The Club’s New Headquarters

Posted: July 28, 2009 in The Chicago Whitechapel Club

Its Members Remove to New Quarters and Sing a New Song.

The Whitechapel club is a Chicago institution whose grewsome name is but a faint indication of the grewsome adornments of its rooms. Skulls and murderous

 weapons, skeletons and ghastly reminders of terrible tragedies adorn the walls, yet among these surroundings some of the jolliest men in Chicago take their social ease, and there many eminent statesmen and jurists have been entertained. The club recently marched in procession soon after midnight to its new rooms at 172 Calhoun Place. Before starting the members sang a farewell to the old hall, and in memory of the stories told there the refrain ran thus:

In the days of old Rameses,
Are you on?
They told the same thing.
They told the same thing.
In the days of old Rameses,
These stories had paresis,
Are you on? Are you on? Are you on?

In the new quarters the main room has a black wainscoting, red walls and a red ceiling along which black ropes are stretched, to which are attached many ghastly relics. There is a border of skulls around the walls, and the cranium of a murderer hangs from the chandelier and seems to be grinning horribly at the jokes. At one table sits a company of skeletons, each with a pipe in his mouth and a mug in his bony fingers. A collection of anarchist relics forms a sort of panel, and among the adornments are the towel which wrapped the corpse of Dr. Cronin and a bloody shirt taken from the body of an Indian killed at Wounded Knee.
One room is shingled inside in the style of an old colonial building, and the whole place is finished in a barbarous combination of feudal and prisonlike decorations. The walls are papered with the papier mache sheets from the stereotyping departments of American newspapers, many of them handsomely gilded, and when the place is lighted up at night the effect is – well, very startling. But there is lots of fun there, and the invited guest is considered lucky.

Source: The Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette, Wednesday March 16, 1892, page 7


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