The Original Club
34th Street and West Avenue
Newport News, VA 23607

Image courtesy of Jean Lankes (HHS - ’72)
of VA - 02/08/05
Thanks, Jean!
Image courtesy of Jean Lankes (HHS - ’72)
of VA - 02/08/05
Thanks, Jean!
The Tidewater Club
The Original Club
1930 1947  
Have you been awaiting a “Way Back Then” image for the Original Club? At last, I received the PC from EBAY and scanned it.  The postmark on the card was dated 1930. Back then, it was named the Tidewater Club, and it was a private club associated with the shipyard. In a Hill’s Directory, Homer Ferguson was listed as the President.  I never had occasion to attend the Original Club, so I would be curious to know if it looked much different than this PC in the 60s.    
Image Courtesy of Dave Spriggs
('64) of VA - 05/11/09
Thanks, Dave!
Image Courtesy of Bill Lee
(WHS - '54) of NC - 03/07/08
Thanks, Bill!

My dad was very familiar with the Original Club in the 1940's. It was a nice, respectable social/dance club where gentleman took their dates, singles met other singles, and married couples enjoyed it too! Most of the musical entertainment was provided by local bands, some from NC. It was located at 34th Street and West Avenue. My father (Bud Lankes) was a card-carrying member and actually lived there for a year during the 1940’s (the club got cheaper insurance rates if people lived in the building). Dad painted cartoon characters on the club's walls -- see photos.

The wolf was painted on a door and was given away one evening as the "door prize".... an insurance man named Bill Suttle was the winner. I wonder if his family still has the door??? My parents met at the Original Club, and their wedding reception was held there in 1948. Formerly in this building at 34th and West was The Tidewater Club, a Newport News businessmen’s organization. Around 1960(?), The Original Club building was bought by the shipyard in an expansion effort, and was torn down. The location of the club was moved to the Warwick Shopping Center. The club then became somewhat smaller, and I guess it shrank down to nothing over the next 25 or 30 years. If anyone spots any historical boo-boo’s in this paragraph, don't get your feathers in a ruff, just let me know!  :-)

- Jean Lankes (HHS - ’72) of VA - 02/08/05
WOWZERS! Thanks, Jean!

I was wondering if there were any old pictures of the Original Club on the NNHS website. I searched it but didn't see any. I remember going to a lot of dances down there in its hey day, which was in the late 50's and 60's. I also remember singing down there with Wayne Green back in the 70's, but not sure what we were singing for. But I do remember Dick Lamb being there spinning the discs.  Anyone know the history behind the Original Club and what ever happened to it?

- F.A. Saunders (HHS - '64) of VA - 03/04/08
Thanks, F.A.! Let's find out!

The Original Club was located at the end of 33rd or 32nd Street at the very end. Just a couple of blocks from the Apprentice School building on West Avenue. It was adjacent to the fence of the shipyard. When you looked out the windows you looked right into the yard. When I went there I was attending Warwick Jr. High School, and you had to have an invitation to go to the sorority dance. They used to refer to them as bids for some reason.  I'm sure someone who reads this went also back then. Seems to me the Original Club was tied in with the shipyard in some way, but not certain on that. Anyway, I appreciate your posting this.

- F.A. Saunders (HHS - '64) of VA - 03/04/08
Thanks, F.A.!

... Somewhere I have an old postcard of the Original Club before it became that.  It was a U.S.O., perhaps.  I'll try to locate it.

- Bob Buchan ('61) of VA
WOWZERS! That would be super, Bob!

Coincidently, I am presently working on a history of the Apprentice Alumni Association. This year marks the 75th anniversary
of that group's creation.

My understanding is that it was a private club, supported by its members. I assume a great many of the members were shipyard employees, including some middle and perhaps even upper management people. But I don't think it was ever a part of the shipyard, per se.

Dave (Spriggs - '64 - of VA) probably can find an address in one of the Hill's Directories he has access to.

Their dues (if any) were augmented by frequently renting the place out. For some unknown number of years, the AAA held their annual crab feats there. I vividly recall being there around 1960 for such events.

