Normal Headquarters

Arizona Capitol Reports Staff//October 21, 2016

Normal Headquarters

Arizona Capitol Reports Staff//October 21, 2016

TP 102116-WEB

During World War I, there would have been no young men in this photo—most had been sent overseas. But by 1920, the boys were back, the economy was beginning to boom, dating was in style again and the Confection Den was one of the places to go.

It was popular for families, too. Charlotte Fern remembers visiting there with her parents and two brothers after World War I when a new kind of ice cream was introduced. It was called an Eskimo Pie and was served on a stick. As a promotion, the company printed “free” on some of the sticks. The lucky person who finished an Eskimo Pie and found a “free” stick got his or her ice cream for free.

W.S. (Billy) Borum ran the Den with his wife, Candy “Kid” Rams and a couple of young men who worked the soda fountain. Candy’s brother Ray was a partner and chief candymaker, except for the time he was overseas.

The store was long and narrow. The marble-topped soda fountain and the candy counter and scoop scales were on one side. Navajo rugs decorated the back wall. The ceiling was pressed tin with two dropped lights. There were high-backed booths along the wall, and circular iron tables with matching chairs on the floor. The chair backs had specially-made cloth covers, monogrammed with the house ‘C’.

Billy Borum advertised in the local newspaper as well as the student yearbook. In one ad, he touted ice cream as the “ideal summer food—not a confection,” and also featured a large assortment of a new Danish pastry “that has taken the entire country by storm.” He quoted businessmen saying they ate lunch at the Confection Den every noon, not because they couldn’t go home for lunch, but because they got “just as appetizing lunch there as at home.”

Borum was active in the community and served for a time on the Flagstaff City Council. He also was an avid hunter. On one hunting trip, he and a buddy, Harry Bowen, were thought to be lost on the Navajo reservation near Leupp. In fact, they had stayed with a Navajo family and turned up at the Leupp trading post after several days. The story made the newspaper because the men had foolishly shot a coyote and tied the carcass to the saddle of a borrowed Navajo pony. Traditional Navajos believe the coyote is a trickster spirit and brings bad luck. A dead coyote is the worst kind of luck, so when Borum and his friend tried to return the pony, the owner wouldn’t touch it or the saddle. (We don’t know how this incident was resolved.)

After keeping the Confection Den alive during the war years and seeing his business thrive again, Billy Borum ran into some bad luck. He fell ill in October 1920 and had to close the Den. The local newspaper commented that Mr. Borum would likely remain in Flagstaff and “engage in some business that is not so confining and does not require such long hours. It is hoped that he will stay here where he has friends by the hundreds . . .”

   Photo courtesy Northern Arizona University, Cline Library, Special Collections & Archives; research by Joan Brundige-Baker.