The Caledonia Lounge, where I’ve manned the door for, well, let’s just say a good while, turns 10 this weekend. Two days of rock shows will celebrate this and you will find the schedules at The Caledonia’s website.
While a little has appeared in print regarding the history of the club itself (which is pretty amazing considering how many changes have occurred in downtown Athens in the past decade and how many barriers have been thrown up in from of those wanting to open anything like this) none of it goes beyond really scratching the surface.
I was going to shows at the Caledonia for a few years before I started working there. For a while the club was strictly 21 and over (not anymore, of course. Now it’s 18 and over) and was the only downtown venue to have that type of age restriction. Never a problem for me but I do remember hearing some grumbling about it. But I digress…
By far my favorite aspect of the club is that all of us that work there actually really care about the place. We think of it as our home. I’ve never worked anywhere where the entire crew/staff was as interested in the success of a place as much as the owner was. (Yes, the club being successful means we all still have jobs but this goes beyond that.) It’s hard to describe. It’s just a very special thing that I’m honored to be a part of.
That’s all I really have to say about that.
I love doing research on Athens buildings, especially commercial structures. Yes, 256 W.Clayton Street was twice the home of The 40 Watt but that’s pretty common knowledge and, in any case, The Caledonia has been in that space longer than the two Watt-tenures combined. Yes, it was a t-shirt screening shop throughout the bulk of the 1990’s. But I wanted to know more so I started digging. All I’ve managed to come up with so far is that from at least the mid-1940’s-the late 1960’s the building was occupied by a dry cleaning shop (Whitworth’s. “We Are kind To Your Clothes“-Athens’ Only Synthetic Cleaning Plant; see below). These dates aren’t exact but they lie within the parameters of the shops opening and closing. My suspicion is that it was also once part of the livery service/livery repair that was taking place at the adjoining buildings, too. But I need to do a lot more digging to confirm that.
Anyway, That’s all I really wanted to talk about today. Just a few thoughts about a place that has been, and is, very special to me.
So, happy birthday to us!
(Advertisement from March, 1946)