Church Street Station became an Orlando entertainment destination when Rosie O’Grady’s Good Time Emporium opened it’s doors in July 1974. Central Floridians and people from around the world enjoyed the music, laughter, food and fun that made CSS the stuff of memories. In July 2004, the 30th anniversary of the opening of Rosie’s, an exhibit created by a long time Central Florida resident, Kim Peters, entitled “Church Street Station … One Family Remembers,” toured the Orange County Library System.
The exhibit was featured in a two page color story in the Orlando Sentinel entitled: “When the party’s over; Back in the day, Church Street Station was the place to be. Memories of its good times are on display at the Orlando Public Library.”
This is the flyer that accompanied the exhibit.
Church Street Station…One family remembers
LISTEN to Rosie O’Grady’s Waiters’ Welcome (1:58) – Words and music by Bill Allred. Permission granted.
We’d like to welcome everybody to Rosie O’Grady’s, the place where all the good times are!
You can forget about your taxes, the weather, the wars, and leave your other cares and woes outside our swinging doors.
Welcome everybody to Rosie O’Grady’s, come in and belly up to the bar.
And if you do, it won’t be long before you see why, we’re rated up there with the flag and mom’s apple pie!
Welcome everybody to Rosie O’Grady’s, the place where all the good times are!
Sung by Rosie O’Grady’s singing waiters, this was the first song performed each night, and every word was true!
July 2004 marks the 30th anniversary of the opening of Rosie O’Grady’s Good Time Emporium on Church Street in downtown Orlando.
July 1974 marked the beginning of a marvelous adventure the likes of which the people of Orlando had not known before. Bob Snow brought his vision to life and it was enjoyed by millions of people who passed through those swinging doors for more than 25 years. “Church Street Station – One Family Remembers” is a tribute to all the people who made Church Street Station possible, before what it was passes completely from the public consciousness. For those of you who were around during the glory days – the 70’s and 80’s – you remember Church Street Station when Bob Snow was still it’s heart and soul. For those of you who only experienced Church Street Station in the final years, and for those of you who will never experience the wonder and awe of it all, take a look at the photos, read some of the news clippings, peruse the “memories” here on display, and join us as one family remembers Church Street Station.
One Family Remembers
We remember July 1974 when Rosie’s first opened and thinking to ourselves, “Who in their right mind would go downtown after dark?” Yes, we had heard all the hype. Rosie O’Grady’s Good Time Emporium was New Orleans Dixieland jazz, mom’s apple pie, and the Fourth of July all rolled into one! But who believes hype?
Then our employer, Channel 24, had a fund-raiser at Rosie’s, and we had to go. What we experienced that night was unbelievable! As we walked through those swinging doors we didn’t enter a place; we entered another period in time. There were antique train depot benches, ornate embossed tin ceilings, beautifully framed mirrors and huge chandeliers. there were waiters right out of the 1890’s and sawdust on the wood floors. People packed the floor, three deep along the bars and at least that many in front of the stage.
And then came Rosie’s Good Time Jazz Band – and what a band it was! Never had we heard Dixieland like that and when they played “Sing Sing Sing” later that evening, we were totally blown away. From that night on, we became admirers of Bob Snow and began a 25-year association with Rosie O’Grady’s and Church Street Station. As we left with others who had stayed until the music stopped, we told the doorman, “We’re coming back!”
And come back we did, over and over again, with family and friends, with neighbors and co-workers, with anyone who would tag along. We’d come in the afternoon to hear the banjo man and sing along. We’d come early in the evening to grab a seat and a red hot hot dog or roast beef sandwich made to order at the west bar while Randy or Jim played piano and led the crowd in singing songs like Sweet Rosie O’Grady and Bicycle Built For Two.
There were singing waiters and Can Can girls, like twins Holly and Dolly, who made their entrance by sliding down a fireman’s pole from the fourth floor to the bandstand. There was Rob who played the washboard and danced the Charleston and old soft shoe with partners Jenny and Cindy on the west bar. There was Miss Terry Lamond and Miss Ruth Crews who was Rosie’s Red Hot Mama for 25 years! There was Rosie O’Grady’s Good Time Jazz Band: Bill Allred, Don Lord, Warren Sauer, Jim Mahiak, Randy Morris, Boyd Bergeson, Dave Gannett, Kent Abreo, and all the other good time band members who came and went through the years. There was the grand finale patriotic medley that included American flags, Uncle Sam, Lady Liberty, the singing waiters and the Can Can girls, and Ruth’s Kate Smith rendition of God Bless America that always brought the house to their feet!
