The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Virgil Vaupel
For The Courier 

Last Barber Standing

 

Virgil Vaupel / For The Courier

Jerry Salveson poses outside his barber shop in Malta--where he also sells tow ropes.

When Darrell Brenna retired from the barber business Glasgow lost a good hair cutter. Sixty years cutting hair with scissors and clippers with a shoulder massage tacked on for good measure. Strangers thought he looked like Kenny Rogers. As far as I know there are no "real" barbers left in Glasgow. I recall when Saco had two barber shops.

The old-time shops with the red and white pole out front are rapidly disappearing across the Hi-Line being replaced by "styling salons" and "beauty shops." Some of these shops advertise manis, pedis, massages, dyeing, tinting, facial piercings and tattooing. They all have dazzling displays of the latest hair care products. You'll not hear a clipper going buzzzzz.

I miss that sound so I go to Jerry's Barber Pole in Malta to get my hair cut. Actually I get them all cut ... seems it's cheaper that way. Jerry keeps some cowboy memorabilia and other stuff hanging on the walls in his one-seat shop on the main north-south street (Highway 191) in Malta. The coffee pot is always on and usually some old timers gathered solving the problems of the world and talking about cows!

Jerry Salveson graduated from Malta High School in 1971 and immediately took off for Spokane where he attended The Reed Barber College for a year. He figured he'd do better cutting hair than cutting hay and wheat on the family farm in the Content area south of Malta where he still lives with his wife Gloria and some horses. Their three children all graduated from Malta and are now bringing some grandchildren to Thanksgiving dinner.

After learning what he could in Spokane Jerry came back to the Big Sky and Great Falls where he apprenticed for a year. Then it was up north to Havre where he was a partner in a shop for three years. Malta called and he moved back "home" and bought out Butch Hilbert who had a shop in the Mint. Jerry moved his shop to the Mustang Lanes and cut hair there until 1999 when the building burned to the ground.

He's been at 320 South Central where his shop is on the front porch of a house he bought in 2004. The porch previously housed a beauty salon before Jerry converted it to a "clipper joint" and he's been there since.

When driving by his shop you'll see the barber pole and there's always a pickup or two out front brought there by folks needing haircuts or just some stimulating conversation.

 

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