Jaguar Club

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The Jaguar Club was a nightclub located at 1500 2nd Avenue North in Birmingham from 1983 to 1995. It was opened by Walter Earl Garfield and Ulysses Smoot and his wife Linda. Smoot received a $114,000 city-backed revitalization loan to refurbish it in 1986.

By the 1990s, the club had become notorious for criminal activity and violent incidents, generating more than 700 police reports, including several shootings and a 1993 homicide outside the club. The parking lot of the vacant downtown Sears store across the street was used for unsanctioned street parties on Sunday nights and Smoot blamed the Birmingham Police Department for inadequate patrols of the area.

In January 1995 Smoot was arrested on suspicion of fencing stolen property through his Metropolitan Bonding Company. The arrest led to increased scrutiny of alleged criminal activity at the nightclub and the city began the process of foreclosing on Smoot's delinquent loan, which he later paid up. A drive-by shooting in July of that year wounded eight victims and Birmingham City Council member Byron Davis held hearings to gather information on the nightclub. On September 26, 1995 Smoot voluntarily turned in his business, restaurant, liquor, billiards and dance licenses to the city, just prior to a Council meeting at which a motion to shut it down would have been discussed.

References

  • Robinson, Carol (July 24, 1995) "Jaguar Club plagued over years with a host of troubles." The Birmingham News
  • Meadows, Karin (August 24, 1995) "Crime near Jaguar Club forces neighboring business to move." The Birmingham News
  • Howell, Vickii (September 7, 1995) "Panel told club source of trouble. Councilman Davis wants to close Jaguar Club." The Birmingham News
  • Meadows, Karin (September 27, 1995) "The Jaguar growls its last: Nightclub tied to violence quietly closes." The Birmingham News