We remember the first time we brought our son to Rosie’s. It was November 1982 and he was 8 months old. He loved it – bouncing up and down on his feet, hands clapping and a smile from ear to ear. Rosie’s Red Hot Mama noticed him for the first time when he was two. Miss Ruth, wearing her tall white plumes and boa, waived and said, “Hi sweetie. Look at him,” she said to the crowd as she waived, “He thinks I’m big bird!” Ruth always paid special attention to the kids, remembering their names and greeting them from the stage when she spotted them in the audience. Randy and Jim inspired my kids to learn piano and the Can Can girls inspired my daughter to take up dance.
We remember Apple Annie’s and the folk music of Mother’s Choice – Sam and Susan Barnes and Charlie Lesink – and thank them for singing the 8 ½ minute long American Pie every time our kids requested it, which was every time we were there!
We remember The Exchange and it’s Fokker D WWI German plane suspended from the ceiling. The Exchange caused the demise of Apple Annie’s beautiful fire and water fountain and Mother’s Choice.
We remember Phineas Phoggs Balloon Works, but it was for the 21 and over crowd. We remember Lili Marlene’s Aviators’ Pub with its beautiful high back church pews, Al Capone’s conference table, and elegant dining.
We remember the Bumby Arcade, the Buffalo Trading Company with the stuffed buffalo, and Crackers Seafood Restaurant with the only true wine cellar in Orlando. We remember the wood hand-crafted interiors of the Cheyenne Saloon and Opera House with it’s multilevel seating, fantastic collections of guns, Remingtons, western memorabilia and great food. And don’t forget the stuffed Grizzly bear at the entrance!
ABOVE: Six buddies celebrate the boss’s (Tim Glaze) birthday and retirement (1989) at the Buffalo Trading Company which use to be located at Orlando’s Church Street Station. From left to right, back row first: Jeff Karr, Richard Kellor, Ken Muller; front row: Steve Hamilton, “Big John”, “Small Rusty.” Buffalo Trading Co., sold Western clothes and collectibles for nearly 20 years just down the street from the Cheyenne Saloon and closed the downtown location in August, 2001. (Submitted by Steve Hamilton.)
We remember the Orchid Garden Ballroom with it’s beautiful brass appointments, marble bar, matching stair cases and fountain, stained glass windows and second story dance floor that looked out onto the night sky…and Marilyn! We remember all the entertainers who performed there, especially the last and best band of all — Rock-n-Soul. Phil May, Clark Barrios, Donna Lamoureaux, Tim Campbell, Big Daddy Dave Williams, Mike Bunch and later, Jeff DeHollander were without a doubt the best cover band that ever was. It was Phil May who inspired our son to play guitar – his profession today. It was here that we celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, graduations, welcome home and good-bye parties, and where we saw three friends get married. We attended holiday parties and wedding receptions in the parlor rooms upstairs and a wedding in the foyer of the Presidential Ballroom next door.
We remember Joe Kittinger and Rosie O’Grady’s Flying Circus – the banner planes, skywriters, and the hot air balloons! We remember the street parties: New Year’s Eve, the Boola Bowl, St. Patrick’s Day, Oktoberfest, and Halloween! We remember concert pre-show parties, especially the ones for Jimmy Buffett concerts! We remember the gas street lamps, the fire engine, the bright yellow and red hot air balloon tethered in the street for balloon rides, the Orange Blossom Special down by the old station, the antique cars and horse drawn carriages.
We remember the street performers – bagpipes, fire-eaters, magicians and jugglers, Laurel and Hardy, the Keystone Cops, Sam the conductor and more. We remember the managers who put up with our antics in the Orchid Garden when we played tricks on our friends in the band. We remember Terry, Marty, Kerry, Ian and Matt. We remember the characters we encountered, the people we met and the friends we made – from Orlando and abroad.
In The News
The story of Church Street Station from its conception to its death has been chronicled in the pages of the Orlando Sentinel. In doing research for this display, I was struck by the sheer number of times Church Street Station made the front page of various sections of the Sentinel. And don’t even try to count other mentions. According to the Orlando Sentinel database at www.ocls.info, the name “Bob Snow” has been mentioned in 473 articles between 1985 and June 2004!
Perhaps it was because everyone told Bob Snow he was crazy when the barely 30-year-old presented his plans for turning a vacant building into an entertainment destination. Perhaps it was because he was Jack to giants Disney and Sea World, and everyone wanted to see the little guy make good with the golden egg he’d found. Perhaps it was because Bob Snow always seemed to make good copy – like the time he paid off a bank loan by marching to the bank with Rosie’s Good Time Jazz band playing while the bank staff counted his payment – all in nickels. Or the time he plunked down $6500 in a saddlebag on Mayor Bill Frederick’s desk to fund the creation of the Orlando Police Department Horse Patrol. Or perhaps that wooden sign he had hand painted and hung behind the east bar which read: “Absolutely no Coca Cola products allowed on these premises.” Perhaps it was because Church Street Station was something different – not glitzy, not modern, not form without substance.
