242 1/2 Commerce Ave. Grand Rapids (American Legion Post 59)
Crispus Attucks was the first casualty of the Boston Massacre, in Boston, Massachusetts, and is widely considered to be the first American casualty in the American Revolutionary War.
The building burned down sometime in the 70’s, early 80’s and the replacement building 243 Commerce Ave. came down around 2013. It had been among other things River City Slims. There is a high rise project on the site going up now. The Post ran into a lot of trouble the last few years it was open.
Leaders and other members of our local African American community were renting Roma Hall at Franklin and Division from G.B. Russo, beginning in 1936. Walter Coe, Frank LaMar, Mr and Mrs. Floyd Skinner, etc. They named their new place Club Indigo and held dances and social events there until about 1940, when they switched location to Crispus Attucks. The events at Club Indigo are pretty well documented in a Grand Rapids-related ‘social’ column located in the Chicago Defender, written by Mrs. Skinner.
The people that remodeled the one story building that replaced the one in the picture above later to become River City Slims put a considerable sum of money into it! Too bad, as it was a long-term tradition that was housed at that hall. The young jazz players that came out of South High in the late 30s and 40s learned from the black musicians that played there and at Barnetts, Dukes and the Horseshoe Bar. Claire and Dirk Fischer, Arno Marsh, and many others.