This Gun Has a Story

It’s not a radio item but another of those interesting little twists that involve someone in our industry. Call me a sucker for an interesting historical connection.

Eric Hoppe of Progressive Concepts shares word that his family will be selling, at auction, the pistol that Wild Bill Hickok was carrying when he was shot in Deadwood, in what is now South Dakota, in 1876.

Check out this flyer for the description:

The Leo Zymetzke mentioned in that flyer was Eric’s grandfather. Eric tells me in a footnote that Zymetzke worked for over 35 years at the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago and was head electrician there during the time that the mart was owned by Joseph Kennedy.

“Several TV and radio stations had their studios located there. My grandfather wired up a lot of those studios, and even did some electrical wiring for the Kennedy family at their private residences. It was at the mart that my grandfather met and became very close friends with JoAnn Willoth from Deadwood, who was an only child and never married.

“Because she had no remaining family to hand the gun down to, she gave the gun to my grandfather in 1972. My grandfather gave the gun to my mother and father that same year. Realizing the importance and value of the gun, my parents put it into a safety deposit box in 1973 where it has remained until we took it out to send to Bonhams for auction just a few days ago.”

Progressive Concepts sells FM and LPFM transmitters, antennas, studio gear and other items; but no firearms that I’m aware of.

Thanks for the good tale, Eric. Dear reader: Should you purchase this historical artifact, be sure to let us know. But stay away from poker tables while carrying it.

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