A Letter From John Lund: My Recollections of The Sink and Boulder 1954-1958

December 31, 2018

Boulder from 1954 to 1958


Boulder, at that time, was a “dry town”  – i.e. no alcohol could be sold – even though you could buy it outside the city limits.  Thus, the only “non-alcohol” you could buy was 3.2 beer (3.2% by weight or 4.0% by volume).  Since it was “non-alcoholic” you could drink it when you were 18.  The other beer tavern that I remember on the hill was Tulagi’s just up the street (now closed).  Named for the island in the Pacific where a major WWII battle was fought depicted by a giant painting on the wall – and I think the owner’s son participated in the landing (and was killed), and the other was “TTs” or Timber Tavern on Arapahoe St. in downtown Boulder.


Anyway, as engineering students, the only way we knew to find a date on Friday afternoon was to go to The Sink, buy a quart bottle of 3.2 beer and hang around hoping to find a date.  Of course, it seldom worked – so we just drank more beer.  The Sunken Garden (the real name for the Sink” was a 5-foot circular pit in the back depressed about 6 inches below the floor with an iron railing around it.  Inside were some potted plants.  The reason for not finding a date on campus was there were very few if any, women in our engineering classes – and we didn’t take A&S classes at the time.  

The Sink had windows along the Pennsylvania Street side that could be opened a little but were held by a chain to keep them from opening all the way.  The booths inside along the windows offered us guys a chance to try to reach outside to touch women as they walked by – of course, we were not successful.   Not sure if there was more than one room in The Sink at that time – just the Sunken Garden was in the main room.  


I also remember the cleaners next door but don’t know if they did the cleaning there.  Across the street was a sporting goods store, Holubar at 1030 13th street.  But cross-country skies were hard to find and expensive (I learned to ski in Norway as a kid), thus we bought cheap Army surplus skis from WWII – the “white elephants” as they were painted white for winter camouflage.  These used a rubber “bunny boot” with the cable binding.  There was an Army surplus store downtown where we bought skies and parkas which were white on one side and OD on the other for camouflage.  They also had a wolverine fur hood to shield the wearer from the wind.  The other mountain equipment store was Gerry’s then located in Ward (phone 388) – I still have their 1958 catalog and a 1966 Holubar catalog.  The 1966 Gerry catalog then showed a Boulder address (Box 910 and 1163 13th Street on the Hill and Pearl St. downtown).

I was also a member of the CU Hiking Club – so we usually had weekend outings, but most of the hikes were to Green Mountain and the Mesa Trail, as most of us didn’t have cars – so they were mostly local hikes.   On the Mesa Trail, we struggled to climb “Tomato Rock” – a circular boulder about 10 feet high fallen from Green Mountain.  Thanksgiving we would rent a cabin in the mountains for “a house party” as most of us couldn’t afford to go home (mostly by train or car then) for that short holiday.


-Dr. John Lund – Class of ’58 (BSCE) and Ph.D. ’67 (CE)