Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Athol Daze R Us

Were all hyped for Athol Daze, especially since it is the centennial. The parade starts at 10:00 am with two and possibly three bands playing. The Albeni Falls Pipe band will lead off, with the Shadle Park High School Band playing as well. There are rumors that a Civil Air Patrol band will appear. Along with the usual floats and horseback riders, we will have a Llama, two camels and many other things as well. As thankful as we are to have the Shadle Park Band, one wonders where our local high schools are when needed.

The two surviving members of the mid-sixties Athol all women fire brigade, Chief Joreen Bohn, and Vicki Upchurch. Joreen is also a former Mayor and city council member as well. They will be riding the Farragut State Park Navy fire engine, a 1942. While not the same one as in the Athol department, it was also a 1942, a Dodge. February 1966 marked the organization of the Athol Fire Department under Chief Joreen Bohn. Shortly thereafter, the city purchased an old 1942 Dodge Fire truck. As the Chief put it, “Most of the men were working either in the woods, the mill, or for the railroad. Those that were left in town were either old, disabled or drunk.” The department originally had seventeen members, but as all volunteer organizations, some dropped out, or had babies. There were, however always a core group which was composed of Chief Bohn, Ruth Hunter-Ewing, Marie Allen and Vicki Upchurch.

The original settler in Athol was A.H. Noble, in 1892. A Northern Pacific Railway watering stop and section gang shacks followed, and a town was born. The church across the street from the Athol city Park was originally a Baptist Church, built in 1901.

Saturday, after the parade, will be a fair at city park. Shown above, is a picture of the church as it originally looked.

After the fair in the park there will be a knockout,call the cops, jam session organized by Larry James at the Legion starting about 4:00 pm. A reunion of the Hwy 54 band, complete with all of the singers and instrumentalists will appear as well as the Bell's. The Bells will also be playing in the park prior to the jam. Every musician that is of any stature at all in the area will be participating. All in all, not bad for free entertainment all day long, eh?

Oh and don't forget, for you folks that don't want to fix breakfast Saturday morning. Timberlake Fire district is holding a pancake breakfast from 8:00 am to 10:00 am, at which time you'll be watching the parade.

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