Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to take an extraordinary tour through a few buildings in OTR. Our first stop was 1313 Vine aka Cosmopolitan Hall. It was most recently known as The Warehouse nightclub and the ghost sign at the front door says “Bellonby,” but no matter what you call it 1313 Vine is a place full of secrets. Casey Coston recounted the history of the building in this Soapbox piece from 2009:
Cosmopolitan Hall, which most recently saw a tour of duty as the Warehouse nightclub (closed in 2004), is a particularly deceiving building when viewed solely from the outside. A mammoth structure on the interior, stretching from Vine to Republic, it’s estimated to have a total of around 27,000 square feet (including sub-basements). Beautiful and original Palladian-like arched windows grace the four-story facade, evidencing the height of the spacious rooms inside the impressive structure. The building was originally constructed in 1855 as a beer garden and dance hall, following in the footsteps of a brewery which originally existed on the site. From 1878 to 1882 it was called the “Tivoli Beer Garden.” In the 1880s, it became a popular dance hall for immigrant Germans, Hungarians and Slavs, and, in the 1890s, was renamed Cosmopolitan Hall. Over the decades, it careened among various uses, including a Prohibition-era speakeasy (no surprise there), an indoor golf complex, insurance offices, a lighting retailer, and a wallpaper store. In the 1990s, the movie A Rage in Harlem filmed scenes on the stunning, spring-loaded second floor dance hall.
1313 Vine is now discussed as the future home of the start-up community Cintrifuse.
I was accompanied on the tour by a couple friends. One was Nathan Hammitt who has graciously allowed me to share some of his snapshots from the tour. Unless otherwise noted, all photos are credited to him. Enjoy.