Friday, August 9, 2013

Knights of Columbus - Bright St at Jersey Ave


A post is long overdue, so here we go...

 As a change compared to the most recent posts, most buildings in the old image are still standing today. The old post card refers to the building as the Knights of Columbus Hall and that may have been its usage when the post card was printed. However, the building was in all likelihood built for the 'Palma Athletic Club' in the 1870s or 1880s. A sketch of the building is included in the 'American Amateur Athletics and Aquatics' compiled by Frederick William Janssen in 1888 (page 137). The book can be found on It contains the following description of the building (and more):

[The Palma Athletic Club has ] a splendid club house at the corner of Jersey Avenue and Bright street. As you enter the building you go directly into a splendid bowling alley which with a rifle range, entirely occupies the ground floor.
Directly over the bowling alley and rifle range are the parlors and reception rooms. Rising to the full height of the building in the rear and occupying a space 40 by 48 feet is the gymnasium. The club is social as well as muscular, ladies who are friends of the members being given the privileges of the bowling alleys and rifle range five afternoons each week.

Apart from the cars, the main difference between then and now are that the architectural details and turret on the upper level of the building in the center of the images have been removed. They really added to the character of the building and that it's unfortunate that they have been removed. On the other hand, it would not be particularly complex to re-create them...

I wonder if there are any traces of the bowling alley or rifle range in the building today...

Again - it would be fun to hear from you and if you have information or anecdotes, please use the comments functionality below.

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