Church Street Station was real. Real buildings from Orlando’s past, real interiors hand crafted by artisans and antiques collected from around the world. Real people – entertainers who loved their work and performed there for years; waiters and waitresses who were part of the “show” not just there to take your order. Perhaps it was because Church Street Station was something more than mortar and brick, it was something original in a world of knock offs, it was more than a place, it was a place in time. Perhaps it was because you always felt like part of the family – the Good Time Gang as they referred to it. Whatever the reason, Bob Snow and Church Street Station always seemed to be the talk of the town!
Copies of the news clippings presented in this exhibit are from the Orlando Sentinel newspaper and are available on microfilm housed in Special Collections department on the fourth floor of the Orlando Public Library.
Heartfelt thanks to Ruth Crews, Clark Barrios, Holly and Dolly, Susan and Sam Barnes and the Sprague family for sharing their “memories” with me to fill the display case and make this tribute possible. Special thanks to Bob Snow for his vision, imagination and determination to make Church Street Station a reality. Special thanks to all the entertainers – in the show rooms, on the street and dancing on the bars – for sharing your talent and bringing us 25 years of music, mirth and memories. Special thanks to the management staff, wait staff and support personnel who always made us feel at home. Together, you created Church Street Station where we had fun as a family. Where we sang, laughed and marched with the saints. Where we caught balloons, garters and hats. Where we danced all night and stayed out late! Where we celebrated Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, Mardi Gras, New Year’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, hellos and good-byes. Where we attended parties, weddings and receptions. thank you for being a part of some of the best moments of our lives for 25 years.
Check out the IMAGES, AUDIO files, LINKS and DOCUMENTS below!
Mack The Knife
This is an excerpt of Clark Barrios - lead male singer with the group Rock n Soul - performing the Bobby Darin standard "Mack the Knife" live at the Orchid Garden at Church Street Station in 1996. Rock n Soul was Phil May, Tim Campbell, Donna Lamoureaux, Dave Williams, Jeff DeHollander and Clark Barrios.
Rock n Soul - The Orchid Garden - Church Street Station
When A Man Loves A Woman.
This is an excerpt of Clark Barrios - lead male singer with the group Rock n Soul - performing the standard "When a Man Loves a Woman" live at the Orchid Garden at Church Street Station in 1996. Rock n Soul was Phil May, Mike Bunch, Dave Williams, Donna Lamoureau, Jeff DeHollander, Clark Barrios, Tim Campbell.
Rock n Soul - 50's Medley
Rock-n-Soul - 50's Medley
Recorded live in 1999 at the Orchid Garden Ballroom at Church Street Station, featuring lead vocalist Clark Barrios and Rock n Soul: Donna Lamoureaux, Big Daddy Dave Williams, Mike Bunch, Tim Campbell, and Jeff DeHollander.
Rock n Soul - Chantilly Lace
Recorded live in 1999 at the Orchid Garden Ballroom at Church Street Station, featuring lead vocalist Clark Barrios, Donna Lamoureaux, Dave Williams, Mike Bunch, Tim Campbell, and Jeff Dehollander.
Rock n Soul - Rock Around the Clock
Recorded live at the Orchid Garden Ballroom at Church Street Station in 1999, this cut features lead singer Clark Barrios, Donna Lamoureaux, Dave Williams, Mike Bunch, Jeff DeHollander and Tim Campbell.
Rock n Soul - Pretty Woman
Recorded live at the Orchid Ballroom at Church Street Station in 1999, this cut features lead singer Clark Barrios, Donna Lamoureaux, Dave Williams, Mike Bunch, Jeff Dehollander and Tim Campbell.
Rock n Soul - Motown Medley
Recorded live in 1999 at the Orchid Garden at Church Street Station, this is a medley of Motown favorites and hits from the Blues Brothers, featuring lead singer Clark Barrios, Donna Lamoureaux, Tim Campbell, Mike Bunch, Dave Williams and Jeff DeHollander.
Rock n Soul - Disco Medley
Recorded live in 1999 at the Orchid Garden at Church Street Station, this is a medley of disco favorites, featuring lead singer Clark Barrios, Donna Lamoreaux, Tim Campbell, Mike Bunch, Dave Williams, and Jeff DeHollander.
