We'll spend the evening at the legendary 1904 Hippodrome - Taylor complex where the "Harlem of the South" thrived with the likes of Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole and so many others.
Here's our schedule for the evening:
I have made arrangements with the National Park Service for the Maggie Walker Historical Site to be open late until 5 pm for the benefit of James River Hikers. This is a great opportunity for you to spend an hour there before walking the one half block down 2nd street to the Hippodrome where our evening begins at 5 pm. See the 15 min historical video of her life. tour her home and view the museum.
Maggie Lena Walker (1867 - 1934) was an African-Americanteacher and businesswoman. As a leader, she achieved successes with the vision to make tangible improvements in the way of life for African Americans and women. Disabled by paralysis and limited to a wheelchair later in life, Walker also became an example for people with disabilities. Check this out:
Enter by a side door just to the right of the restaurant entrance and gather in the Hippodrome screening room for social hour and a cash bar.
You'll do 3 things when you enter the screen room:
1. Get your name tag.
2. Sign up for a group history tour of the Hippodrome facility. There will 4 tours with a maximum of 30 people per tour.
Group #1 at 5:15, Group #2 at 5:35. Group #3 at 5:55 and Group 34 at 6:15.
3. Start a bar tab that will continue thorough the evening to include your dinner.
Move to the Speak Easy.
There is a $5.00 cash (or $5.50 with credit card) per person charge (separate from the bar and dinner tab) for the jazz band entertainment which will be collected upon entering the Speakeasy.
Order dinner from the main menu. The kitchen staff and servers will do their very best to respond, but understand you'll need to be patient with the large large crowd ordering at nearly the same time.
Living history interview featuring James (Jimmy) Taylor
Born in 1935 who grew up in Jackson Ward. Jimmy will recall seeing movies for 7 cents in the Hippodrome, walking 2nd St. from the Hippodrome to Broad Street that resembled Bourbon Sreet in New Orleans, and attending 8th grade in the armory building which will soon become the new Black History Museum and much more.
Entertainment by jazz band "The Project Band."
The cost will be for whatever you eat and drink plus $5.50 per person for the jazz band. Beers are $3, fancy drinks $6.50 and entrees range from $10.95 to $19.95.
Here is information about parking. There are three parking lots on 2nd St. close to the Hippodrome. A free one with 50 plus spaces is directly across the street from the Hippodrome. The sign at the entrance says, "Parking for UNOS Jackson Center Tenants Only", but Dennis has permission from their management to use the lot free that evening.
Another option is the 25 car parking lot at the intersection of 2nd and Leigh that is directly across 2nd Street from the entrance to the Maggie Walker historical site. Notice in this picture you can see both the Hippodrome and the Maggie Walker site (see the American flag) from the parking lot.
A 3rd option is a pay $5 lot at the intersection of 2nd and Marshall. This is a 2 block walk down 2nd Street from the Hippodrome.