Paradise Valley Clubs

Contributed by Paige Watkins

Club Harlem chorus line, c. 1934

Club Harlem chorus line, c. 1934

Detroit's Paradise Valley was full of nightclubs, bars and theaters frequented by Jazz & Blues musicians known locally and around the world. From the 1920s until the 1950s, Hastings Street was a hub for Black musicians to perform, rivaling other places like Harlem and the Southside of Chicago. Jazz greats like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Duke Ellington were regular guests in Paradise Valley's nightclubs; playing in venues like Jake's, the Paradise Theater, the Tropicana, Club Harlem, the Flame Show Bar, Sportee's Lounge & the Horseshoe Bar.

The Flame Show Bar

The Flame Show Bar

Though known nationally as a place for Black music and entertainment, Paradise Valley was also a concentrated area of Black entrepreneurship. with dozens of the clubs, speakeasies and theaters owned by Black Detroiters.

When I-375 freeway was built, this area was essentially decimated to make room for the "urban renewal" efforts of the city. Few theaters, clubs, and restaurants remain from this era. One of the last vestiges of Paradise Valley, the Horseshoe Bar at 606 Adams St, came down recently with the construction of Ford Field.

Paradise Theater

Paradise Theater