NEWS

History of "2nd Street Music Hall"

By Zeb McGruder
Posted: December 1, 2006

New Blues Club Takes Over One Of Gadsden's Most Historic Buildings

Gadsden's newest and grandest nightclub, 2nd Street Music Hall, creates the illusion of being in the romantic New Orleans' French Quarter, and carries guests back to an earlier, more elegant era with it's original balconies, street lights, original art work and fascinating array of antiques and memorabilia.

The building housing 2nd Street Music Hall is rich in history. Built in 1892, the remarkable interior design came from an unlikely duo. French architect, Pierre Claude Van Dame, who designed the building and Zeke Smirdlapp, a shiftless drunk and sometimes traveling evangelist who wanted to erect a grand structure after the devastating 1891 earthquake.

The result was Gert's Emporium of fun, food, and frivolity characterized as one of the most popular entertainment spots during Gadsden's riverboat era. The restaurant/bordello offered fine food, gambling and fast women right up until the dark days of the depression in 1933. Three years later, in 1936, the building was used as a theater for Gadsden's legendary Sally Endfinger's Traveling Puppet Show and a home for unwed mothers.

With the end of World War II, Sally's Puppet Show turned out it's lights and hung up it's strings. In the 1960's, the building reopened briefly as a storefront church, led by none other than Jim and Tammy Baker, who went on to form the now disgraced PTL Club. Next, the premises were taken over by a militant faction of the Salvation Army. The building continued on an ignominious decline that hit bottom when the building was being used as the local Republican Headquarters and was later condemned by city building inspectors. A last minute reprieve saved it from demolition and the tarnished and abused structure was restored to it's original grandeur by none other than ABC Television's April 1, 2004 episode of Extreme Makeover Club Edition.

In June, 2004, 2nd Street Music Hall was opened and happy music lovers filled the hall once more and has enriched the lives of those who have come to be transported in a spirit to an earlier and more romantic time and place. The idea behind this small wonderland is to make you life today more pleasant.

2nd Street Music Hall provides music for the discriminating listener, which combines the best of the "old school" music with the finest of the new. From Kenny Wayne Shepard to Percy Sledge; from Nappy Brown to LeRoy Parnell; and from Captain and Tennille to Colonel Bruce Hampton.

If you are looking to enjoy your favorite Blues artist or Jam Band in a warm, civilized and intimate setting, come join the ranks of those who have delighted in the beauty and charm of this historic building throughout the 20th century.

2nd Street Music Hall is located at 208 South Second Street in historic downtown Gadsden. Be sure and check out the website for upcoming shows and events at www.2ndstreetmusic.net.