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Monday, July 28, 2014

Picturing the Past 7: King of Clubs

Posted Tuesday, May 5, 2009, at 2:03 PM

(Photo)
The King of Clubs, in March 1953. (T-G File Photo)
Here's a March 1953 look at the outside of the King of Clubs, an infamous Shelbyville bar which was still in business, I think, as late as the mid-1970s.

If I''m not mistaken, this was on 231 North where Whiteside Market is now; at least the 1970s version was. Seems like I remember hearing years ago that the building pictured burned at some point.

Where were some of Shelbyville's other bars over the years?

I heard so many tales over the years about the shenanigans, and more serious troubles, in various bars, especially those in the 1970s such as Sam''s Place, on Depot Street, and Sticky's, on Madison Street even after it was surrounded by the KMart and Kroger parking lot before being demolished about 30 years ago.

I attempted to scan an inside shot of the building, which came out a little too light. I'm scanning negatives, not actual photos, and it's hit-and-miss as to usability. Some look great to the eye but, upon scanning, are too light with too many scratches for Photoshop software to remove. For example, I found a great 1950s shot of the old Evans Street city swimming pool, filled with people on a summer afternoon. The scan proved unusable.

But I'm finding plenty that do print well, like today's. And the reader comments are as fun to read as the photos.

Picturing the Past is a Tuesday feature of this blog.


Comments
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Thanks David for another great picture. I look forward every Tuesday to seeing what else you have discovered in your vast archives.

I like you always look forward to reading the reader comments and sharing memories with each other.

I very well remember the King of Clubs. Just to name a few from my memory are: 4-Way Club at the intersection of Tullahoma Highway/Wartrace Pike, Merry-Go-Round just past the Drive-In Theatre on the left, 41-A Club on the right of Tullahoma Highway, Honeyland (more of a joint than a club) on the left of Tullahoma Highway, Blue Haven on Madison across from Eureka Pants Mfg., Bloody Bucket off Lynchburg Highway, Silver Moon just past El Bethel on the left, and Brownies (not sure of the location but I think it was on the right of Unionville Highway close to Jostens). I am sure that I can think of many more but this is enough to get us started.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, May 5, 2009, at 3:32 PM

White Castle, Green Acres which later became Garland Yards (or the other way around not sure which came first), Thirsty Turtle

-- Posted by Dianatn on Tue, May 5, 2009, at 4:00 PM

David,

Can you find a picture of a store that was once at the intersection I believe of Wartrace Pike and 41A South? I think it was called Harold's but I am not sure about that.

-- Posted by titansfan on Tue, May 5, 2009, at 4:29 PM

Diana I am familiar with White Castle and Green Acres. Where was the Thirsty Turtle located? That must have been after I left Bedford County.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, May 5, 2009, at 4:39 PM

titansfan, you're probably talking about Harold's 41 Market, which was about where the "blue store" next to the Kangaroo at Madison and Hillcrest is today. I grew up in the Forest Hills neighborhood and spent a lot of time in that store. It was torn down in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

-- Posted by David Melson on Tue, May 5, 2009, at 7:03 PM

David if I remember correctly it was in a building kind of in front of the Best Western Hotel on Madison Street. I am not sure that building is even still standing I think there is a car wash there now.

I thought Garland Yards was on a road that run off of West Lane Street?

-- Posted by Dianatn on Tue, May 5, 2009, at 9:38 PM

I am sorry my comment should have been addressed to you Leeiii not David.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Tue, May 5, 2009, at 9:45 PM

I believe Thirsty Turtle was actually across the street from the old Celebration Travel building and Krystals on what is now a used car lot.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Tue, May 5, 2009, at 10:15 PM

you may very well be right jaxspike I remember it somewhere in that general area :>)

-- Posted by Dianatn on Tue, May 5, 2009, at 11:00 PM

If I am following you correctly then I believe that the Thirsty Turtle was in the building that housed the Blue Haven back in the '40's. I think at one time it was also called Cecil's and probably several more owners and names through the years. Ernie Cook had an office for his used car lot in part of that building at one time.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, May 6, 2009, at 6:46 AM

Oh, yeah I remember sitting outside KING OF CLUBS one night till closing--just to see my husband and a girl come out and leave together. We had 4 children together. I took the kids. He chose his night life!!!! I have the best deal!!!!!

-- Posted by thinkreasonable on Wed, May 6, 2009, at 7:53 AM

I have heard my family talk about that store many times. Harold was my uncle, but I don't remember going there or what it looked like.

-- Posted by titansfan on Wed, May 6, 2009, at 8:18 AM

Honeyland and Merry-go-round had good food and nice folk working there.

I wondered why we never ate there at night.

(Maybe,it was too crowded?)

But,they had excellent sandwiches,shakes,etc.

Green Acres,King of Clubs,etc. were legendary in my youth.

It would be a rite of passage to sneak out and go to one of those infamous clubs.

(Of course,we never let anyone *see* us. We were too afraid of getting caught.)

