Bangor Cave in Blount Springs, Alabama
Bangor Cave in Blount County, Alabama was once labeled “the only
underground nightclub in America.” The night club only existed for a
year and a half near the resort town and mineral springs of Blount
Springs in the late 1930s.
Bangor Cave was discovered in the late nineteenth century by state
geologist Walter B. Jones located about four miles northeast of Blount
Springs. There are three entrances to the cave. One was created
artificially when the cave was used as a nightclub. A spur of the
Louisville & Nashville railroad terminated at the Bangor station and
carried people almost to the door of the cave.
Property owner, J. Breck Musgrove along with a group of investors funded
the construction of the nightclub. They blasted a new opening with
dynamite and carved a bandstand and bar in the stone. The floor of the
first chamber was leveled with the addition of concrete and covered with
linoleum, and the second chamber was later turned into a lounge for
women patrons. A locked and heavily guarded room housed slot machines,
craps tables, roulette wheels, and card tables. Reportedly, the total
construction cost for the nightclub was around $70,000, which the owners
claimed that they made back in the first few days of operation.
The operators have sculptured an orchestra stand from an enormous
boulder inside the cave, which provided seating for 20 musicians and
singers. The ledge overhangs the dance floor and is surrounded with
chromium bannisters with colored flood lights play on the entertainers.
This was one of the premier arenas for entertainers to appear in Alabama
at that time and many acts were booked from all over the US.
Almost immediately, raids and legal proceedings began against the
nightclub after it opened in 1937 with Governor Bibb Graves in the
forefront. The owners shut the nightclub down in January 1939 and the
wooden structures within the cave burned in January 1940.
Sheriff Ed Miller of Blount County must have made the gambling casino a
major point of his election in the political climate of the time. He
acted immediately after being sworn in.
Sadly, the cave has suffered structural and cosmetic damage over the
years from use and vandalism.
Most recently, the cave is not open to the public and has been purchased
by an individual who has been restoring it and working to remove the
spray paint graffiti.