A Roaring '20s casino and speakeasy -- and reputedly the mountain hideaway of mobster
The sprawling retreat in
On a recent Tuesday, I was invited for a peek at "Vanities," the current theatrical production, and a tour of the historic Tudor House.
How could I resist?
I had been to the Tudor House in 1990, when you could still see the trapdoor in the bar area where they would stash liquor bottles when "the coppers" were coming. The trapdoor is gone now, to comply with building codes, but there are still dusty old whiskey bottles that read, "Federal law prohibits sale of alcohol." Makes you wonder why they were bottling it.
When you enter the
The towering vaulted ceiling, great stone fireplace and raised stage give the room just the right ambience for the
I sat down for a little of the "Vanities" dress rehearsal before starting my tour of the sprawling, three-story Tudor-style building, complete with hidden tunnels, trapdoors -- even a hidden room.
Sounded good to me, and I followed production assistant and vocalist Julia Dietro, through a backstage
Reports of "cold spots, the feel of a hand on the shoulder, shadows in the hallway," and my favorite -- "sounds of someone typing" had caused some concern among employees.
"There are as many as five tunnels out of here -- it's an amazing place,"
The Tudor House was built in 1928, but
An almost nonexistent paper trail did reveal a connection with "
During Prohibition, the hideaway was prime real estate for bootlegging activities as the water quality was pure and the mansion was a choice setting for a speakeasy and casino.
A 10-bedroom manor house across the street served as a brothel and was connected to the big house by an underground tunnel.
Known as "the Crib" during Prohibition days, the manor house was most recently a bed and breakfast. Now it belongs to Tudor House owners and will be resurrected as a small hotel.
She talks about moving a piece of plywood on the third floor of the Tudor House and looking down into a secret room between floors.
It was a great place to hide, she said.
It is said that Violet, one of the girls at the brothel, haunts the house and leaves a faint scent of violets in the air, according to Glenda.
Because Glenda is also one of the general contractors on the Tudor House project, she will be involved with the renovation of the manor house, with plans to make the properties available for weddings, anniversaries, meetings, parties and workshops.
Tudor House folks hope that by offering wonderful three-and-five-course dinners, live music and theater, that the venue will be seen as the best evening entertainment on the mountain.
They hope to see the venue as a cultural center.
"We love it," he said. "This is how we can give back."
"Vanities" runs tonight through Sunday and
Evening performances begin at
Dinner and theater tickets are
A night of culture and history sounds wonderful -- just watch out for the typing.
And here's a thought for the day: Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
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