We are Monroe and Betty Sago, husband and wife, life-long citizens of Natchez, MS. We  obtained  the property in 1983, and opened an auto detail center known as Quality Car Care Center.  Later, several elderly gentlemen came along and enlightened us about the site and the history it held.  They encouraged us to do something to preserve the history of the tragic Rhythm Night Club Fire of April 23, 1940.  For a number of years their plea fell on death ears.  About 10 years ago, many survivors of the fire started to visit the site and share articles and photos with us, we began to listen to their stories and knew that we must help them tell their stories.  We started commemorating the event on April 2008 with several survivors and the community present.  The commemorations continued thereafter each April.. On April 26, 2010 we decided to open a mini-museum with a few articles.  We soon discovered that we had to expand . We immediately began the expansion.  The Museum was completed and opened August 16, 2010 for tours. The Grand Opening was held November 6, 2010.

Circa 2010

Rhythm Night Club April 23, 1940

 On April 23, 1940 the Rhythm Night Club was a hot spot for many Socialites in Natchez, MS in that the famous Orchestra Band of Walter Barnes from Chicago, Illinois was performing at the Club that Tuesday night. There had never been such a grand occasion as this for many in the community. Many persons got all dressed up for the Big Barn Dance. Around midnight when everyone was having a good time, everything suddenly became tragic. The Club went up in flames and most patrons were trapped because there was only one door to enter and exit. Two hundred nine plus people lost their lives in the tragedy and many were badly burned. Walter Barnes and most of his band perished in the fire. Barnes died a hero as he continued to play “Marie” to calm the crowd.

 70 years later, we(Monroe and Betty Sago) built and dedicated the Rhythm Club Museum on the actual site honoring the victims that lost their lives and the survivors who went on to build their lives in some way. We have exhibits of photos, newspaper articles, live recordings from survivors telling their stories as to what happened that night, written documentations, and even music that the band played that night.

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