Music Clubs & Night Clubs

Lake Glen

Lake Glen, sometimes spelled Lake Glenn in newspaper coverage, was a Black country club and entertainment venue located at 4572 Akron-Cleveland Road, nestled in the Cuyahoga Valley between Peninsula and Cuyahoga Falls. The club, in operation from 1950 to the late 1960s, was approximately 26 miles away from Cleveland and sat on 13 acres of land.

Lake Glen was owned by Irvin Clark Robinson of Akron between 1952 until 1960 when the property appears to be owned jointly by Luther and his brother Heston White. In 1960 the club began to be financed through the Teamsters Union who added a motel. At this time, the club changed names to the “Fountain Blue Restaurant.” It operated as the Fountain Blue from 1960 to 1964. In 1961, only a year after the White brother’s purchase, the White brothers did not pay mortgage to the Teamsters Union, which led to the end of the White brothers’ short era in the club. In 1962 the property was sold by the Summit County Courthouse to an unidentified person for $103,000. The club met its demise in 1964 when it burned to the ground from an undetermined cause. The fire was massive and brought in firefighters from six different communities (Northampton, Munroe Falls, Hudson, Stow, Peninsula, and Bath).  It was briefly closed afterward and reopened at an undetermined date. The SaSa Lounge presumably operated on the same property afterward, which catered to a Black audience as well, according to an oral history. The SaSa lounge was scarcely advertised and not much is known about the business. The SaSa lounge was advertised as late as 1971. 

According to a 1957 Call & Post, Lake Glen was the only major spot for African Americans to stop between Cleveland and Akron. The club was a “Black and Tan” venue, which attracted both a Black and White audience. This interracial audience reportedly came from Akron, Cleveland, Youngstown, Warren, Mansfield and as far as Erie, Pennsylvania. The club also advertised itself to organized social groups, fraternities, lodges, and sororities in the Call & Post.

Souvenir photo card for the Lake Glen Country Club, with a photo of Lynn Terry sitting in a chair near a small table, with autograph, undated | Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

For the majority of Lake Glen’s years, it functioned as a hub for blues, jazz and crooner music. A popular blues act that performed throughout Lake Glen’s years was Crown Prince Waterford. Waterford was a blues performer from Jonesboro, Arkansas. Waterford’s records still survive and are available on multiple music streaming platforms. Waterford was often joined by female impersonators, exotic dancers and rhythm dancers.

Advertisement for Crown Prince Waterford| Call & Post, September 19, 1959

Lake Glen featured female impersonators. One such individual was Billie McAllister. Billie McAllister was from West Palm Beach, Florida, and started as an amateur entertainer in 1933 and worked in various U.S. states, Canada, and the Bahamas as a female impersonator. Female impersonators had a formative influence on the drag shows of the 1960s. McAllister’s musical career included several blues songs under Tennessee Recording Company. McAllister was also featured in a 1972 record titled “Mr? Billie McAllister” presented by Rudy Ray Moore, the historic entertainer most famously known by the stage name Dolemite.

Mr? Billie McAllister “What a Big Piece of Meat” LP | 1972

Throughout operation, Lake Glen attendees experienced unyielding surveillance by Summit County law enforcement. The club was subjected to reoccurring charges for illegal alcohol sales and unsanitary conditions, which often led to criminal charges of club-goers. Club-goers reported racial motivation for police raids. A February 9, 1957 article in the Call & Post charged that Summit County Sheriff Russell M. Bird “resorted to the age-old ruse of numerous police organizations of building up their reputations and records by staging a shakedown among Negro citizens.” Shakedowns by local police created ripe conditions for frustration from club attendees and workers. In March 1957, Lake Glen manager Booker T. Brooks claimed that Lake Glen was being targeted by law enforcement. Brooks charged that officers “insulted our white customers, particularly women; demanding to know why they do not go to white business establishments in the area instead.” The Call & Post suggests that newly elected Ohio Governor William O’Neil incentivized county sheriffs to crack down on commercialized vice. The day after Governor O’Neil’s inauguration he reportedly announced, “If there is an obvious failure on the part of the local officials to suppress commercialized vice and if it begins to move in any area, then I as governor will use the authority vested in me by law to take appropriate action to see that it is driven out.” According to historian John Lowney, Black clubs of the early 20th century were central spaces for discussion of progressive Black ideology and expressions of sexuality and race. It may be considered that a fear of these ideologies and structural racism was a motive in the persecution of these clubs.


  • “About the Stars.” Call & Post. October 17, 1959.
  • “Akron Negro Clubs Targets of Raiders.” Call & Post. February 9, 1957.
  • “Billie McAllister: MC and Female Impersonator.” Call & Post. August 15, 1959.
  • “Billie McAllister.” Queer Music Heritage.
  • “Cite Three Taverns on Sanitation.” Akron Beacon Journal. June 2, 1957.
  • “Crown Prince Packs Em In at Lake Glenn.” Call & Post. August 15, 1959.
  • “Crown Prince Waterford.” Call & Post. September 19, 1959.
  • Grantmyre, Laura. “They lived their life and they didn’t bother anybody: African American Female Impersonators and Pittsburgh’s Hill District, 1920-1960.” American Quarterly 63, no. 4 (December 2011): 983-1011.
  • “Hassina.” Call & Post. June 28, 1952.
  • “Interracial Patronage Causes Harassment.” Call & Post. March 16, 1957.
  • “Know the Angles: Arson Prober Fits Puzzles Together.” Akron Beacon Journal. March 28, 1964.
  • “Lake Glen Country Club.” Call & Post. March 30, 1957.
  • “Lake Glen to Be Site of Motel-Restaurant.” Akron Beacon Journal. February 16, 1960.
  • “Lake Glenn Club Refused Beer and Wine Licenses.” Call & Post. January 25, 1958.
  • “Lake Glen Club Sold for $102,00.” Akron Beacon Journal. October 20, 1962.
  • “Lake Glenn: Steaks, Chops, Chicken, Shrimp.” Call & Post. October 12, 1957.
  • Loewen, James W. Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism. New York: The New Press, 2006.
  • Lowney, John. Jazz Internationalism: Literary Afro-Modernism and the Cultural Politics of Black Music. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2017.
  • “Ohio’s Newest and Most Beautiful Country Club.” Call & Post. September 27, 1952.
  • “Protest Wild Parties, Driving in Akron Area.” Akron Beacon Journal. September 29, 1952.
  • “Says Jay’s Band Was Incubator for Stars.” Call & Post. August 10, 1957.
  • “State Sues Lake Glenn Country Club.” Akron Beacon Journal. April 8, 1954.
  • “Teamsters Foreclose on Club.” Akron Beacon Journal. October 10, 1961.
  • “Town Crier.” Akron Beacon Journal. April 8, 1954.
  • “Union Funds Aid $200,000 Hotel.” Akron Beacon Journal. February 17, 1960.
  • “$60,000 Blaze Guts Rt 8 Fountain Blue Restaurant.” Akron Beacon Journal. January 3, 1964.
4572 State Rd, Peninsula, OH

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