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Illegals

by Jim Episale

Illegals by Jim Episale, April, 1999


Phoenix City, Alabama the sin city of the United States in the forties and early fifties. It took the assassination of the Attorney General elect to finally close it down. There were as many as 23 clubs with gambling operating in this Alabama town across the river from Fort Benning, Georgia. Over one million young men from all over the United States visited sin city while training at Fort Benning.

Local Historian James Hall came across some chips from the Silver Dollar when researching the history of the town. There are only five of the gold ones and less than 50 of the purple and red. Club member Ted Brown told me about Mr. Hall.

The list of clubs that Mr. Hall has confirmed to have gambling is:

  • Bama Club
  • Corral
  • Blue Bonnet
  • Silver Dollar
  • Manhattan Club
  • Silver Slipper
  • Golden Rule
  • 514 Club
  • Ritz Cafe
  • 602 Club
  • Diamond Horse Shoe
  • Skyline Club
  • Ma Beachies.

After the assassination the National Guard was called in and the town put under martial law. All of the clubs were raided and the equipment was confiscated. After being used as evidence in various trials all of the equipment was destroyed.

The Tragedy and the Triumph of Phoenix City, Alabama by Margaret Anne Barnes is an excellent history of Phoenix City, this book is available at my web page unshreddednostalgia.com.


Visit Jim Episale's website


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