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Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Sepia Club, Circa 1966

I took this picture at the Center Street Exhibit at the State Historical Society. It is a photo from the Des Moines Register that dealt with urban renewal. The building with the old Miller beer sign is the Sepia. However, by 1966 the Gray brothers had sold the club and it was then called the Collins Club. just a few door down was The Nip (it is the one with the Hamms beer sign). The Nip was a rough and tumble bar that Jimmy used to bar tend in his first couple of years in Des Moines. In its day the Sepia was the main rival of the Bilikin. The Sepia Club had a bandstand and stage shows, plus fine dinning was available. People who came to the Sepia Club or the Bilikin dressed up. In fact, many people came and parked on the street and watched the young couples strolling down the street, and listen to the hot blues and jazz floating out of the buildings. Of course it is hard to believe what the club was like in the 40s and 50s during its heyday from the picture above. by 1966 most businesses were beginning the slow move from Center Street to University Ave between 6th Avenue, and 12th street.

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