Club Plantation, a Black and Tan, was located in the basement of the Norwood Hotel located at 550 E. Adams between Beaubien and St. Antoine. It at one time was considered the number one spot in Paradise Valley. The hotel and club were owned by black numbers operator and business man Walter Norwood. Norwood opened the club in 1932, but by 1941, ownership would change when Benjamin Franklin “Slim” Jones purchased the club. Jones changed the name to Club Congo. Jones like Norwood was a numbers man. He previously owned the Chocolate Bar located at 632 Livingstone between Hastings and Beaubien.
Club Planation’s marketing and décor was that of a southern plantation. The entrance to the club was made to look like a white painted mansion, with a columned front, and painted trees. The ceiling was painted to reflect a darkened sky.
Club Plantation was known for its elegance and first class entertainment and floor shows. Earl Walton was the in-house musician and he and his orchestra was responsible for much of the club’s early success. At one point, it was estimated 95% of the audience at the Club Plantation were white.
In addition to great music, Club Plantation offered comedy, skits, and dancers to its wealthy customers.
Auzie “Queen of Mirth and Song” Dial,
Dance Team of Turner and Burrelle,
“Dusty” Murray (Producer and Comedian),
the Club Plantation Sextette of Sepia Sweethearts,
James “Rhythm Manic” Simmons
The below are images of a “Table Knocker.” This is one of a few versions. Table Knockers were used to give “applause” and to get the attention of a waiter or waitress.
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