Clutch Cargo’s, named after the 1950s cartoon show – also referred by some as “The City Club” but not to be confused with the “Leland City Club” – was a venue inside the Women’s City Club behind the Palms Building/State Theater, aka The Filmore, just north of Grand Circus Park in Detroit.
Following a similar tradition of clubs created in various cities throughout the United States following the Civil War and through women’s suffrage, the Women’s City Club building in Detroit was built in 1924. The lead architect on the project was William B. Stratton, husband of Mary Chase Perry Stratton – the co-founder of Pewabic Pottery. The six story building featured three upper floors of apartments and three floors of meeting rooms including an auditorium as well as a basement swimming pool. A large portion of the public spaces were decorated with Pewabic tile.
Following the success of Bookie’s Club 870, it became apparent that a larger venue was needed if Vince Bannon’s booking operation was to grow. Bannon said the need became more and more obvious by about 1980, but he wasn’t sure exactly where to go. Finding the closed and historically significant Women’s City Club offered an opportunity to do bigger shows. The organization also found space on the 22nd floor of the Madison Building in nearby Grand Circus Park for offices.
Following a few shows leading up to Spring, Clutch Cargo’s was to open by July 1981. The venue didn’t officially open until New Year’s Eve 1981/1982 with the headlining act being Bush Tetras with L-Seven supporting. The 1,100 capacity room allowed for bigger national and international acts while giving a mix of local acts a chance in front of a bigger audience. But, the operations at the Women’s City Club was short lived. Bannon closed the venue after less than a year when he started booking into St. Andrew’s Hall in late 1982.
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