Monday, March 2, 2015

Springfield: The Lake Club

The Lake Club was a popular nightclub in Springfield, Illinois in the 1940s and 50s. It featured well-known entertainers including: Mickey Rooney, Ella Fitzgerald, Bob Hope and Nat King Cole.

This nightclub was also popular because it ran an illegal gambling operation located in the back part of the building. Patrons enjoyed billiards, card games and slot machines.

In December of 1958, the police raided this gambling operation and shut it down. After this The Lake Club slowly declined until it closed down in the early 1960s.

One popular employee at The Lake during its heyday was a bartender by the name of Albert “Rudy” Cranor. With the gambling operation he made a good living. Successful gamblers often tipped him well.

Interior of The Lake Club
With the decline of the club it was said Rudy also declined. He was found in the club’s office one afternoon--he had shot himself in the head and was dead.

In 1974, when this building was opened as a rock/disco nightclub it was believed that Rudy’s spirit haunted the building.

Bill Carmean and Tom Blasco co-managed this new club. They, the other employees and the customers all encountered Rudy’s ghost.

Shortly after opening the new nightclub Carmean was in the building alone one night when he heard a piano playing in the next room. He never discovered the cause.

When his partner, Blasco was brought in, he experienced strange sounds, whispers and cold spots. One night he saw the apparition of Rudy. He exited the building so quickly he left all the lights on. After this, he always carried his rosary for protection.

One waitress at the club, Barbara Lard also heard a phantom instrument. One afternoon before the club opened she heard a trombone playing. She assumed it was a band member until she discovered that none of them had arrived yet.

Lard also saw the apparition of the tall man. He had white hair and a white moustache. Later she identified this man as Rudy from an old photograph.

Rudy’s ghost spoke to her in the club office. He told her that one of the owners of the building was going to die. His prediction turned out to be true. One of the building’s landlords died shortly after of a heart attack.

One customer, a salesman, was sitting with Carmean one night when he saw a glass on the bar fly off--he ducked as it headed for his head.

Blasco in 1979, after attending a class reunion, requested a former teacher of his, Father Gary Dilley come in and cleanse and bless the nightclub.

Father Dilley and two other priests, Father John Corredato and Father Gerald Leahy were successful for after this the activity in the club settled down. It was felt Rudy was finally able to move on.

In 1992, the building that housed the nightclub burned down.

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