Grindstone History Timeline, page 3
August 23, 1955 Searchlight? Mary Piftschek, Pioneer, Dies:
Mrs. Mary Piftschek, 98, a resident of Shasta County for the last 68 years, died yesterday afternoon in a Redding hospital, following a long illness. She was born Aug. 2, 1857, in what is now Czechoslovakia, but was then part of Austria. She came to Wisconsin at an early age, and lived in San Francisco before moving to Shasta County.
She leaves four sons, John J. and George R. Bartosh, both of Redding, Frank A. Bartosh of Cisco Grove and Joseph P. Bartosh of Sacramento. Funeral arrangements are being made at McDonald's chapel.
"An Old Cigar Store" by Albert F. Ross, The Covered Wagon, 1958:
John J. Bartosh bought the Golden Eagle Cigar Store in Redding, California, in July, 1907.... He had started working as a cigar-maker for the former owner, John W. Potts, six years earlier at the age of fourteen years, and had not yet reached his twenty-first birthday when Potts had to retire because of ill health and move to southern-California. Potts and a man named Eberle started the business in the then-new Golden Eagle building in 1888. Eberle soon sold out to Potts. Potts was a cigar maker and operated a room behind the cigar store where cigars were rolled. The business he taught to Bartosh. Although Potts had built up a successful business by the time he sold out, he often told Bartosh of his ups and downs. During the depression of 1893 the hotel closed and Potts was given free rent for sleeping in the business to protect the fire insurance. He was the only occupant. He often remarked that he remembered one day when his receipts were exactly eighty cents. There gradually came into existence an informal organization called the Grindstone Club, consisting of business and professional men, public officials, and others who gathered from time to time in the back room of the cigar store to talk politics and other business of the day. Nearly every evening they met and eventually elected officers and held regular meetings and discussed theology and philosophy as well as politics and government. The club took its name from one of the brands of cigars made by Potts, the Grindstone Club. It is thought this was the name of a club in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from which city Potts had originally come. Just east of the Golden Eagle Hotel was the Hoff building and the McCormick, Saeltzer Companys store, both built about the same time as the hotel. When the county offices were moved from Shasta to Redding in 1888 the new court house on the hill was not complete and they were housed in
the Hoff building, temporarily. The sheriff and the county jail remained in Shasta.The proximity of this 'court house' brought customers to the cigar store and members to the Grindstone Club...Practically every business and professional man, and holder of every public office, newspaper man, mining man, banker or just plain retired person spent some time in the back room of the Golden Eagle Cigar Store... On summer evenings it was customary to take chairs into the street in front and the men would sit out there with their feet on the curb. Sometimes there would be a semicircle of chairs reaching half-way across Yuba Street. Traffic was limited to an occasional horse and carriage going by and there was therefore little interference with it. One at a time the members would raise their voices to argue some point and everyone was given his chance to express himself on the burning issues of the day. After Bartosh took over the store in 1907 the club continued until about 1915 , but the older members had passed on or retired and the newer men met more informally. The annual dinners, the regular election of officers, and other customs gradually died out. James N. Logan, father of Mrs. C. Fred Smith, was the last regular president of the club. An account in the Redding Searchlight in 1914  tells of the annual meeting of the club on New Years Night (not New Years Eve). Lambs Orchestra furnished the music, with Attorney James Isaacs on the bass drum. C. C. Keen was toastmaster, and the principal address of the evening was by Luke McDonald who spoke feelingly on the subject, Who Wouldnt Be a Boy Again"... Persons who lived in Redding in the past, when met in other places, usually remember the Bartosh cigar store and its owner, and inquire about them. Those who were here early in the century, and perhaps in the last decade of the last century, often reminisce of the Golden Eagle Cigar Store and of the Grindstone Club which flourished there. They all agree that, as a local newspaper said when chronicling the death of John Potts in 1930, in the old Grindstone Club all questions of logic, politics, or philosophy were discussed with abandon, and oftentimes erudition."