I did find a picture of an even earlier apprentice alumni event that was held there - a reception and dance following the first homecoming football game (1947) at the stadium behind the old Apprentice Athletic Building (which faced Washington Avenue). The picture doesn't show much of the club, however, just a crowd listening to a singer (can't see her face, but it's remotely possible that she is Dave's aunt - Shirley Linkous Girt Callaway of TX). For that reason, a scan is attached, so he can guess right along with me.

- Bill Lee (Warwick HS - '54) of NC - 03/07/08
WOWZERS! Thanks, Bob!

Hi Carol,

..... About the Original Club.  Dick (Krause - '56 /'57) was a long standing member and we attended many events.  I will try to find out the year the club was formed, I believe it was late 30's or early 40's.  The Club was not connected to the shipyard in any way.  Most members were shipyard employees.  And many were graduates of the apprentice school.  In "those days" Virginia did not have any nice public dance clubs for adults.  So the clubs were primarily "private".  We paid membership dues, which supported the operation of the building and employees.  Beer and fountain sodas were the only beverages sold from the bar.  The Virginia ABC laws allowed private club members to bring alcohol in "brown bags" or flasks. 

The Original Club was open at lunch time for members, who usually had soup/sandwiches.  I suppose some would have a beer with their lunch.  They had monthly meetings for fellowship and planning of events.  At least one dinner/dance was held each month, which members paid a "ticket" fee.  This covered the cost of the band.  We had many fine evenings out as we both enjoyed dancing.  One of our favorite events were the steam shrimp feasts.  We also had wonderful holiday - Christmas and New Year's Eve events.  The club building was also used by the USO during WWII for their events.  The "O" Club sponsored children's sports such as Little League teams.  The wives were active in the community through the Lady "O"s. 

All my photos from those years are packed away, but I will look for them and see what I can get together for you.

- Joan Lauterbach Krause ('60) of VA - 03/07/08
COOL! Thanks, Joan!


I have followed the exchanges about the Original Club with great interest and can give first hand knowledge to Joan Lauterbach Krause's ('60 - of VA) statement regarding the Original Club sponsoring youth sports teams.

As a 12 year old I was a member of a really good youth basketball team sponsored by the Original Club known as the "Little O's". We played in a league located at the old WW II "Rec Center" in East End, the same place "Adonis" (Joe Madagan - '57 - of FL) displayed his considerable water skills in the adjacent pool. But, of course we used the basketball court! :-)

Anyway, we were really something to behold with no "regular" team being able to pin a loss on us. We went undefeated through the regular season and tournament. As if those that had the authority could not allow anyone to not lose a game, they finally came up with the solution of how to pin a 2 point loss on us; an All-Star team gathered from all the Boys Clubs in the area was finally able to sneak by us 18-16! I think our final record, not absolutely sure, was 20-1?; possibly 18-1?

For those NNHS Typhoons that follow your Newsletter, the names of my teammates on that "Little O's" team may sound most familiar: Jerry Allen ('65 - of VA), Jim DeBerry ('64 - of VA), Wayne DeBerry ('65 - of VA), Johnny Montague ('65 - of AL), Dale Mueller ('64 - of VA), Eddie Perry ('65 - of TN), Tony Turner ('66? - of ?), a fellow named Chuck ... and one little guy whose name I can't remember. What a team and a great bunch of guys. When I get a chance I'll see if I can scan the team photo and send it your way, then I can embarrass all of us!!

 If any of my teammates can enhance my memory of that team, I would certainly appreciate any errors or omissions I may have made being corrected; it has been awhile! I think our Coach's name was Mr. Butcher (Burcher?? Jerry, Help!) a nicer man has never donated his time to the youth of his community than he did.

I have nothing but fond memories and the deepest respect for those good people that were "The Original Club", they did good work!


- Wayne Stokes ('65 ) of VA - 03/09/08
The Little O's!! I remember them! Well, kinda. Okay, I remember the name, anyway... Thanks, Wayne Honey!

Hi Carol!

WOW! That was quite a surprise to see my old post on the Original Club.

