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How Did Saloons In The Old West Lock Their Doors At Night?

Westerns always feature a saloon where characters do all kinds of typical Old West type stuff like gamblin', drinkin' and carousin', and they all feature those swinging café doors that look right but don't do much in terms of security.

So maybe you've wondered- how did Old West saloons lock their doors at night?

Considering all the robberies, bandit raids and shootouts that take place in Westerns those doors hardly seem practical, but in real life all that stuff didn't happen very often- and most saloons didn't have café doors.

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But the ones that did typically had another standard door mounted on the outside of the entrance, so the café doors could entice customers in during the day and the real doors could be locked up tight at night.

And, in case you were wondering, here's why so many saloons in the Old West had café doors:

Café doors were actually practical for many reasons. They allowed ventilation in a small enclosure that was filled with folks smoking cigars and home-rolled cigarettes. The bidirectional hinges were handy for cowboys who both entered and exited carrying heavy saddlebags (unlike automobiles, horses don’t come equipped with locking storage containers in the rear, and there was always the danger of some low-down sidewinder stealing from you while you were inside getting your drink on). And those abbreviated doors shielded the church-going “proper” passersby from having to view the liquor, gambling, and spitting (spittoons were as common then as ashtrays would be later) going on inside.

-Via Mental Floss


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I was always fascinated by the "Old West". Living and growing up in California I would often visit places like old western saloons in some of the ghost towns nearby. This article was very interesting and neat(orama)
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