1961

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Duck Gambling and Friendly Ladies

Barney Panella's house, the only two-story house in Drawbridge, sits on the site of The Hunters Home hotel. Barney's house burned down in 1983. Barney accidentally burned down The Hunters Home in 1943, some say from a spark from his cigar.

The Hunters Home was built in 1902 by Louis and Susan DeMit.
Louis's shelf-life seemed to expire at some point in time (the fate of many husbands) and Susan remarried. She ran the hotel by herself for many years. The hotel had a large ballroom decorated with stuffed birds, and sported a baby grand piano. Newspapers, probably The Mercury News, reported that "it was a house of ill repute, and had a roulette wheel with girls' names on it."

There are many accounts of "friendly ladies" frequenting Drawbridge, especially during hunting season, but it is unlikely The Hunters Home was a whore house. O.L. "Montey" Dewey offers the following, "People who remembered the place say it wasn't so. There was a wheel, but it was for gambling ducks. A hunter could bet a duck. If he won, he won a dollar; if he lost, he lost the duck. Selling ducks was against the law in 1910, so the wheel was one way to supply the hotel's kitchen with ducks. Duck dinners at that time went for 35 cents."

It would be fun to think that The Hunters Home was aswarm with friendly ladies, a rustic Las Vegas ahead of its time. The hotel was operational until 1943. Barney's grandsons operated the Panella Drayage Company, perhaps they still do.



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