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Daniel’s Den


Frank Patrick, the former Saginaw Township resident who owned Daniel’s Den, dies at age 94.

Frank G. Patrick and his wife, Viola, never had any children, but a generation of baby-boomers will remember him fondly.

From 1964 through 1970, the man known as Mr. Patrick operated Daniel’s Den, a movie theater-turned-teen club that hosted everyone from Sonny and Cher and Joe Cocker to the Beach Boys and the Yardbirds.
Patrick, who recently moved to Mount Pleasant from Saginaw Township, died Thursday. He was 94.

“I visited him last year, interviewing him for a book on the Michigan rock scene,” said Robert “Bo” White, who owns and operates White’s Bar on State near Bay.

The Den’s parking lot merged into White’s lot, and a young Bo was sent out with a flashlight to keep teens from parking at the bar.

“I would sit outside the back door and listen to the music, the Bossmen, the Excels, all the bands,” White said. “He ran a tight ship there; performers from that time still talk about how Daniel’s Den was a cut about the others.”

“Officer Ed” Nowaczyk controlled the trouble-makers, drugs weren’t allowed and Patrick’s wife would serve adult drinks without the alcohol to train the young patrons in the social graces.

In time, he and business partner Allan C. Schmid opened teen clubs in Houghton Lake, Owosso, Lansing, Alpena and Mount Pleasant. They even looked into buying the legendary Cavern in Liverpool, England — The Beatles’ early stomping grounds — to open a Daniel’s Den there.

“Mr. Patrick still had stories from The Saginaw News about Daniel’s Den,” White said. “But by the late 1960s, he worried about how long he could keep drugs out of the club, and bands started charging a lot more.

“That was the beginning of the end.”

An astute businessman, Patrick also predicted businesses lining Bay all the way into Bay City. It was that sort of progress that led to the Den’s demolition in 1988 to make room for an Arbor Drugs store.

Patrick was always an entrepreneur, working at F.W. Woolworth, where he met his wife in 1936; Sears & Roebuck; and in automobile and real estate ventures. But he and Viola considered Daniel’s Den their most satisfying endeavor, their family said.

His wife died in 2001. Patrick leaves dozens of nieces and nephews and three sisters-in-law. His funeral service begins at 11 a.m. Wednesday 4/29 at Reitz-Herzberg Funeral Home, 1550 Midland in Saginaw Township.

The family will greet guests from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.

Below: By Permission from Clark Harder http://www.facebook.com/groups/musicbox.hl/

  • Clark Harder In the mid 60s Daniel’s Den opened a second location at Houghton Lake. It was where the Wesleyan Church is located now. An old remodeled barn originally. It is located on M55 on the south side, near Houghton Village at the center of the lake. Today there is a large Shell gas station just next door. And, yes, Sonny & Cher did perform there for their grand opening. The Music Box considered not even opening that night since the Den’s opening was heavily publicized and they expected all the kids would be there instead. However, they did open and, after Sonny & Cher performed, most of the crowd left the building to head for The Box! S & C heard them talking in the lot about going to the Box, so they asked what the Music Box was, and if they could follow them there. S & C actually danced at the Box following their performance at D’s Den! And then Cher asked to meet Shirley and went up in the tower and visited with her while she played the records. They became friends and Shirley actually later advised them on which tunes to release as singles on future albums, based on pre-release play at the Box and how the crowd responded to the ones they were thinking about releasing as singles.

Clark Harder The owners of the Den wanted to cash in on the popularity of The Box (and also give them a run for their money). They didn’t last long. D’s Den in both locations was known for both live acts and records. The original Saginaw location featured a lot more live bands.

Clark Harder Frank Patrick started the original D’s Den in Saginaw and he and Allan Schmid owned the Daniel’s Den chain. They actually also tried opening clubs in Owosso (my hometown), Lansing, Alpena and Mount Pleasant. They even looked into buying the legendary Cavern in Liverpool, England — The Beatles’ early stomping grounds — to open a Daniel’s Den there. Another interesting sidelight: Frank and his wife Viola never had any children. They both worked the original club. They both strongly opposed drugs or drinking. They both were loved by their young patrons as role models. Sound familiar? Here’s one more interesting footnote. Viola died first in 2001. Frank moved from Saginaw Township to Mt. Pleasant before he died in 2009. Shirley died first, Lee later moved to Alma before he died in 2010.


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One Response to Daniel’s Den

  1. Keith Brown says:

    the Rainmakers played here many times and usually on a double bill with Bob Seeger (and the Last Herd) as well as other bands of note.

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