Pictured is the Taborian Hall and Dreamland Ballroom with no roof or windows at the beginning of the journey.
The “meaning of life” a never ending question with no definitive answer.
My family went to church a little, you know Easter and Christmas. But I’ve always been spiritual. And by that I mean a little superstitious. When I was about five-years-old I distinctly remember telling my big sister ‘Life is Hell and we would spend a lifetime trying to get to Heaven”. Not because I learned it in Sunday School, my family didn’t attend Sunday School, but because I just knew it. I remember it because my sister, 4 years my senior, was thoroughly impressed and captivated by my flippant comment. I felt smart.
I’ve always felt connected to a bigger picture and felt compelled to follow my instincts; Mother found my impulsive behavior to be less than desirable. Another part of my superstitious behavior believes in Karma. In an act of selfishness I try to do the right and just thing for all because I fear the repercussions of Karma.
In 1990, when I saw the Taborian Hall standing regal and abandoned, I was drawn to it. After several attempts of snooping around the old building I found my way to the 3rd floor and saw Dreamland Ballroom for the first time. I had no idea it even existed. It was like a spiritual experience. The roof was off, birds were flying around, and the sun was shining in. I knew I had to save this building. Like a mad woman I worked tirelessly and passionately on the project. In 1991, AFB moved in. I was visited by many ole timers who came and gave me their oral history. Mac Honeycutt with a gold MH on his two front teeth was my first gentlemen visitor. He owned Honeycutt Hotel and showed me where he had lived and where he and his wife set ornamental stones in the sidewalk leading up to their home. Now the love for my building was no longer just about its architectural beauty but also about the folk lore and history.
Around this same time Berna Love a writer and historian, who had just written the book End of the Line, on the history of 9th street, came to visit me. We became friends and I hired her to research and write everything she could about my building. In doing so we superstitiously began to believe I had been chosen by the Spirit Gods to rescue the Taborian Hall and Dreamland. There were just too many coincidences.
Before me and over the years, many people and groups of people had attempted to renovate the Taborian Hall but each time had failed. The Knights and Daughter of Tabor (who built the building) were affiliates of the religious group AME African Methodist Episcopal Church. I am a lifelong Episcopalian and my Cathedral’s sister church is our local Bethel AME church who has deep roots with my building. In addition, it was a black officers club during WWI and WWII, I sell the most patriotic product there is the American flag. And last why me? Because time was running out, on the people who lived and breathed the bygone era. The time for oral histories was NOW and only a crazy preservationist with the heart of a mother could have had the passion and vision to take on such a long term commitment.
Where will this all lead? I don’t know but I am a spiritual person who believes in the future.