We met Marshall at the opening reception of YORK, when that work was shown at MCPAG this past year. He remembered the York Hotel from when he was a child, and his father worked there for 30 years, starting in about 1950.
Marshall is deaf, and did not speak – so we communicated as best we could through notes that afternoon.
What struck us both about our conversation with him was how much of the history of Edmonton was held within the walls of the hotel, and how one individual’s memory held the key that tied that now-lost place to that history … and it became apparent through what Marshall shared with us that he felt shaped by his experiences there. The York was part of him, too.
Below, you’ll find our written conversation, in sequential order.
“My dad used to work as the clerk in York Hotel, so her worked there for 30 years”
“I remember that York Hotel looked very nice and big …nearest Black Smith for horse & Hawrelak own his company as Prairie Pop Co”
“I alway[s] go to Pop Co so Hawrelak asked me who is he so he laughed at me and I take free pop to drink”
“I sometime go to the York to drink & keep my grandpa good company. so he lived nearest York Hotel. My Dad was proud of Eskimo players alway[s] hang the York Hotel to drink”
“Jackie Parker, John Bright, Rollie Miles, Kwong … I can’t remember any names of the bouncers”
“I alway[s] thin of York Hotel. I was small and alway[s] walk to hotel from my house 62 st – 96 st”
“you are right, when I remember the York Hotel have big land, but it made the wrestling game there for 2 days”
“But the police alway[s] go there for Big Trouble because of fight & stabbed grow … 96 st had about 3-5 hotels”
“about 20 years from 1950 [1970’s it changed], the Police built that big building [Downtown Headquarters]. I love my past memories. Hotel was very nice rooms & cafe”