The Fremont Adobe building complex has passed through many owners since Fremont. The Gold Coin Bar business has also passed through the hands of many owners since it was founded by Charles Greenamyer and Don Turner, including J.P. and Ruth Ellis, Mr. & Mrs. Maxwell, Tom Elliott and Whitey Thorsted, John and George Combs, George Hanlin and Bill Darnell. The bar closed in 1989 while under the ownership of William Brandhurst and has remained so until the opening of Bett’s Gold Coin Sports Tavern.
Current restorationof the building carried out (and financed) by Helen Kwalwasser, owner of the Triangle Market in Mariposa. She purchased the building from the Von der Ahe estate and began the process. The restoration of this most historic building has been a labor of love and along with Linda Halvorson, owner of the Bett”s Gold Coin Sports Tavern will contribute to the preservation of Mariposa’s oldest building.
Linda Halverson has been involved in food service in Mariposa since the 1970s. The General Manager of the Coin, John Saucedo, has a long association with food service and entertainment in Mariposa County. Most recently he was the food and beverage manager of Chukchansi Hotel and Casino in Coarsegold. John is well known as the son of Cruz and Willhamina Saucedo who operated the popular Cruz and Willies Restaurant in Bootjack a number of years ago.
The reopening of the Gold Coin and restoration of the Fremont Adobe, brings closure to the restoration/revitalization to the core of downtown Mariposa. After a number of years of having this historic building sit vacant at the heart of the community, it is expected that it’s re-establishment will mark the end of the “Great Recession” in Mariposa like it’s original opening in 1930s marked the end of the Great Depression.
For more years than I have been alive, downtown Mariposa was the center of commercial activity and entertainment for our County. While many commercial areas have grown up around downtown Mariposa over the years, the core of the historic past of our community between Eighth and Fourth Streets along Charles Street (Hwy 140) has survived because of the interest and investment of the business families and operators. There should be obvious pride in our historic center which more than ever is attracting visitors from all over the world.
I hardly think that the new customers of the Bett’s Gold Coin Sports Tavern will be very much like the old crowd that has passed on leaving me behind. Mariposa residents do not even know these boys and girls that were part of my growing up in our little historic gold mining village but they were hard working and reliant friends. I fully expect a new cast of characters to enter the Gold Coin and absorb probably an unknown aura left behind. Be gentle my friends, George Hanlin, and other spirits of this building and business, may be lurking somewhere. They are surely awake now and enjoying the new life that this “reawakened” business and restored building, have brought to our “old town”.
by Leroy Radanovich