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[ NOTE: Most of the information previously presented in this space has been superseded by my subsequent writing and research efforts.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. ]