The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

29 April 2006

Tearing down the Hellmouth

Once upon a time (let's say 1910) there was an Episcopal church near Belle Isle. After a few years, it was literally picked up and wheeled down Classen to just north of 30th Street. (Maybe "wheeled" isn't the right word; it was actually placed on logs, and rolled as they rolled.)

Half a century passed. The congregation made plans for a new building, a couple of miles to the west. Legend has it that a member of the church's clerical staff hanged himself in the sanctuary.

In the 1970s, the building became a theme restaurant; given its Gothic architecture, you can well imagine the theme. Eventually it mutated into a nightclub with otherworldly names like Infinity and Babylon. Finally, as Club Purgatory, it was turned into a death-metal (of course) venue, allegedly owned by a madman. Needless to say, it's believed to be haunted.

Ward 2 Councilman Sam Bowman never has been particularly fond of this building. "The place has been an on-and-off nightclub — and nightmare — for years," he said to the Mid-City Advocate.

And now the bulldozers are coming. Eventually there will be a little strip of small shops presumably more suitable for the city's Asian District. As of this writing, there has been no indication of a Demon Alert.

Posted at 4:28 PM to City Scene


Yeah, no great loss I'm sure. My grandmother and two of her sisters lived down the street back in the sixties and seventies. They were suitably shocked when it was a gay bar, living as they were just around the corner from the cathedral. I can remember going into the "Little Black Sambo's" next door late one evening and the bar crowd was there as well. Quite a sight for a sheltered farm boy in his early teens.

It sure was a sign that the neighborhood was in decline. I'm not too wild about going by there these days.

Posted by: Jeffro at 8:01 PM on 29 April 2006

Classen is interesting ... I find it ironically amusing that such a cool old gothic building is being replaced by another little strip of nail and noodle shops. With the saving of the Kamps building and the Gold Dome I would have thought this building would not be offered up to the scrape and run Gods.

I've been thre during its different venue runs and its kinda interesting inside ... the crowds are ecclectic for sure (I'm 48) but "pregress" marches on I suppose .... unless of course we can get some logs and roll that sucker down 23rd across from the Tower :)

Posted by: Ron at 6:59 AM on 30 April 2006

I may sound terribly mystical, but I think it's a bad thing to turn something sacred into something deliberately and obstinately profane. Church to home is one thing. Church to night club is quite another. The Lord says "God is not mocked."

I'm not really sure what that means on the ground, but I tend to stay away from mocking as much as humanly possible.

So knock it down, I say.

Posted by: Dan at 3:09 PM on 30 April 2006