Schellbourne Bar, Café and Casino
By Keith Gibson
Whenever I travel north from McGill and pass the Schellbourne establishment, my thoughts go quickly to the fun times at that place. It was run by Lyman and Charlcia Rosenlund. It was a full time deal with them and they lived right next door. Charlcia put out some great meals. Lyman did the bartending and pumping the gas at the two pumps directly in front of the place. You could have any kind of gas you wanted as long as it was either regular or ethyl. Charlcia served her huge meals on the table in the small dining room. Nothing fancy, just good food.
Lyman manned the bar along with the help of his friendly, lifelike Indian mannequin, that was always sitting at the far end of the bar. There was a huge painting of the Pony Express route and the names of the riders, on the north wall.. In the corner was an original telegraph pole form the first telegraph line in the nation.
The casino consisted of two or three slot machines by the front window. One time a tourist was playing the quarter machine and not having any luck. He finally got very disgusted and hollered to Lyman, ”when was the last time anybody got a jackpot on this machine”?. Now Lyman was a very calm and easy going individual, but at times he could change. He hollered back at the tourist, “I don’t remember. but it’s on his tombstone out behind the place”.
One time a bunch of McGill renegades had been fishing and stopped in for a beer or two or three. We were sitting at the bar when Lyman pointed out the front window. A tourist had parked his car up next to the highway and was walking across the large dirt parking lot. Lyman hurried from behind the bar and locked the front door. He told us to be quiet and stay away from the big picture window. The guy tried the door several times and then started knocking. Lyman cracked open the door and asked what he wanted. “Just wanted to get a cold beer”, the guy replied. Lyman asked him to show his membership card. They guy, dumbfounded stepped back and looked all around and then asked, “out here, this is a private club”?. We all started laughing and Lyman let the guy in. He looked around and then started cackling himself. He said that was the funniest thing to happen to him in many years.
The locals liked to sit at the end of the bar next to the fake Indian that was perched on a stool and leaning on the bar. If a likely looking victim came in and sat at the other end of the bar, Lyman would give us all a drink including the Indian and the intended victim. Pretty soon the victim would tell Lyman to set us all up, including the Indian. Lyman would set us up and pretend to talk with the Indian and then tell the tourist that the Indian thanked him. It was hard to tell that the Indian was a stuffed mannequin from a distance. All of us pretended to talk with him. Usually the guy would come down to talk to us and then break into howls of laughter. It just proves that Americans have a great sense of humor. I have a nice picture of the Indian sitting at the bar.
Now Lyman was the strongest man I ever met. He was tall and had grown up on a ranch and worked as a hard rock miner, hand drilling blast holes, as a youngster. One night a tourist got belligerent and Lyman told him to leave, as he never ever put up[ with that stuff. The guy told Lyman to step out from behind the bar. Nobody in their right mind would ever say that to Lyman. Lyman put one hand on the bar and in one swift jump cleared the bar and landed beside the man. The guy left in a hurry.
There are a million stories about the fun times at this place. It is a shame that it is not still open. It is an honor to have known and been around such great folks as Lyman and Charlcia. They were truly one of a kin