Semes Honored as Grand Marshals for Parade
The term Grand Marshal is a ceremonial title of very high honor. So it seems only fitting that Pastime Saloon owners Roy and Jerry Seme would carry the honor of Grand Marshals for this year’s Boom Days Parade. After all, when your family name has carried on the last operating business on old State Street for over 75 years, it should be worth a little feather in your cap . . . or boa!
For those unfamiliar with its history, the Pastime is the last operating saloon on old notorious State Street, now 2nd Street, where there was once 64 saloons. Built in 1878, the building served as a dance hall and gambling saloon and its early history cites numerous name and ownership changes, including Maxey Tabor, son of Horace Tabor.
In 1879, it was the Antheneum Theater. In those early days it was considered the most popular, most spectacular amphitheater in Leadville. During this short-lived entertainment craze, amphitheaters offered physical endurance contests – male and female running and walking matches. The races, the prizefights and the wrestling bouts were often special Sunday afternoon features. At the Antheneum (Pastime), one of the popular acts was a trapeze artist trundling a wheelbarrow back and forth across the tightrope which stretched out inside the building – above peoples’ heads!
Since the 1920s, the Pastime was been characterized by owners who did not buy and sell overnight, riding out the ups and downs of business in Leadville. During the Camp Hale days army officials had declared State Street off-limits due to its lingering “red light district” reputation. This made it perfect for local people to find an uncrowded place for dining, drinking and dancing, especially on Saturday night.
Over the years, old State Street was plagued by a series of fires, taking a building or two at time until most of the old bordellos and gambling halls vanished into history. The early 1950s brought the last great fire, which left standing only the Pastime and the Pioneer.
In 1938, Frank (Roy’s father) Seme purchased the building and business, renaming it the Pastime Bar and Café. The business’ hospitality and popularity continued into the 1950s. At one time, there were 13 girls on the floor and two bartenders.
The Pastime has remained in the Seme family ever since. Current owner Roy and his wife Jerry have kept up the family tradition, with their daughters Lorinda, Tina and Tammy for over 50 years.
Today’s Pastime is still one-of-a-kind. So stop in to see the family, grab a buffalo burger and cold beer and talk about the good old days!