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Clues At Detroit Bar Point Toward Purple Gang

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Wayne State University archeology professor Krysta Ryzewski digs out a tunnel and staircase in the basement of Tommy's Bar and Grill on Third Street on Aug. 22, 2013 in Detroit. At Tommy's Detroit Bar & Grill, though, a few blocks up from the river on Third Street, the regulars can now say with academic certainty that they're the proud descendants of illicit drinkers from the golden age of bootlegging. And there might well be a Purple Gang pedigree, too. (AP Photo/Detroit News, John T. Greilick) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT


If the Purple Gangsters had really been that devoted to drinking in hidden nightclubs, they’d never have found the time to smuggle, hijack, extort, kidnap and murder – and they wouldn’t have become so legendary that every saloon claimed them.

So no, the story isn’t true. Not most of the time, anyway, and not to the satisfaction of actual researchers, according to The Detroit News.

At Tommy’s Detroit Bar & Grill, though, a few blocks up from the river on Third Street, the regulars can now say with academic certainty that they’re the proud descendants of illicit drinkers from the golden age of bootlegging. And there might well be a Purple Gang pedigree, too.

A team from Wayne State University and Preservation Detroit spent the summer exploring inside, outside and beneath the 144-year-old tavern. It found, among other things, a hidden staircase, a barrel full of butchered pig bones, shards of pottery and a rust-encrusted 70-year-old wrench.

“Garbage,” summarizes Ph.D. candidate Brenna Moloney of Ann Arbor. “But interesting garbage” – and useful keys to unlocking the continuing mystery of who we are, how we got here, and why anyone would put nice wood paneling in a basement room no law-abiding customer would ever need to see.

In other recent incarnations, the bar was known as the Golden Galleon and Mac’s on Third.

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Posted by FanSite on Oct 1st, 2013 and filed under American Street Guide. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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