Hanging Tree Saloon, 18424 2nd Street in Bracken was built in 1915 as a two=lane, nine-pin bowling alley. It’s been expanded twice. Big John Oaks turned the bowling alley into a honky-tonk. They have live music Friday through Sunday, but if you want music other times, there’s a jukebox in the back, next to the combination snack and cigarette machine. They are open seven days a week.
It had a nice area for dancing, near the shuffleboard. The area to the right on the photo below is the bandstand. This was dance floor number thirty five for us this year.
Lots of photos on the wall and a big star on the ceiling.
A little history of the town.
We asked the bartender, Dawn, about the name and if there had ever been any hangings. Dawn told us, No, there had never been any hangings. A local, Brian, told us a lot of people wouldn’t come because of the name and the association of hangings here, but said it was unfounded fear. Looking up history on the place, it seems Big John Oaks likely named it after a Marty Robbins song. We had a nice talk with both Brian and Dawn, and Brian bought us a beer while we spoke. I asked if I could take his photo for my blog and he obliged. He’s standing where the bowling pins used to be in the original building. Thank you again, Brian for the beer!
The bar that Dawn is standing behind was built with the old bowling alley lanes. We meant to look closer at it, but forgot once we started talking.
Photo of the bowling alley before it became a bar.
Swinging saloon doors are fashioned behind the functional front door.
The original tree outside was lost a few years ago. The only remnants are drawings hanging on the wall.
We had a nice visit and though slightly disappointed there weren’t real hangings that happened here, we were relieved to know it doesn’t have a sinister background. It’s a worthwhile stop. Tell Dawn and Brian hello for us if you visit!