Monday, August 15, 2011

A Token of my Appreciation

I love tokens.  I have many different kinds - tax tokens, ration tokens, bus tokens (more on those in a later post!)...but I just got these at the La Crosse Antique Center about a week ago.

Aren't they cool?  I love that they're all different colors.  And of course, I have to wonder if the Midway Bar at 163 Copeland Ave. still exists? (Actually, no need to wonder - a quick search and I see that it is now Sloopy's Alma Mater Tavern, which, from what I read in the review, has great burgers!)

There is something so satisfying about tokens - the neat "clicking" sound when you stack them up in your hand, not unlike playing with your poker chips while sitting at the Blackjack table (so I'm told); the fact that they're a little bit of history printed right on the plastic (or in some cases, metal); their size and, in the old ones, their heft (the new ones tend to be a little cheaper plastic).

In the case of these particular tokens, I want to know what the trade would be for - I can only assume drinks, but what kind of trade would 5 cents get you?  When I saw that, I bet that these were from the 50s or 60s - anytime after that, and a nickel off of something would've cost them more to print the token!  I also wonder if perhaps this bar was attached to a motel - a Midway Motel, maybe?

And speaking of tokens, I also have these:

I love these.  I never was able to give them back because I stopped going to The Classic Cut when my good friend and FANTASTIC stylist Dawn Whittaker transferred to Sanopelo, the salon where she currently works (and I'll follow her anywhere!).  If memory serves, when you collected five of these tokens your haircut would be free.

Just holding these, you can feel the difference in weight compared to the bar tokens.  You get the feeling that they may warp if left out in the sun.  But no matter - they're still really cool.

I haven't used either of these in my art yet, but I plan on it!  These are too awesome to be left in a drawer.  The only question is, which side do I use, or will I have to devise a plan so that both sides are visible?  That gives me an idea....stay tuned!  :D

1 comment:

  1. The Midway bar was located, as you have determined, on Rose Street and the intersection of Monitor Street, midway between what was originally La Crosse and North La Crosse,  North La Crosse was eventually annexed and ceased to be its own separate entity, although locals still refer to the general area north of Monitor Street as 'North La Crosse'.

    It was, to my knowledge, never attached to a motel of any sort.  It was your standard working-man's bar where one could stop in after work for a shot and a beer.  Your tokens do, in fact, date to the 1950s, when a short glass of tap beer could be purchased for only a nickel.

    The bar itself also went through a couple of name changes and expansions, as well as various owners, before eventually becoming Sloopy's Alma Mater.  And this is by no means uncommon in this area.  I sometimes think there is an obscure law on the books which says that a bar must change name or ownership at least once in a five-year period; there are some exceptions, of course, but they are far rarer than one might think.