Just thought it was worth mentioning to the newcomers of this website -- check out all the wonderful stuff under SITE MAP, a link that is found on the home page. This is an amazing treasury of local, nostalgic history -- our old schools, our old stomping grounds, etc.

The newsletters of 2004 and 2005 contained a huge amount of nostalgic remembrances, but I think by now, every topic has been covered! I've enjoyed your newsletters so much over the years.

Best regards,

- Jean Lankes (HHS - '72) of VA - 03/09/08
Thanks so much for the plug, Jean!
As time has passed, the Newsletters, which were originally created simply to inform readers of what was new on the ever-growing site, have taken center stage. I often wonder how many of our readers even know that it is there - and it is vast!

Hi, Carol:

The Original Club sparked a wonderful set of replies for your Newsletter and Website page. I am sure many of the TYPHOON Nation enjoyed them as well for it captures some of the history of Newport News. Before World War II it seems that we made our own kind of music in local communities, whether it was Blue Grass Bands or Orchestras. Sydney Dearing ('56 - of TN) posted a couple of photos of his late father playing the piano with two orchestras before World War II, on his father's profile. Sadly, after he was wounded during the Battle of Iwo Jima as a young Marine, he was unable to play the piano. Mr. Dearing was a member of Red Overton's Orchestra and Reed Hoffler's Orchestra. Of course, this was far before the time of most of your subscribers, yet there may be a few subscribers who will remember these orchestras. The images of the Original Club prompted me to submit this bit of Peninsula history.

Your creative work enriches our lives,

TYPHOON Regards,

- Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 03/09/08
Thanks, Joe!

My brother, Mel Woolard (Hampton HS - '56) of VA, belonged to the Original Club when he was attending Apprentice School.  He remembers the good times at the dances and also playing pool and poker.  He's pretty sure it was still in its original (no pun intended) location as late as 1962, when he stopped going. 

Regarding people living there, Sam Haywood, a Riggers supervisor in the shipyard, had a room at the Original Club, but he didn't live there all the time.  Sam owned the popular Sam's Seafood Restaurant in Phoebus.  He also owned Ebb Tide, a club in Phoebus, where at a very young age of 18, I had my first alcoholic drink. What?!!? 

- Gloria Woolard Price (Hampton HS - '65) of FL - 03/11/08
Oh, you naughty baby, you! Thanks so much, Gloria!

If you create a page for The Blue Light Club, which was a private club and very mysterious
to those who could not enter, perhaps this would be the MIDI:

- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 02/09/05
Ooooh - Perfect!  Thanks, Dave - It works just as well for the Original Club!

The Green Door

- Words by Marvin Moore and Music by Bob Davie

{music includes constant "tick-tock" clock sound}

(Jim Lowe)

- peak Billboard position #1 for 3 weeks in 1956

(Midnight, one more night without sleepin')
(Watchin' till the mornin' comes creepin')
(Green door, what's that secret you're keepin?)

There's an old piano
And they play it hot behind the green door
Don't know what they're doin'
But they laugh a lot behind the green door
Wish they'd let me in
So I could find out what's behind the green door

(Knocked once, tried to tell them I'd been there)
(Door slammed, hospitality's thin there)
(Wonder just what's goin' on in there)

Saw an eyeball peepin'
Through a smoky cloud behind the green door
When I said "Joe sent me"
Someone laughed out loud behind the green door
All I want to do is join the happy crowd behind the green door

(Midnight, one more night without sleepin')
(Watchin' till the mornin' comes creepin')
(Green door, what's that secret you're keepin?)

(Green door, what's that secret you're keepin?)

Green door!!

(This page was finally created on 03/08/08 at the suggestion of F.A. Saunders (HHS - '64 - of VA.
Thanks, F.A.!  I've no idea why it wasn't made three years before.....)

"Green Door" midi courtesy of
at the suggestion of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 02/09/05
Thanks, Dave!

"Green Door" lyrics courtesy (transcribed by Robin Hood) of

also at the suggestion of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 02/09/05
Thanks again, Dave!

Sliding Beer Divider Line clip art courtesy of - 03/08/08

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