Club Continental

BB King

Club Continental

E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
World War II and Aftermath

The Club Continental, located at 150 NE 10th Ave., was a two-story concrete block and stucco building built in 1945. The first floor contained a bar area and the second floor was used for dances and concerts. The club was a hub for black entertainment from the 1950s to the 1960s and was part of the Chitlin Circuit which was a network of clubs, theaters, and other venues where black entertainers were allowed to perform during the segregation era. Many artists that performed here for $400 a night would eventually become household names such as James Brown, B.B. King, Fats Waller, and Guitar Slim.

One of the main features of the club was a revolving carousel bar that was purchased from a restaurant in Miami and installed in the club in 1960. The carousel held 60 people and was decorated with colored glass depicting scenes of Florida. In the center were fake organ pipes and fish that appeared to swim as the bar turned. The carousel was removed when the club closed and installed in a restaurant in Lantana.

The vacant lot immediately to the east was used as a parking lot for the club. The lot was also used by the Silas Green from New Orleans show which was an African-American owned and run variety tent show that operated from about 1904 to 1957. The owner, Ephraim “Eph” Williams, was the only black circus owner in the country.

There is little information on the history of the club; however, we know the following.

May 1948 City Commission minutes include a request from the owners and manager of the Club Continental, Lawrence B. and Harry H. Jacobson, to be granted a temporary permit for 30 days to operate a motion picture on the second floor of the building. The license was approved. In November, 1948 another request for a temporary permit to show movies was submitted. This was also approved on the condition that an outside stairway was installed before the permit was issued. Later in the same month; however, the City Commission received a complaint about the noise levels. In January, 1949, the license issued to Lawrence Jacobson in 1948 was transferred to J.D. Clements Jr. who appears to have been the new owner. A newspaper article in the Orlando Sentinel dated August 13, 1987 states that the club was then operated by Mr. E.J. Bing from 1951 to 1952. In February, 1952 the liquor license was transferred to a new owner named Herbert Waskow who is recorded as being the fourth owner. In April and May 1952, the City Commission again heard complaints about the noise levels and agreed to give Mr. Waskow a trial period to resolve the problem by keeping the windows closed and by having the black neighborhood policeman address the noise from the street. The minutes from this meeting state that the dances held in the club attracted young people from all along the East coast.

The club continued to operate in 1958 as it is listed in Polk’s Directory as the Club Continental Tavern. The club closed in 1971 due to the deterioration of the neighborhood and the increase in the cost of live acts. The beverage license was transferred from Mr. Waskow to Walgreen’s. Interviewed at a later date, Mr. Waskow, who had owned the club for 30 years, stated “I did well there. The place was always jumping. And as far as I know it was always jumping before I owned it.”

Club Continental CarouselClub Continental Carousel (Palm Beach Post - May 3, 1982)

These photos are the property of Anthony Adams and may not be copied or re-used without his permission.

Club Continental interiorClub Continental

Duplex West UnitClub Continental bar

Club Continental InteriorClub Continental Interior

Club Continental North and East ElevationsClub Continental North and East Elevations

Silas Green Show