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1937 was a busy year in American history. Amelia Earhart disappeared during her try at flying around the world, the Scottsboro Boys went on trial, Spam (the canned meat product, not unwanted email) was introduced and the Golden Gate Bridge opened. In Alabama the big news was the opening of the only underground nightclub in America, the Bangor Café Club.
Just off U.S. Highway 31 near the Mulberry River in Blount County lie the remains of this interesting footnote to history. In its short year and a half of operation it proved to be one of the most glamorous and controversial places in the South.
Bangor Cave has been known variously as a picnic area, a concert hall, a place for political stumping, a teen hangout and most famously, or infamously, as a bar, dancehall and casino.
Now the cave is empty, with an occasional family
outing or a group of teenagers hanging out looking for adventure, but in the 1930s Bangor Cave was the home to dining, dancing, lavish decorations and gambling. Before that it was the scene of picnics, political speeches, dancing and concerts.
The cave enjoyed immense popularity among residents and travelers for many years before and after the short reign of the legendary, and in many ways mythical, speakeasy known as the Bangor Café Club.
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A special thanks to Amy Rhudy and the Blount County Memorial Museum - Oneonta, Alabama
The Birmingham News – Birmingham, Alabama
Gallatin News Examiner – Gallatin, Tennessee
Varnedoe, W. (1973). Alabama Caves and Caverns.
The Southern Democrat – Oneonta, Alabama
The Alabama Department of Archives and History – Montgomery, Alabama
Jones, P. (2006, Summer). Bangor cave casino. Alabama Heritage, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa4113/is_200607/ai_n17177461/.
Kaetz, JP. (2010). Bangor Cave. Encyclopedia of alabama. Auburn University. Retrieved from http://encyclopediaofalabama.org/face/Article.jsp?id=h-2980
Chicago Now by John R. Schmidt http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/unknown-chicago/2010/01/the-yellow-kid-rides-again-1-25-1931.html
Weil, J. The Autobiography of America's Master Swindler. Chicago: ZIFF-DAVIS PUBLISHING COMPANY Retrieved from http://www.archive.org/stream/yellowkidweilaut00weil/yellowkidweilaut00weil_djvu.txt
CHICAGO, NEW YORK, LOS ANGELES
Joseph Weil - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Weekly Iron Age – Birmingham, Alabama
Pratt City Herald – Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham Age-Herald – Birmingham, Alabama
This list is incomplete because it's a work in progress!
Please remember that the cave and the land around it is owned by a private individual. This is NOT public property. There are many signs posted that say No Trespassing. It doesn't matter that you've been going there all your life or if you've never been there. You are trespassing if you go to the cave. The signs say you will be prosecuted. I think you should believe it!
Do not think that I believe you should go and see the cave for yourself. I wrote this to preserve the history of the cave and NOT to encourage you to go check it out. IT IS PRIVATE PROPERTY!!!!!