The American Saloon: Historical Photos from the Collection of Roger E. Kislingbury

Terminal 3

Dec 10, 2016 - Jun 18, 2017

The American Saloon: Historical Photographs from the Collection of Roger E. Kislingbury

Author Roger Kislingbury was greatly influenced by the Hollywood westerns and television programs he viewed as a child growing up in Altadena, California, during the 1950s. Whereas most viewers focused on the gunfights and the barroom brawls, Kislingbury was drawn to the saloons’ elements—ornate back bars, taxidermy, advertisements, and the decorative coin-operated contraptions designed to separate a patron from any remaining pocket change. The author found himself wishing the camera would linger on those mysterious machines.

Roger Kislingbury in his makeshift bedroom saloon, San Gabriel, California  1965; Kislingbury’s attraction to that world behind the swinging doors inspired him to create a saloon in his bedroom while still in high school. In 1968, Kislingbury and business partner Paul Casebeer opened their first saloon and began collecting gambling devices, penny arcade machines, and antique back bars. Today, Kislingbury continues to collect early coin-operated devices and provides restoration and repair services to other collectors. Roger Kislingbury in his Antlers saloon, Pasadena, California  2014

Kislingbury also pursues early saloon photographs, sharing his passion for the subject in the hardbound publications Saloons, Bars & Cigar Stores: Historical Interior Photographs (1999) and American Saloons: Pre-Prohibition Photographs (2015). These selections from the author’s collection offer a glimpse into environments made largely extinct by the enactment of Prohibition in 1920 and provide historic context for that nearly ubiquitous feature in saloons and cigar stands during the earliest years of the twentieth century—the mechanical gambling device.

Kislingbury, Roger E. Saloons, Bars & Cigar Stores: Historical Interior Photographs. Pasadena, CA: Waldo and VanWinkle Publishers, 1999.
———. American Saloons: Pre-Prohibition Photographs. Pasadena, CA: Roger E. Kislingbury, 2015.

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