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Arkey Blue’s Silver Dollar Saloon

By Raymond V. Carter, Jr. BCHC Research Historian ©2017

Arkey Blue's Silver Dollar is located in the basement of the Cox Building, 308 Main St. in Bandera, Texas. The Cox Building was built in ca.1923 and was built to house the silent movie theater, "Bandera Theatre." The Bandera Theatre was situated on the Main Street level of the building. The basement at the time had a dirt floor and might have been used as storage.
According to H. Alfred Anderwald, in the early days, the Bandera City night watchman used the basement as his night office. His office equipment consisted of a chair and a coffee pot. After a night of fun, Anderwald would occasionally stop and visit with the night watchman and as he was there late one night, a car came flying through town and Anderwald asked the night watchman, "Aren't you going to go chase and stop him?"
The night watchman replied, "No, if they are going to kill themselves there is nothing I can do about it."
The first business that was located in the basement of the Cox Building that I found recorded in the Bandera County Clerk's records was the "Fox Hole Cafe." It was operated by C.I. Miller. The dba was filed on Sept. 11, 1946. This business lasted approximately seven months and was replaced by the "Sportsman's Club and Cafe," which filed it's dba on April 17, 1947. I, however, do believe there was an earlier business in the basement, but have found no record of it yet.
The "Silver Dollar" saloon/resort had it's grand opening on June 5, 1948. Not only did it serve beer, but the service specialized in steaks, chicken, shrimp and sandwiches. The partners were: Bink West, manager; Vance West (no relationship to Bink); and Bill Morris. The June 4, 1948, issue of the "Bandera Bulletin" stated, "The Silver Dollar, Bandera's newest resort, opens tomorrow (Saturday) in the basement of the Cox Building, formerly occupied by the Sportsman's Club Cafe.
"The quarters have been thoroughly renovated and improved, and has been made the coolest spot in town. … Bink West is the manager of the new establishment, and invites the citizens of the county to drop in and enjoy themselves."
The front-page article on the June 11, 1948, issue of the Bandera Bulletin announced "the Silver Dollar offers a floor show." Self-proclaimed "World Champion Cowboy Piano Player, Shorty Hamilton, puts on two shows a day, six days out of the week. … He plays blind-folded, standing on his head, with a blanket covering the keys, with either or both feet nicely encased in cowboy boots, and just any way you want him to play . . . just sit back and scratch your head figuring out a new way."
After Bink West's death, O.W. Riggs, who filed for dba on Oct. 18, 1948, operated the Silver Dollar.
On May 13, 1952, G. D. Cox (aka Dave Cox), owner, leased the Cox Building for a 3-year period to John V. McShane. Quoting from the lease contract, "The building now occupied by lessee (Bandera Mercantile/John McShane) and formerly used as the Ban-Tex Theater Building . . . lessee to have use of the entire building . . . including the basement to said building the privilege of subleasing same or any part thereof."
The Assumed Name law book in the county archives list the following about the "Silver Dollar" and persons conducting the business, recorded in 1949, the "Sliver Dollar Café," Louis Thompson; in 1951, "The Silver Dollar" (cafe dropped from the name), Roberta E. Dowling, Joan George Kane and Newell Bryan Kane; and in 1952, Joan G. Kane and Newell B. Kane.
On Oct. 30, 1953, deed records show that Hugh E. Sullivan of Anderson County, Texas, sold "The Silver Dollar" to Theodore E. Nesky, Jr. and Zack Clark, Jr., along "with all of the furniture, fixtures, equipment, appliances and utensils. … all chairs, tables, refrigerators, beverage cooler, bar and cash register."
On Feb. 18, 1955, J. McShane leased the basement (premises known as "The Silver Dollar”) of the Bandera Mercantile Building to Ralph S. Mitchell and Carl H. Roush for 2 years. On March 8, 1957, Mitchell and Roush leased it again for 2 years.
The Assumed Name Book in the county archives recorded on Sept. 22, 1965, Delton J. Petty, the business member of the "Silver Dollar" and on July 20, 1966, Patrick M. Boyle, the business member of the "Silver Dollar." When talking about acquiring the Silver Dollar, Pat Boyle said, “I won it,” but he would not say how he won the business.
Patrick M. Boyle sold the "Silver Dollar" to Arkey Charles Juenke (aka Arkey Blue) on May 21, 1968.
Arkey Blue did not win the saloon business in a poker game. In his own words, "I paid for it." Arkey C. Juenke bought the Cox building from John E. Cox, son of G.D. Cox and Ota Mae Cox, widow of Davis C. Cox on May 9, 1975. The deed of trust shows that the loan amount was $30,000.00.
Next year will not only be the 50th Anniversary of Arkey Blue owning and operating the Silver Dollar, but also the 70th Anniversary of entertainment being performed in the Silver Dollar. That is worth scooting a boot and popping a top over!