Record-Searchlight, Thurs., Jan. 1, 1959 (Article):
Golden Eagle cigar store closes doors. John J. Bartosh locked the door of his Golden Eagle cigar store last night, hung up a "closed" sign and ended 51 years in business at the same stand. For seven years before he bought the store, Bartosh worked for its previous proprietor, John W. Potts, who opened the store in 1888. "Fore three years I havent had a day off," Bartosh said today. "When one of my clerks said he was quitting three days ago, I said, Well, Im quitting, too." The 72-year-old bachelor reminisced of a business career that started when he was 14 years old and found that a farmer he knew was having difficulty selling his peaches and apricots. Bartosh persuaded the farmer to let him take the fruit on consignment. And the young boy built up a profitable summer business selling it to passengers on the Overland Limited when the train stopped in Redding. After that he got a concession to sell candy at a theater. Then he went to work in the cigar store he later bought. In the store he had as customers and friends judges, bank presidents and working men. "They were all my people," he said "I liked them, and I think they liked me. When people come in and say, Hello, Johnny, it thrills you." His old friends will still be greeting Bartosh with the old salutation. He says he plans, for the present at least, to live in the place he has called home since 1919 -- room 358 of the Golden Eagle Hotel.
Covered Wagon 1959: The Grindstone Board by Charles A. Shurtleff:
Mr. E. Voluntine, an early day hardware merchant at Shasta, at one time received an exceptionally large shipment of grindstones and stacked them on the sidewalk in front of his store on Main Street where he allowed them to remain for a long time. The surface of the grindstones was large and smooth and the height of the stacks just right for comfortable seats. A number of the leading citizens of Shasta appropriated the grindstones for their own use and they became a center where meetings were held. Weighty matters were discussed and questions decided of great moment to the state and nation. There was no appeal from the decisions. This group became known as the Grindstone Board and functioned for many years. A few of the memberts were Mr. Peck, Mr. W. S. Wills, Charles Fordham, William A. Scott, the shoemaker, and James E. Isaacs, a lawyer.
See "An Old Cigar Store" by Albert F. Ross, in "The Covered Wagon" of 1957
, page 18.
NOTES by Bessie Prehn.
1964 City Directory:
Geo R retired h2214 Waldon
John J. retd r1509 Yuba
P.O. Box 999 in '66 & 67
1969 Covered Wagon:
John James Bartosh, whose cigar store was a traditional gathering place for Redding old-timers for more than half a century, died November 23, 1968 in Redding at the age of eighty-one. He was born December 18, 1886, in San Francisco, but lived most of his life in Redding. His colorful business career that started when he was 14 years old and found that a farmer he knew was having difficulty selling his peaches and apricots. Bartosh persuaded the farmer to let him take the fruit on consignment. And the young boy built up a profitable summer business
selling it to passengers on the Overland Limited when the train stopped in Redding. After that he got a concession to sell candy at a theater. Then he went to work in a cigar store operated since 1888 by John W. Potts. Bartosh later bought the store and operated it in the Golden Eagle Hotel for fifty-one years. The back room of his store had been a social center for Reddings leading citizens when Potts owned it. Bartosh continued the tradition. The men who gathered there called themselves the Grindstone Club and in the summer months, members took their chairs into the unpaved street in front of the hotel where, according to the Courier-Free Press, "questions of civil government and even theology and philosophy were discussed with abandon and often times erudition." The club went out of existence in 1913 , but the store continued to be a local tradition. Bartosh counted as customers and friends, judges, bank presidents and working men. "They were all my people," he said "I liked them, and I think they liked me. When people come in and say, Hello, Johnny, it thrills you." His people honored him in 1957 with a celebration in the store on his fiftieth anniversary in the cigar business. His friend and customer, retired Superior Court Judge Albert Ross, recalled at that time that Bartosh had been a member of the volunteer fire department back in the days when their hose cart had to be pulled by hand when no horse was available. Bartosh also played in the town band for years at concerts given from the second story porch of the Golden Eagle on summer Sunday afternoons and at ball games and dances. He never married. On New Years Eve in 1958, he retired and closed his store for good.
