“Getting the building rehabbed, it was a much bigger undertaking than we ever anticipated,” Bryan said. Even though there were times during the rehabilitation of the building they questioned what they got themselves into, that work remains one of his favorite memories of owning the business. “It was two or three official documents from being condemned,” he said of the rough conditions. The closing date for the pending sale of the building is Dec. 29. It has sold to another restaurateur who declined to elaborate on her plans for the business at this time. [Black Hills Pioneer]Taffy is a Deadwood girl and Orville Bryan grew up in rural Spearditch, attended Spearditch High School then graduated Black Hills State College. Orville was named "French" after the Sebastian Cabot character in teevee's Family Affair by college classmate Dale Bell of posse comitatus fame. French and Taffy married then with Bill Walsh, Mike Trucano and their wives bought Deadwood's Franklin Hotel. Taffy's dad, Doug, was the Franklin's maître d' for about two decades.
French served as Deadwood's mayor for a time but he and Taffy divorced yet stayed close friends after he came out.
Before gambling came to Deadwood in 1989 the Franklin got deeply into debt to Twin City Fruit after one of Deadwood gaming's Founding Fathers, Mike O'Connell, fell over a railing at the hotel and lost the use of his legs. French came to TCF temporarily and worked as our sales manager to help settle arrears.
After gambling came to the Gulch and Twin City Fruit was sold to Sysco French left the area for a time but returned to buy the Queen City Hotel. I ultimately contracted the drywall installation and finish of the building that would become home to the Bay Leaf Café and met the mother of my daughters there. She was working for Bill Walsh at the Franklin part time.
Taffy convinced this blogger to audition then perform six seasons as Mother Ginger in the Black Hills Dance Theater’s production of the Nutcracker.
The Franklin later sold to become part of the Silverado complex. That building is hurting today.
A story about the restaurant is posted at the Rapid City Journal, too.
The above artwork was done by my former sister-in-law Debbie Streeter.