Colonial Supper Club
BUILDING IS MOVED IN 1972, MEETS FIERY END AS "MR. LUCKY'S"
CLUB, 1948 - COLLECTION OF KENNON BAIRD
near the present-day intersection of 11th Ave. and N. California
St., the Colonial Supper Club was Helena's most upscale restaurant
and nightspot from 1948 to 1970.
Club was built by Helena bar owners Milton (Mike) Israel and
his wife Helen, who operated it from 1948 until 1967, when they
retired and sold out to Montana Governor Tim Babcock and his
wife Betty. Milton's dates are 1899-1970, Helen's 1909-1976.
Club Opening Day Newspaper Ad, October 15 1948
Club interior was finished in knotty pine, which added to the
warm atmosphere. There was a large stone fireplace. Live music
was a staple at the Colonial, usually featuring an organ player
such as Helena favorite Pee Wee Weber. It was THE place for
Front Entryway Enclosed
THE 1953 CARROLL COLLEGE 'HILLTOPPER' YEARBOOK - COURTESY OF THE
MONTANA MEMORY PROJECT
Club Menu, 1950s
Click on Menu to Open in a New Window
KENNON BAIRD COLLECTION
Leopold "Pee Wee" Weber
OF THE DAVID POOR COLLECTION
Wee" Weber was Helena's best-known organist for several
decades. A native of Ashley, North Dakota, Weber first came
to Helena in the mid-1930s, playing at local nightspots. He
and his wife Betty lived for many years at 2198 North Benton.
Pawlitschek kindly sent to this website a cassette tape entitled,
"The Little Big Band Salutes 'Pee Wee' Weber". We
think Pee Wee is on the organ. Listen
to their rendition of "Spanish Eyes" by clicking
Pee Wee was asked by the Independent Record to name the tunes
most requested by Helenans. Our favorites then, according
to Pee Wee, were: "Stardust", "Deep Purple",
"Shine On Harvest Moon", "Heart of My Heart",
"Some Enchanted Evening", "Oh, What a Beautiful
Morning", "Begin the Beguine", "Always",
"Calcutta", and "Won't You Come Home, Bill
Illustration by J. Hillman
OF THE DAVID POOR COLLECTION
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR A BIG VIEW IN A NEW WINDOW
Telephone Directory Display Ad
rendering of the Colonial Club shows that two large picture
widows had been added, and the entryway enclosed.
|According to Bill Coddington, then-Governor Tim Babcock was a silent partner in this deal. Babcock evntually found funding to buy out his partners, and construction began on his nearby Colonial Inn in 1970.
Richard Nixon Visit, 1968
On April 22, 1968, former Vice Prsident and current Presidential candidate Richard Nixon visited Helena in support of Tim Babcock's gubernatorial campaign.Nixon's visit was brief, but he managed a stop at the Colonial on his way back to the airport...
Club Closing, Independent Record
slot machine raid at the Colonial was part of a statewide
crackdown on gambling in the 1940s. Attorney General Arnold
Olsen was seeking to make a name for himself in order
to run for higher elective office. He succeeded in that, and
was a Montana U. S. Representative from 1961-1971.
Colonial Club Building is Moved, 1971
didn't end up as Mr. Capaldi's private residence in the valley.
Instead, it was moved about one mile NE, to a lot on Airport
Avenue across from the old Helena Municipal Airport terminal.
In 1972 it opened there as the nightspot "Mr. Lucky's".
The building was destroyed by fire in 1982.
to Charlie Beaton for his excellent 1971 view of the rear
of the Colonial Club, and the then-new Colonial Inn. Thanks
also to Craig Kirwin for his photo of the building being moved,
and for the great story that goes along with it...
OF CHARLIE BEATON
Club Building on California Street
OF CRAIG KIRWIN
Craig Kirwin about this photo:
was looking through some old photo albums and I came across
this picture that my Mom took when they moved the old Colonial
view you see is looking North on California Street, near the
corner of 8th Avenue (street coming in from the left). Yes,
the streets were both dirt back then.
has an interesting back story about when they moved the building.
Apparently, the Colonial Hotel wouldn't allow our neighborhood
(California Street) to hook up to their new sewer lines. When
they started moving the old Colonial building, they unknowingly
built the temporary road across our neighbors (Mr. Al Royston)
land. Mr. Royston didn't say anything about the issue until
the day of the move. When the old building aproached his land,
he pulled his tractor out and blocked the path and wouldn't
let them go any further unless we were allowed to hook up
to their new sewer line. Apparently, the Colonial owners agreed,
since they were caught between a rock and a hard place, and
we were able to hook up. That made my Mom very happy."
for Mr. Lucky's, 1972
The luck ran
out in 1982 when Mr. Lucky's was destroyed by fire.
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