In June when I drove up to Kalyna Country, one of the small towns I stopped in was Vilna, Alberta. The town has done a beautiful job of preserving and restoring its old pool hall and barbershop. I simply HAD to stop and see it because, you know, I DO love playing pool!
Built in 1921, the structure also contained the town's barbershop at the front of the building. These counters and cabinets are all original and now display various artefacts of past times.
A restored barber's chair sits facing a small sink and mirrors in an alcove near the wood-burning stove which heated the building in the winter.
The pool hall still features its four original turn-of-the-century pool tables -- the two large ones at the back for snooker and the two smaller ones at the front for billiards. When not in use, the tables are covered so as to keep the felt in good condition. The ceiling and walls are the original wooden lathe construction. The building also has its original oiled wood floors (oiled periodically to keep the dust down).
The pool hall and barbershop were, of course, an exclusively male bastion for much of its history. No women allowed!
According to the town's website:
There were lots of fights in the pool hall. "The walls were red with blood" from time to time and several cues were broken. Women never entered the pool hall in the early days, as it was "no place for a lady".
However, ladies were allowed to enter an associated dance hall in which live bands apparently played "snappy music" -- but it soon burned down after some riotous event and was not rebuilt.
The pool hall still has many of its original cues and balls, along with their respective cabinetry. In the old days, it cost 5 cents for a game of billiards using Boston balls (solids and stripes) and 10 cents for a game of snooker.
You can see the cabinet's antique veneer in this (sorry, kinda crooked) close-up, plus the old Boston balls mixed in with the newer ones. The old balls have larger numbers, circled in black.
Unfortunately, My Rare One was in Manitoba at the time so she was not on this trip with me, or we definitely would have rented a table to play a couple of games! Because yes, this is STILL a FUNCTIONING pool hall, not just a recognized historical attraction!
[All photos © Debra She Who Seeks, June 2017]