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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Henderson in Henderson County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
 

Good Government League

 
 
Good Government League Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 17, 2017
1. Good Government League Marker
Inscription.  During the 1940's a thriving nightclub and gambling industry developed in Henderson County, patronized not only by local citizens but also by workers from Evansville's war factories and soldiers from nearby Camp Breckinridge. By 1950 it was said that there were thirty-nine local nightclubs which featured gambling. By far the largest of these was the Club Trocadero, a plush club that featured nationally known entertainers such as Tommy Dorsey and Count Basie. The clubs brought with them many problems, including petty crime, prostitution and political corruption. In the early 1950's local citizens formed a "Good Government League," which led a successful fight to rid the county's clubs of the gambling industry.
 
Location. 37° 50.474′ N, 87° 35.646′ W. Marker is in Henderson, Kentucky, in Henderson County. Marker can be reached from North Water Street north of 1st Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is located along the pedestrian walkway in Audubon Mill Park, overlooking the Ohio River. Marker is at or near this postal address: 101 North Water Street, Henderson KY 42420, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking
Good Government League Marker (<i>tall view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 17, 2017
2. Good Government League Marker (tall view)
distance of this marker. Audubon's Mill (here, next to this marker); Steamboats (a few steps from this marker); The Ohio River (a few steps from this marker); General "Stovepipe" Johnson (within shouting distance of this marker); The 1937 Flood (within shouting distance of this marker); John James Audubon in Henderson (within shouting distance of this marker); Audubon Saw and Grist Mill (within shouting distance of this marker); Father of the Blues (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Henderson.
 
More about this marker. Marker is a large composite plaque, mounted horizontally on waist-high posts.
 
Also see . . .
1. "Little Chicago" - For a decade, this area was a nightlife capital. With Union County's sprawling Camp Breckinridge home to thousands of soldiers and the city of Evansville nearby, Henderson was a diamond mine for entertainment entrepreneurs. GIs came north looking for fun, Hoosiers came south with plenty of money to spend and Henderson businessmen welcomed them all. The most stylish, the most remembered, the jewel along Henderson's "Great White Way," was the Club Trocadero. The "Troc" was located on the west side of 41 just past the bridge, in the "no man's land" that was north of the Ohio River but still under the jurisdiction of Kentucky authorities. Before the crusade was over, the federal government had played its hand in shutting down Henderson's "game rooms." The Internal Revenue Service started asking
Good Government League Marker (<i>wide view; overlooking the Ohio River</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 17, 2017
3. Good Government League Marker (wide view; overlooking the Ohio River)
about taxes owed. Military authorities at Camp Breckinridge publicly supported the clean-up-Henderson campaign. On January 18, 1952, the FBI confiscated more than 400 slot machines in Henderson County. Those machines - and many more - would eventually be destroyed by federal marshals. (Submitted on August 15, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. History Lesson: Club Trocadero. Located on the north side of the Ohio River but still part of the state of Kentucky, a small strip of land in the 1940's became famous for its active nightlife. Gambling and other vices were extremely common as law enforcement with jurisdiction in the area would largely look the other way. It was during this decade that Henderson gained the nickname "Little Chicago." The nightclub featured a ballroom, bar and a restaurant on the first floor that served only couples and enforced a strict dress code. The club also featured touring jazz and big band musicians, drawing in Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway in its heyday. Lastly, a large, yet illegal casino operated out of the second floor with numerous slot machines and gaming tables. (Submitted on August 15, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. EntertainmentIndustry & Commerce
 
<i>Club Trocadero, Henderson, Ky.</i> - copy of postcard on marker image. Click for full size.
Postcard by MWM (image courtesy of Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library), circa 1940
4. Club Trocadero, Henderson, Ky. - copy of postcard on marker
Back of the card reads: "Club Trocadero. Located opposite Dade Park Race Track on Dixie Hi-way 41 at north approach of Henderson bridge. Near beautiful Ohio River. Distinctive large dance palace. Tri-State's most popular and largest night club. Cheery dining room with most modern grill, cocktail lounge, bar service. Ball room always featuring the world's famous bands. Every comfort. Genial hospitality. Air conditioned throughout."
 
More. Search the internet for Good Government League.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 16, 2018. This page originally submitted on August 14, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 51 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 15, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   4. submitted on August 16, 2018. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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