Saturday, November 13, 2010

American Saloon

There is exciting work in progress at the former American Saloon at 1600 E. Fifth Street!   The property was recently purchased by "The 1600 Group, LLC" - a group of concerned neighbors that got together to save the building.

 Here's some history from one of the managing partners, Joe:
James Sinkey bought the lot on land contract from the lawyer that platted the area, Thomas Smith, in the late 1840’s. He paid off the land contract in the late 1850’s. The building was built in 1860 as a residence and grocery store. He sold it to Mary Gerber in 1870. She leased it to John Rock in 1891 still as a grocery store and residence for $18 per month. My mother (age 91) tells me that she remembers it as JoJo’s Café when she was growing up. JoJo’s was well known for their hot pork sandwiches. It was still JoJo’s when the [prior] owner purchased it in 1997 for $91,400.
Sometime after 1997, the building was re-named the American Saloon and survived as a ramshackle blue-collar bar until it closed in 2008. It was tied up in legal disputes between the building owner and the bar business for nearly two years.  It is now being restored to help attract a new business to the neighborhood.

The building is an outstanding example of vernacular storefront architecture in St. Anne's Hill.   Check back here for more information on this exciting project!


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