Record Searchlight, Monday, March 3, 1969:
Funeral services were to be held at 11 a.m. today at the graveside in Redding Cemetery for George R. Bartosh. The service was to be conducted by the Rev. Roy Nelson. Bartosh had been a resident of Shasta County for 79 years. He leaves a son, Ray B. Bartosh, of Rockville, Md.
JOHN J BARTOSH
PVT CO E 76 INFANTRY
WORLD WAR I
DEC 18 1886 NOV 23 1968
GEORGE RAYMOND BARTOSH
Covered Wagon 1985:35:
Nathan [Breslauer] was one of a group of local business and professional men and politicians who gathered informally in the back room of the Golden Eagle Cigar Store, located in one of the towns main hotels, in what became known as the Grindstone Club, a name derived from a popular brand of cigars of the day.
Covered Wagon 1988:48:
Tommy Cleone was long-time employee of Golden Eagle Cigar Store.
per Judge Eaton, 2/14/2002, at Shasta County Library:
The Grindstone was flourishing in 1910
Held meetings outside on Yuba after store closed each day, about 6:00 p.m. Cars increased in Redding in late 1910's, streets not yet paved, resulting in severe dust and end of meetings.
Chet finds tokens at Hollibaugh's store
Researched tokens, find story in 1958 Covered Wagon.
Discussed Golden Eagle with Harold when he and Shirley Hart are over for dinner. My grandfather-in-law, Harold Leroy Hart, was a bell-hop in the Golden Eagle Hotel in the 1930s and knew Johnny Bartosh.
May 31, 2000 last day work at Guardian:
Bob threw going away party previous Friday, May 26th. Discussed making this a regular "Tradition" to meet for drink and cigars on Fridays.
By July, 2000:
it is being referred to as "Tradition" and happening most Fridays.
More study on Grindstone, study on Plato & theory of Ideals leads to idea that Grindstone as concept can live on. Discuss with Henrik idea of resurrecting Grindstone and he supports it.
By February 2001:
Is being referred to as Grindstone.
Bob given Harvard Classics book (& token?)
November 6, 2002: letter to Ray Bartosh in Austin, Texas
Dear Mr. Bartosh:
Bartosh Family / Grindstone Club History
I enjoyed our conversation today, and I appreciate your time. Enclosed you will find a compilation of information I have found related to the Golden Eagle Cigar Store, the Grindstone Club, and the Bartosh family. These copies are yours to keep, as is the token. My plan is to produce a coherent story for the Shasta Historical Society’s Covered Wagon 2003. I am on the editorial committee this year, and am working on several stories but this is my "pet project." The information is just raw data at this point, a list of virtually everything I’ve been able to find thus far and I hope you will be able to fill in some of the blanks. I have some specific questions, but please feel free to add anything. My questions are:
1. In reference to the enclosed photograph depicting the inside of a cigar store, can you verify if this is indeed the Golden Eagle Cigar Store and John J. Bartosh behind the counter? I think it looks like a younger version of the picture of John from the newspaper article reporting his retirement, but I have yet to find someone who remembers him clearly enough to give a definitive opinion.
2. Do you know when and why the Grindstone Club stopped operating?
3. Can you fill in more information about George Bartosh and your side of the family?
4. Was George (or anyone else not in my info) a part of the Grindstone Club? Was George ever employed at Potts’ Cigar Factory or store?
5. Can you give any anecdotal stories about John or George?
6. I’d appreciate copies of any pictures/materials that you have that you don’t see in my collection.
As you may be able to tell, the Grindstone Club is my greatest interest. I have a growing group of gentlemen that meet most Fridays to smoke cigars and talk about issues. We consider ourselves an informal return of the Grindstone, and I keep them updated on my research into the history. We are looking into becoming more formal. I give each new member a token from the Golden Eagle Cigar Store, and I hope you accept the enclosed token as an honorary member of the new Grindstone Club. I look forward to further correspondence, and please feel free to contact me anytime.