I hope Meyer's Ace Hardware will be saved from efforts to gentrify Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood. The building used to house the legendary Sunset Cafe. It is now a hardware store visited by jazz fans from all over the world. The Oct 13, 2011 issue of the Chicago Tribune includes a column titled "2 treasures escape ravages of 'progress'." One of the treasures saved is the Swift mansion.
Indeed a magnificent building located very near the site of famous World's Columbian Exposition. Another Bronzeville historic site mentioned in the article is Meyer's Ace Hardware. Here is the piece about the store.
Meyers Ace Hardware, 315 E. 35th St.: Benny Goodman, Bix Beiderbecke and other music legends once shared the stage. Devised in 1909 as an auto garage and converted in the 1920s into the Sunset Cafe jazz club, this hardware store retains the original bandstand mural and recalls an era when Bronzeville jumped with live entertainment.
Other music legends? I am shocked that Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines are not mentioned!
Meyers Ace Hardware, a family-owned neighborhood hardware store, is located in a Bronzeville landmark building with a long and storied history. Originally an automobile garage, the building was remodeled in 1921 and transformed into one of Chicago's earliest and most legendary jazz venues, the Sunset Cafe.
The Cafe's orchestra featured such famed musicians as Louis Armstrong, Johnny Dodds, and Earl "Fatha" Hines, while its floor shows introduced the latest dances to local audiences. Many promising young artists got their start here, including Bix Beiderbecke, Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, and Gene Krupa.
In 1937, the building was remodeled and renamed the New Grand Terrace Cafe, which remained a popular night club until 1950. It later housed the office of the 2nd Ward Regular Democratic Organization, before becoming a hardware store in the late 1960s. The Sunset Cafe's original bandstand mural is still in manager's office and viewable on request. Visitors, jazz and music enthusiasts, students and families are all welcome.
There are two reports of Bix attending the Sunset Café.
1. Aug 30, 1926. Bix, Frank and Mitzi Trumbauer went to the Sunset Café to hear Louis Armstrong with Carroll Dickerson Orchestra. Bix introduced Louis to Frank.
2. Jul 1928. Whitemans orchestra had a three week engagement in Chicago. Louis told Bix that he (Louis) was playing at the Sunset Café. Bix joined Louis after hours for a jam session.
I think the first report is correct. The second is partially correct. Indeed, Bix and Louis jammed together in Chicago in Jul 1928, but not at the Sunset Café; it was at the Savoy Ballroom.
In spite of the numerous reports that Bix played at the Sunset Café, I doubt that he did, at least at the time of the above reports.