It might have been more exciting if we'd actually gone in but the rumbles we'd heard about wouldn't have been a tenth as frightening as the little talks we'd have had with our parents after they came to fetch us from the police station.

Reports of drugs,sex,gambling,bloodsports and brawls made those clubs as forbidden and enticing as one of those dime novels with the spicy covers removed.

Pop-a-top is renowned for karaoke but that's scary in a whole 'nother way.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Wed, May 6, 2009, at 11:04 AM

I too have some fond memories of Honeyland and Green Acres.. I truly do not remember either one being nearly as bad as the stories my parents told although I was very young and it took quite a bit to scare me back then. For the life of me though I can not remember The King of Clubs.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Wed, May 6, 2009, at 11:47 AM

Hmmmm...

Ya think the adults could have warned us about the nicer places so we'd head there instead of the REAL hell-holes?

Rumors,etc. were probably safer than Burger King in that they had liquor licenses to protect.

The last thing an adult establishment needs is underage visitors getting into trouble.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Wed, May 6, 2009, at 12:53 PM

King of Clubs was rebuilt as a concrete building and eventually became Bill Bakers bar. A band I played with spent many enjoyable weekends there and Bill kept it fairly well controlled.

-- Posted by cherokee2 on Wed, May 6, 2009, at 2:08 PM

The Thisty Turtle was across the street from Krystal...you guys forgot the square...Cozy Corner!

and Honey Land..Ms Sarah was the cook @ one time!

the door to Honey Land was Red Ace Gas.

I think the Wagon Wheel was also the name of the joint in front of Kroger..???

and the barber shop was in one side..??

-- Posted by punkin1129 on Wed, May 6, 2009, at 2:14 PM

The Thisty Turtle was across the street from Krystal...you guys forgot the square...Cozy Corner!

and Honey Land..Ms Sarah was the cook @ one time!

the door to Honey Land was Red Ace Gas.

I think the Wagon Wheel was also the name of the joint in front of Kroger..???

and the barber shop was in one side..??

-- Posted by punkin1129 on Wed, May 6, 2009, at 2:14 PM

what was the first 4 Picturing the Past I missed those sorry to say

-- Posted by punkin1129 on Wed, May 6, 2009, at 3:21 PM

what was the first 4 Picturing the Past I missed those sorry to say

-- Posted by punkin1129 on Wed, May 6, 2009, at 3:25 PM

Overcast's Texaco

East Side of the square

Clift's/Hawkins feed mill

Bridge Street

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, May 6, 2009, at 4:15 PM

Dog-gone-it David,

I couldn't wait to blog in dating myself this week. (LoL) I look forward to it each Tuesday. However, this is the third week in a row that the photo was before my time. Oh well, better luck next week. Great stuff though, and very educational. The City gives itself small facelifts every so often and much of the history is lost. Dixie Hotel, old livery stable where the bank is now etc. In short, we all just love these and please keep them coming.

-- Posted by Cornelia.Marie on Thu, May 7, 2009, at 12:34 PM

Oh, I almost forgot. thinkreasonable, not to make light of it, and yes, you definately got the better deal. But, do you have a picture of the expression on his face when you caught him? Talk about old pictures being worth alot!

-- Posted by Cornelia.Marie on Thu, May 7, 2009, at 12:46 PM

I mentioned above that I thought the original King of Clubs had burned. While looking for something else, I ran across the photos of the first building's flaming end -- on the early morning of Oct. 3, 1963.

-- Posted by David Melson on Fri, May 8, 2009, at 2:02 PM

i remember the hen house bar just off the town square. it used to be rough bar sometimes.

-- Posted by MARINEDAN on Fri, May 22, 2009, at 7:51 AM

marinedan I have heard the the name "Hen House". Exactly where was it just off the square?

-- Posted by leeiii on Fri, May 22, 2009, at 8:48 AM

ok leeiii, the hen house was located on the same street as the old martain price hardware store. ive been away from shelbyville so long i forgot the name of the street. it was a block down from the old police department. hope that helps.

-- Posted by MARINEDAN on Sat, May 23, 2009, at 8:07 AM

marinedan that seems to ring a bell with me. I am wondering if it could have been on the corner of Holland and North Brittian across from the old Holland House or the old Trailways Bus Station.

-- Posted by leeiii on Sat, May 23, 2009, at 10:05 AM

there was a bar-b-q place behind the merry-go-round, anyone remember the name? it was a treat as a kid going with my mom to get a saurday supper order there.

-- Posted by fabulous1 on Thu, May 28, 2009, at 8:48 PM

leeiii, (and anyone else, of course) let me pick your brain about a couple of cafe's that have escaped mention here, thus far.

Just off the square on North Main St. there was a little cafe that was shoehorned between the railroad tracks and another building.I was in there once, on business, around 1964, I'm thinking. Am I correct in remembering the name of this place as being " Hazlett's cafe?

On Bridge St,just off the square there was a cafe whose name I can't recall for sure, but believe it might have been simply Bridge St. Cafe. I was never in there, but was told by my father-in-law that it was the hangout for a group of fellows back in the 1940's, who called themselves "The White Hat Gang." Remember this cafe, or have any info on the "Gang?"

