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Kai Schafft: The Monochord Interview

Moonshiner's Parking Lot?

 

A piece of St. Paul's cultural history may be torn down for a parking lot.

The Victoria Cafe produced a recording of absolutely unique importance

In May 2006, I realized that an internationally notorious recording from 1927 — "Moonshiner's Dance, Part One" — was the work of the house band of a nightclub at 825 University Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota. 

Nobody had understood this before, so I was astonished and overjoyed to find the building still standing 79 years later.  Since then -- since early 2006 -- I drive by it often, and each time my heart skips a beat until I see that the Victoria Theater is still there.

But now, not even 4 years into my research for a book on "Moonshiner's Dance," the Victoria building is being eyed for demolition to make way for a parking lot. 

What disturbs me most is that, while my findings are enormously suggestive, the building's historical importance is not yet well understood.  Like a species allowed to go extinct before biologists are even able to describe it, the Victoria Theater may be destroyed in the near-total absence of knowledge. 

Other community members have great reasons to want the building saved.  

I have my own reasons. 

 

[ NOTE: Most of the information previously presented in this space has been superseded by my subsequent writing and research efforts. For this reason, I've deleted the text. Please visit this more recent post for better information on my mission to express the many stories I've encountered while trying to understand the meanings of this place. ]

Comments

Private Beach

That should be "Byrds", not "Birds". Good luck in your quest to save the building.

Joey

Hopefully the building is saved. It reminds me of the way Paramount Records is now all but erased from Grafton, WI. Love the blog, keep it up.

Joey

Pete

It's interesting that Model Cities Inc has a mission statement that includes "to carry out community-based development that improves the quality of life and contributes to the revitalization of urban communities". I would characterize their decision to tear what is described above as a cultural landmark as very counter-mission. I certainly hope they reconsider their proposal and think of what is important historically and culturally to the community and urban populations they claim to support. You CAN revitalize without destroying. To preserve and reuse the structure would add a depth to the area that would be impossible to replicate.
Thank you for posting this.

Andrew Hine

Thanks! Rock on.
(Watching the movie "Vinyl" now...)

AMH
VP 2009
Historic Saint Paul
www.historicsaintpaul.org
and on Facebook

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