This Beautiful, Historic Bar is Hidden Away in the Most Unlikely of Places in Evansville, IN
I've always thought that old stuff, especially when it comes to things like furniture and architecture, is just neater and cooler to look at than new stuff. I guess I appreciate it more because I can only imagine the time and effort that went into creating it. Back in the day, they didn't have the technology to mass-produce everything, so, many pieces were built by hand by some very skilled laborers. One of the neatest old things I've seen recently just happened to be in one of the most unlikely places I can think of.
You can probably guess that the neat old thing I'm referring to is the beautiful bar pictured above. What you probably couldn't guess is where I saw it. Would you believe that it's just kind of tucked away in one of the rooms at the CK Newsome Center near downtown Evansville? My first question was, "Why in the world is this huge bar in some random room at the CK Newsome Center?" That was quickly followed up with another question - "How in the world have I never seen this thing here before?" I have been to the CK Newsome Center countless times over the last 25 years, and I had no idea it was home to such a treasure.
What's the Story With This Bar?
I had to do some digging, but I was able to track down a little bit of information about the bar's origin. It appears as though the bar was originally a part of the former Acme Hotel, which was located in downtown Evansville. The Acme Hotel was razed in 1956, which would explain why the bar had to be moved - rather move it than lose it. I still haven't found a reason why, or how the bar landed in the CK Newsome Center.
More About the Acme Hotel
I found the old postcard above in the University of Southern Indiana digital archives. It's a picture of downtown Evansville, looking southeast down NW 2nd St. According to the description, "The red building (although some photographs show it much lighter in color) is the formerly 201-9 Upper 2nd St., 22 NW 2nd St. Acme Hotel. The building was built as a hotel circa 1866 and was renamed Acme in 1893."
Here is one of the few actual photos I could find of the Acme Hotel - this one is circa 1898. What little information I could find stated that Acme Hotel "catered to African-Americans before segregation came to an end."
The Bar These Days
For the record, the bar is no longer used as a bar in the traditional sense. It is not used to serve alcohol. In fact, there is no alcohol (no anything, actually) behind the bar. Honestly, I really don't know what the bar is used for. Maybe it's just there to serve as a conversation starter - it certainly piqued my curiosity, and led to this article. I just hope that shining a light on this historic piece of furniture will allow, or encourage, more people to see it. So, next time you find yourself walking into the CK Newsome Center, just take a right in the lobby, and then down the hallway to your left. Before you reach the gym, you'll pass a room on your right, and that's where you'll find the bar.