One block off the square, on Lane St.(West?)there was a little joint owned by Sonny Grooms, called I think, "Sonny's Place." This would have been about where the Red Ace station would later relocate, at least in the near vicinity.

Would appreciate any input you can provide.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Thu, Jun 18, 2009, at 10:53 AM

ilikeoldsongs,

I do not recall any of these places, except for Red Ace..we had 2 the one at Big Springs shopping center (still a gas station and they pump it) and the one out beside Cebal (American Can) where the car lot is...That Red Ace was next door to Honeyland...

"The White Hat Gang" I remember my grandmother and grandaddy saying that name...

I thought it was something she made up about my grandaddy, because besides them I have never heard it mentioned before...both of them have been past away for years now but they would have been in there 20's /30's in 1940's. What do you know about this White hat gang??? I am curious.

-- Posted by punkin1129 on Fri, Jun 19, 2009, at 10:20 AM

punkin1129, by saying that you have heard the name "White Hat Gang" you have just qualified as an "expert" on the subject! Seriously, I am hoping that others can shed a little light on the subject, as I actually know zero.I am glad to hear that someone besides myself has heard of them.

My "impression", and its just that, is that these fellows weren't hardened criminals or anything approaching that, but more like a group of guys kind of eat up with ego who, like most gang members, felt ten feet tall when together.

In fact I remember my father-in-law saying that they thought they were tough when together, but catch one out by himself and he would run like a rabbit. He never indicated that he had ever had a run-in with them, personally, although the disdain in his voice was very clear.

So many things I should have paid closer attention to when young, many I should have written down for future reference. But I guess when we're young, the future is now, and its only when our elders are gone that we begin to realize that the library has burned down before we read all the books.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Fri, Jun 19, 2009, at 11:44 AM

ilikeoldsongs, yes Hazletts rings a bell with me, however, on one side of the railroad tracks was the box factory and on the other side of the tracks was a pool room in my remembrance. Somehow I think Hazletts may have been a little closer to Stewart-Potts.

It seems to me that I can remember the little cafe just a little ways down Bridge Street but I do not remember the name nor was I ever in there. No, I can not remember ever hearing of the "White Hat Gang" which may mean that I was somewhat sheltered during those years. I did not get out into society much until after my Daddy came home from the war in '45.

I remember that Sonny Grooms had a place in that area but I was thinking that it was somewhere a little closer to the pencil mills. I am real foggy about this one.

Yes I agree with you that we missed out on a treasure trove of information by not putting on our listening ears when we were much younger. We have let a tremendous amount of good information slip through our fingers. However, it seems to me that I already knew it all and did not need any more information.

-- Posted by leeiii on Sun, Jun 21, 2009, at 7:32 AM

Somehow I think Hazletts may have been a little closer to Stewart-Potts.

leeii, you're spot on in the above assessment. Any wonder I have such a high regard for the accuracy of your memory? Thanks!

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Sun, Jun 21, 2009, at 8:17 PM

Anybody remember "Popeye's Place" on Depot Street?

Honeyland had the best BBQ sandwiches in the County, and would serve drive-in beer to discreet 17-year-olds (not naming names of course - just a rumor I heard).

-- Posted by w00dy on Sat, Jun 27, 2009, at 11:52 PM

Woody, as you go through the archives of David's blogs you will see that there are a myriad of places that have been remembered such as "Popeyes" and "Honeyland". It is hard to believe that anyone would be involved in service of alcohol for underage consumption, isn't it? I wonder, could that still be happening today?

-- Posted by leeiii on Sun, Jun 28, 2009, at 7:17 AM

leeiii, I would be Shocked! SHOCKED!!! if such a thing were happening.

But I recall one Halloween (not naming names of course - just a rumor I heard) when a certain prominent member of CHS Class of '58 with an antipathy to drinking establishments targeted the big bright Schlitz sign at the King of Clubs. I *heard* that he and some of his friends "liberated" a pickup-load of pumpkins from somebody's cornfield. The idea was to loft a big pumpkin from the truck, speeding by the "King", and hit the sign. On the first and only run (I heard), the pumpkin missed the sign about two feet low and landed in the middle of the trunk of a particularly sharp Ford that belonged to a citizen who was especially well known for beating on those who crossed him. Take a right at the first dirt road, turn off the lights, don't touch the brakes except the hand brake, and haul it home. Just a rumor - - -

-- Posted by w00dy on Mon, Jun 29, 2009, at 11:44 PM

Yes, that was a rowdy bunch. I heard some tales about their Senior trip to Washington.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Jun 30, 2009, at 6:24 AM

Hazlets'cafe was right next to the driveway into Stewart Potts' garage area. Sonny Grooms' place was called "the little brown jug". Not that I know from my own experience, but just what I have heard from some of my friends.

-- Posted by bobbynewell on Fri, Jul 13, 2012, at 10:46 PM

bobbynewell, I thought you were trying to quit.

-- Posted by leeiii on Sat, Jul 14, 2012, at 6:56 AM


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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.