A rainy day with the Fillmore billiard room in the background in 1926.
World Series scorecard at the pool hall in 1944.
Centro de Salud around 1983 in the old billiard hall building.
Chili Franklins billiard room circa 1910.
First photo of a pool hall in Fillmore. One of three one-story buildings in the center.
Jims billiard room circa 1940.
Centro De Salud after the 1994 earthquake.
Courtesy of the Fillmore History Museum
Many years ago, long before equal rights for women, there was clear discrimination nationwide regarding âpool hallsâ. I don’t think the girls or women really cared that they weren’t allowed to spend their 5 cents on a coke in the pool hall. After all, there were plenty of other places where Coke, Candy, and Ice Cream Soda were available.
Fillmore had four documented billiard rooms over the years. Music Man, âyou will recall that the major plot problem was the arrival of a pool table at the local pool hall.) In Fillmore, the first pool hall was built in the late 1880s or more. in the early 1890s. It was one of three buildings constructed soon after the arrival of the railway and the place where a broken oil lamp combined with an easterly wind burned most businesses from Main Street during the 1903 fire. Another billiard room was also a public bath and was located on Santa Clara St. between Central Ave. and Palm St. One of the best documented billiard halls belonged to Charles Cleveland “Chile” Franklin in 1910 and was located at 340 Central just north of the theater. The sign above the entrance read “Oasis, Sodas, Lunches”. Upstairs was the Odd Fellows Hall. In the 1920s, an ice rink was installed on the second floor where Odd Fellows Hall was located. According to Mose Fine, the rink was a popular place for hockey games with locals and visiting teams from Santa Paula. It was also a popular spot for weekly dances, but by the 1930s it was gone. This building became Briggs Hardware. The ice rink and dance hall were damaged in the Sylmar earthquake in 1971 when a 70-foot piece of the upstairs wall fell on the roof and inside Martha’s clothing store. The second floor has been completely removed and refurbished as a one-story building. The wooden dance floor and skating rink still remains under the reconstructed roof giving it a double ceiling.
The 1920s saw another working pool hall. Jim Ipswitch bought the business, then known as Fillmore Billiard Parlor, in 1923. It was located on the west side of Central Ave. in a building built in 1915 and originally used as an electrical and auto parts store. It was the billiard room referenced in the history of the onion race several weeks ago. The runner, “Whitie” Fitzsimmons, who won the race, was unable to win the top prize, but Jim collected from the billiard room patrons and provided him with candy, coke and milk. -shakes for the next three or four months. . (This story can be found in Mose Fine’s book.)
In 1940, Jack Ipswitch with a partner, Mr. Burrell, bought the billiard room from his father, Jim. Around this time, the name of the Billiard Parlor was changed to Amusement Parlor, but it was still a pool hall.
According to Elaine McMaster Ipswitch, “the cars lined up on Friday and Saturday nights, and the men would come in and pick up shakes, malts, cokes and sundaes and deliver them to the women who waited in the cars while the men played. billiards. During lunch hour at school, they would have 50 malt containers filled with ice cream and milk, waiting to be mixed with a chosen flavor and stirred in the machine. The flavors were vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, cherry, pineapple. It was the time when the high school had an open campus. English teacher Gladys Hackbarth once told Ron Ipswitch “that the teachers at Fillmore High School approve the entry of the” Fillmore Boys into the pool hall “because no alcohol was served and Jim would kick out. who cares about the damn. “
âDuring the World Series, a plywood board was installed with painted lines indicating the bases and a scoreboard with the runs, hits, hits and balls and the score, as received over the radio. There were penny boards with 25 punch outs, punched with a match. You could buy 1 to 25 and win a pack of cigarettes.
âNear the front of the billiard room was a pot-bellied stove surrounded by a large brass ring that always glowed red during winter. The breeders would provide the wood. On either side of the billiard room were two small businesses, a barber shop owned by George Palmer and a shoe repair shop owned by “Doc” Maxwell.
âIn 1953, Jack sold the pool hall to Lewis Steelsmith who also owned a pool hall in Santa Paula. Steelsmith ultimately sold to Kenny Rogers. And finally, it belonged to Dan Bowlin.
While girls were never welcome in the billiard room, they often went to George Palmers’ hairdressing salon where a “Dutch” door opened into the billiard room. From this opening, they could order coke or sodas without setting foot in the âforbiddenâ zone.
In 1983 Kenny Roger sold the building to El Centro de Salud Familiar. The Northridge earthquake in 1994 put an end to the story when the building was badly damaged and had to be demolished.
Much of our information for this story was provided by Ron and Elaine Ipswitch. As with much of our local history, we depend on information from residents present and past. If you have any stories to tell us, give us a call or email us and let us know. We would love to hear from you. Our email is [email protected]