The Gold Nugget Night Club

The Gold Nugget Night Club once known all over Southern Colorado as an interesting spot of entertainment, now is merely a part of a foundation, some wild yellow rose bushes, and a few trees. Owned and operated by the Salardino Brothers it was a forerunner of the Club Paradise, owned, and operated in South Canon City by Gus and Doris Salardino. There was music and dancing and good food prepared by outstanding cooks. Actors and singers provided good entertainment.

In 1915, the town had begun to return to a normal coal town. The 1913-15 coal strike had ended and the mines were starting to work double shifts to supply the increased demand because of the war in Europe.

Rockvale had every right to be proud of the town band. Music was important to every CF&I mining camp and the Rockvale Band became known as the famous Italian band. James Chiri, Battista Noggio, and James Milano organized it in 1902. Those men worked in mines all day and practiced at night. They bought and paid for their own instruments.

At first, the band was not too good and the town bullies made fun of them shouting, “tra-ra-boom-de-ay,” but the heckling soon subsided as the musicians improved. The band headed street parades and played at all town functions and when practical, played a funeral march at funerals and led the procession to the town bridge.

Catherine and John Morello of Rockvale furnished this picture and history sketch. Mrs. Morello recalled that Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller who made infrequent trips to the area and watched the band perform on several occasions donated the band uniforms. Rockefeller was the multi-millionaire who was the major stockholder in the C F & I, which owned the Rockvale Mine.

Pictured are, left to right, back row:

John Milano, Louis Sareno, bandleader; Mike Marmello, Barney Milano, Mike Scarvarda, James Chiri, Frank Chiri John Falgien, Lee Gugliuzzo, Tom Boggio, and James Milano.

Front row:

Camillo (Fatty) Salvi, Charles (Chinny) Salvi, the small boy; Achili Cresto, Louis (Shortly) Amarantus, Mike Fabrizio Jr., Canon City, Barney Milano, Pueblo; Mike Scarvada, Grand Junction; Charles (Chinny) Salvi, Salida; Louis Amarantus and James Sartoris of California.

The frame building behind the band was the Rockvale Town Hall and the building next door was the Fire House, built two years before this picture was taken. The Town Hall burned down in 1919; the Fire House is the Town Hall. Standing behind the band are several Rockvale citizens, including some ladies with fancy spring hats, who managed to get in the picture.

Music was important to the early day immigrants and the band organized in 1902 by James Chiri, Battista Boggio, and James Milano played an important part in all Rockvale festivities. Known as the Italian Band it became famous in Southern Colorado, heading all street parades, especially when celebrating the Fourth of July, Columbus Day, Armistice Day, and other festal occasions. On these days, they marched from the Rockvale Town Hall, through Stringtown to Williamsburg and back, with James Berta, riding a white horse and waving a sword, acting as marshal of the day. For important citizens they also played funeral marches, accompanying the funeral procession to the outskirts of the town.

Louis Serena, who had received training in the Italian Army Band of his native Italy, was the band director. James Chiri was manager. Musicians included John Milano, Mike Marshmello, Barney Milano, Mike Scavarda, Frank Chiri, John Falgien, Lee Gugliuzzo, James Milano, and Tom Boggio. Front–(child: Camillo Fatty Salvi), Charles (Chinny) Salvi, J. A. (Keeley) Cresto, Louis Amaranths, Mike Fabrizio, Jr., and James Sartoris. Rockvale noted orchestra was in great demand in Southern Colorado for dances and concerts. It was composed of Miss Grace Payne, Fred Dyer, J. A. Cresto, Mike Scavarda, and James Sartoris.