Museum of Northwest Colorado: Recovering from the Great War
“Familiar Faces” was a cartoon column featuring Craig businessmen that appeared in Craig’s newspaper, The Empire-Courier, in 1956 and 1957. The third cartoon article of this six-month series showcased Wally Cline, who opened Craig’s Golden Rule Store in 1934, in the middle of the Great Depression.
Born in Ohio in 1891, Wally graduated from the University of Ohio with a business degree. After serving in World War I in the Navy, Wally joined his father in the mercantile business and from there branched out to manage Golden Rule stores in Colorado and New Mexico. While managing a store in Loveland, Colorado, in 1922, he met and married Anita Robenstein.
As a result of terrifying war memories that haunted him, Wally suffered a nervous breakdown in 1933 — today it would be referred to as post-traumatic stress disorder. He spent a year at Denver’s Fitzsimmons Army Hospital where he was encouraged to take up a hobby to help him deal with his stress. As a result, Wally decided to take up needlework. He became so adept at his chosen avocation that after his move to Craig the following year, women would come to him for needlework patterns and advice.
Wally and Anita settled easily into Craig’s small town life with their two sons, Chuck and John. Wally attested he had never been as happy as he was in Craig where he and his family lived on School Street. He credited his good life to his wonderful customers and his enjoyment in serving them. After managing the Golden Rule for a number of years Wally opened his own store at 37 W. Victory Way, which offered Western wear for the entire family.
Wally was heavily involved in various aspects of the community and served seven years on the city council. Wally survived a horrific war and the resultant PTSD and went on to serve his chosen community with a cheerful vigor that benefited all. Wally and Anita moved to Loveland after Wally’s retirement from the retail business. Wally died in 1971 at the age of 80. He left behind a solid history of community commitment and involvement that continues to inspire others.
To learn more about early Craig businesses and their owners, stop by the Museum of Northwest Colorado in downtown Craig. It is open Monday through Saturday and, as always, the admission is free.
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