Meet a Westside Pioneer!
Mary Smith

Editor’s note: “Meet a Westside Pioneer” is a new column that will appear occasionally in the Westside Pioneer. We would like to hear about (and ask the same questions of) other people who meet the “Westside Pioneers” criteria: born and raised on the Westside and still living here. The column idea was inspired by a suggestion from area cartoonist (formerly in Old Colorado City, now at the Citadel) Bill Crowley.

What kind of career have you had? I’ve been a sales person all my life, mostly in bridal and clothing. I worked at Vera’s Bridal Shop for about 18 years, then at Baine’s Clothing & Pendleton’s – all downtown. I started at Kress’s when I was a young lady. As a teenager, I worked at Golden Flake Potato Chips (in the 2300 block of West Colorado Avenue) bagging potato chips.

Marriage? I’ve been married 52 years to Lyle Smith. My maiden name was Mary Jane Stark. We met when I was 15 and got married when I turned 18, right after I graduated from high school. We met at the rollerskating rink (Skateland.).

Children? Two children (one boy, one girl) and seven grandchildren (six boys and one girl). We also have three great-grandchildren, plus one on the way.

Are your children still here? Everyone still lives here.

Can you tell us about your parents and grandparents? My grandmother Frances Lovsin, born in 1885, came here when she was 20 years old from Rebnik, Yugoslavia. She married Frank Stark, also from Rebnik (although they had never known each other there), and had seven children. He worked at the Golden Cycle Mill. He died young. She had a boarding house that she rented to the miners. My mother, Velma Humble, was born in 1916. She was in her teens when she married my father, Rudy Stark. He worked for a while on the highways/road construction in Ute Pass. My mother died when I was born in 1936. My father soon left, but I did see him periodically. My grandmother and her son Frank raised me.

What are your best memories of growing up on the Westside? The camaraderie and fellowship and lasting friendships. I’ve belonged to Sacred Heart Church for 71 years. My kids went to school there. We have very fond memories of the cemetery and going up there to tend the graves. My whole family is up there.

What is gone from the Westside now that you wish had stayed? They used to have a little Haynes Popcorn newstand and you could go there and have the best popcorn! And the get-togethers – eveyone knew everyone up and down the street, and we used to go dancing every week at the church.

What has stayed that you wish had gone? There’s some old motels that either need to be taken down or renovated.

How about the way things have changed? The traffic is very heavy. We’re a big city now. Although Old Colorado City still has a bit of nostalgia. The stores are different. Most are novelty or tourist shops. Some of the schools are still intact, but they’re different. Before, everybody either walked or took the bus and most had jobs after school.

Overall, is the Westside better or worse than when you were a kid here? Oh, my heart will always lie with the Westside. I’ll love it till the day I die. We still live in a very nice community where everyone is very close.