Aug 20

Pozo Saloon


August 7, 1971

The Pozo Saloon has been a local watering hole for over a century and though the music has changed the saloon would still be recognizable to a time traveler from the 1800′s. The they might not be ready  for Ice Cube or Rat Dog (the band of Grateful Dead member Bob Weir). Let them knock the dust off their boots and have a beer and perhaps they will give the 21st century a chance.

This story was written as the bar was put up for sale.

Pozo watering hole on the block
By Jack Magee
Staff Writer

Television’s “Gunsmoke” star–shopping in the Pozo area for a ranch a few months ago–might be interested instead in this prospect.
The old Pozo Saloon, a watering-place before the turn of the century, is for sale.
It compares favorably with Marshal Matt Dillon’s Longbranch hangout. And Pozo is a lot more scenic than Dodge City, though perhaps not quite so turbulent–at least nowadays.
Owner Paul E. Merrick is asking $27,500 with $12,000 down for the place, including a big barbecue pit in the rear and a good well on about two acres.
The marshal in the long running western series–James Arness–comes to mind as a potential buyer because he reportedly dropped in for a few beers and chili last May.
He apparently liked the atmosphere–maybe his roll is rubbing off onto his real life–because he stopped there twice.

Gunsmoke was a popular televison western that ran for 20 seasons.

Pozo’s old wooden bar was believed to have come around Cape Horn on a sailing ship in 1860. The bar had been a fixture in the  Cosmopolian Hotel In San Luis, later the location of St. James Hotel, J.C. Penny and now Ross.

Built in 1858 the Pozo saloon’s walls were hung with old photographs and campaign posters of bygone county politicians. Live Western entertainment was scheduled for Saturday nights and an old disconnected crank phone hung from one wall, one of the first National cash registers ever made and a photograph of president Warren G. Harding.

The owner Paul Merrick, then age 70,  had an ownership stake in the site since 1961. Merrick had spent 8 years as  sheriff and 4 years as county supervisor.  The tavern had been shuttered for 40 years when he bought out principal owner Cipriano (Zip) Arrebelo in 1966.

Arebelo had been the contract mail driver for 37 years covering the 200 mile route in an Edsel. Zip’s father Billy had acquired the saloon around 1900 from original owner Frank Herrera.

They had a photo of the bar showing a young woman wearing a holstered pistol and a soldier at her side that looked to be from the 1890′s the large cottonwood tree in front is a sapling in the photo.

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