GREENVILLE — For many in the Greenville area and for many years, the bar and restaurant called One Block East was a home away from home.
The city tore the building down yesterday.
Stanley Sherman, who owned the establishment when it opened in 1971, said he has only one thing to say.
“What a shame,” he said.
He opened One Block East with Kenneth Levy and Jessie Brent in July 1972. Before their partnership, the building had been an office for Bell South and a bank.
Sherman said he and his partners argued over what to name the business, and One Block East was a name they could agree on. It was named One Block East because of its location one block east of the levee.
“We wanted a nice place,” he said. “There were only honky-tonk places to go to, and you had to watch your back.”
The partners fixed the building up with good carpet, art on the walls, and gold faucets in the bathrooms, he said.
“It was selfish of us,” Sherman said. “We wanted someplace nice to go.”
Sherman said crews from the many tugboats that would dock in Greenville and make their way to One Block East.
“The guys would be on (a boat) for 30 days, and they just wanted to go crazy,” Sherman said.
Sherman and his partners left the business in 1980, and the space was leased to a number of other bars and restaurants, including the Headless Horseman and the Thunderbird Lounge.
David Weiss, currently the manager of Spectators in Greenville, revived the name One Block East in 1994. The establishment was in business until 2007.
He had been inside recently and had seen that all the wiring had been torn out and every piece of steel was gone.
“The building had been vandalized,” he said. “It’s criminal what happened. They had taken the stairway. They had stolen everything.”
Wesley Smith, now the executive director of the Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, recalls performing at One Block East.
“In the mid-90s my buddy, Will Pleasants, and I played in several bands that gigged in the Delta. I was living in Greenwood at the time, and we were always excited when we booked a gig at One Block.
“In its heyday, it drew people from all over the Delta. Many great bands took the stage in that place, and a few wannabes like us. It was a wonderful live music venue, and the place to go if you were in your 20s to see friends from around the region,” Smith said.
Walley Morse, secretary of the Joint Greenville/Washington County Historic Preservation Commission, visited the bar as a young man, but saw the need for the building to go.
“I had many a happy hour there,” he said. “It’s always a loss (to lose an old building) but it had gone to rack and ruin.”
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