|Death: ||May 28, 1977|
The Beverly Hills Supper Club was known as "The Showplace of the Nation". Sitting on top of a hill in Southgate, Kentucky, just outside Cincinnati. The Beverly Hills was a stop for the high roller gamblers and a stage for alot of well known entertainers. Built in 1937 by Northern Kentucky entrepreneur Pete Schmidt. Gambling was outlawed in the early 60's and the Beverly Hills stood empty for about a decade. The Beverly Hills reopened in 1971 with new owners and they made the club what it was, a truly glamerous place. The new owners took very good care of the customers and employees. People dressed up to go to the Beverly Hills. It was a place for weddings, parties, receptions, meetings and more. It was a very classy place. All of that suddenly ended on the evening of Saturday May 28, 1977. A fire broke out in one of the function rooms known as the Zebra Room. The fire quickly raced through the club. As the fire erupted at the front of the club, the comedy team of Teter and McDonald were performing on the stage down the corridor in the Cabaret Room. John Davidson was the next entertainer to take stage and was in his dressing room when the fire broke out. Mr. Davidson escaped along with all of his band. Sadly his band director did not. A teenage busboy named Walter Bailey is credited for alerting many of the guests of the fire and instructing them to leave. Fire experts have said that the death toll would have been much greater had he not of alerted the crowd. Investigation revealed the fire started by aluminum wiring in the wall of the Zebra Room. Many lawsuits followed the fire and helped to improve building standards and to make public building much more safer. This was the first lawsuit to utilize the concept of "enterprise liability" and one of the first disaster cases to sue as a mass torte. Many lessons were learned from this fire. The Beverly Hills Supper Club was never rebuilt, however parts of the property were developed, but nothing has ever been built where the club stood. A book was written and published by Ron Elliot with the story being told by Wayne Dammert. Wayne had worked at the club for many years and was the Banquet Captain and on duty the night of the fire. Wayne has spearheaded memorial services for the victims over the years and has erected a 25 foot cross seen from I-471 as a memorial for the victims. His goal is a permanant memorial on the hilltop site where the club stood but has met resistance from the now owners of the property. A highway marker was unveiled on Sunday October 28, 2007 at the bottom of the hill at the entrance to where the long driveway went up to the club. This highway marker was spearheaded by Robin Caraway and Attorney Stan Chesley who incidently was the attorney that handled all of the litigation from the fire.
The fire claimed 162 persons the night of the fire with another 3 dying later in the hospital. To this day the Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire ranks as the third worst nightclub fire in the United States.
Created by: scott
Record added: Apr 22, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 26205702