his wife, and I think her name was Peggy Sue, the name sake of an old Buddy Holly tune, which I think was written for her? I remember that night that Donnie Ray South danced most of the night with Peggy Sue, which didn' t seem to set well with Buddy. He did put on a great concert..
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