Thelma Barlow, with her son, Gord Barlow, is pictured here holding a photograph of her father Thomas King being named honorary Chief at an Indian Rodeo (sic) held in Golden on August 23, 1931. Thomas arrived in Golden from Ontario, after a short working stint in Vancouver. He was 19 when he arrived on June 1, 1899 to start work at Mr. Warren’s general store – one of the oldest businesses in British Columbia (1886).

Astute at business and politics both, Thomas King soon became manager and then owner of the store renaming it


“Thomas King General Merchant”. The photograph behind Thelma and Gord is shot by an unknown photographer looking down from the Golden hill circa 1920. The store (with the awning) was located on what was then called 3rd Ave. N. (in the little block occupied today by Kicking Horse Gear Exchange, Moon River and Re/Max.) Next door is the Queen’s Hotel (7/11) and farther down the street to the left is the Kootenay Hotel. 

Thomas married Minnie Woodley and they had seven children – Thelma being the youngest. Mr. King entered


public life in 1931 at the age of 52 when he was elected Liberal MLA. He held the riding through six elections until 1952 when he retired from politics at seventy-three.

Minnie passed away in 1956 and one year later, shortly after the incorporation of Golden as a village in 1957, Thomas sold the store to Thelma and her husband Fred Barlow. It operated as the Barlow Department Store for another 28 years in the same location. Thomas King died in 1972.