Rock n Soul - Brown Eyed Girl
Recorded live in the Orchid Garden at Church Street Station in 1999, Brown Eyed Girl was one of the band's songs that bought lead singer Clark Barrios out in the audience to choose a young lady to help him on stage. Clark would always ask the father, spouse, or boyfriend of the young lady if he might borrow her for a moment and escort the young lady back to the stage where he hoped she would dance with him and sing along. Regardless, she would receive a complementary signature drink of Church Street Station - the Flaming Hurricane Special with the souvenir glass. This selection features the entire band, Clark Barrios, Donna Lamoureaux, Tim Campbell, Jeff DeHollander, Dave Williams, and Mike Bunch.
Rock n Soul - Suspicious Minds
Rock n Soul did everything well, but their lead singer's renditions and impersonation of Elvis, was unbelievable. Suspicious Minds was recorded live in the Orchid Garden at Church Street Station in 1999, featuring lead singer Clark Barrios, Donna Lamoureaux, Dave Williams, Jeff DeHollander, Mike Bunch, Tim Campbell.
Rock n Soul - Walking in Memphis
Rock n Soul performed four sets each night beginning at 8 p.m. and ending at 1 around 2 a.m. The first set was the 50's, second the 60's, third and fourth were a mixture of 70's, 80's and 90's. By the last set, the crowds would thin out and the fans who has long ago become their friends usually made up a good part of the remaining audience. The band could have cut corners, played and sang some mediocre tunes to end the night, but they always seemed to have a special musical gift for those of us who closed the place.
Anyone who remembers them singing Seven Bridges Road or Walking in Memphis knows what I mean. I've never heard either of these songs done better and I doubt I ever will. Rock n Soul was Dave Williams, Clark Barrios, Donna Lamoureaux, Tim Campbell, Phil May, Jeff DeHollander, Mike Bunch.
Rosie O'Grady's Good Time Emporium - Patriotic Finale
The patriotic grand finale of the show at Rosie O'Grady's Good Time Emporium brought everyone to their feet! The band leader would pose the question: Are there any folks here from the north? The response would be loud since many of the visitors to Orlando were from the North. The follow up question posed to Southerners would evoke even louder response at which time Ruth Crews and Spatz Donovan would lead the crowd singing Dixie as waiters unfurled the Rebel flag and waved it from the bar.
And then the Rebel flag was put away, Old Glory unfurled and Yankee Doodle sung, followed by "You're a Grand Old Flag" and finale "God Bless America" with everyone on their feet, waiters and can can girls in front of the stage, Uncle Sam on stilts and the Statue of Liberty on stage with Ruth and Spatz.
It was a site to behold and an experience to remember.
Sights and Sounds of Church Street Station - Bob Snow
Bob Snow, usually remembered as the dreamer and doer who created Church Street Station entertainment complex in Orlando in 1974, was actually quite a musician himself. His rendition of When the Saints Go Marching In performed at Rosie O'Grady's Good Time Emporium and included on the live album "Sights and Sounds of Church Street Station" proves that point.
Boyd Bergeson on banjo, Randy Morris on piano, Jim Maihack on trombone, Warren Sauers on drums, Bob Snow vocals and trumpet.
Sights and Sounds of Church Street Station - Mother's Choice
This take off on the once popular Kingston Trio song "Charlie on the M.T.A." is performed by the Apple Annie's Courtyard band "Mother's Choice." The song places Charlie on the monorail at Disney instead. It was record live on the "Sights and Sounds of Church Street Station" album that followed two visitors experiencing the entertainment at Rosie O'Grady's Good Time Emporium and Apple Anni's Courtyard.
Front and back images of a post card from Apple Annie's Courtyard at Church Street Station after the fire and water fountain were removed and the wall opened for access to the Exchange shopping and entertainment area. You can see the bandstand with Mother's Choice performing in the back on the right and the new sign for THE EXCHANGE in the center where the fountain was formerly located. You can also see some of the architecture - the chandeliers were from old churches in Europe as was the bar.
This full-color, two sided, multi-fold advertisement pamphlet has scenes from every showroom and restaurant in the Church Street Station complex that stretched from Garland to the train tracks at the old Church Street train station.
This matchbook is from the final years of Church Street Station before the decline as it includes the names of all the restaurants and showrooms and shopping emporiums that existed. These include Rosie O'Grady's (Red Hot Dixieland Jazz0, Cheyenne Saloon (Life Country and Western Music), Orchid Garden (Classic Rock and Roll), Phineas Phogg's (High Energy Dance Music), Apple Annie's (Featuring Fresh Fruit Diaquiris), Commander Ragtime's Midway of Fun and Games, Lili Marlene's (Exemplary Food and Fine Wine), Crackers (Fresh Florida Seafood), Cheyenne Saloon Restaurant (Texas Style Barbeque), Exchange Food Pavilion (Convenient International Cuisine), The Exchange (Over 50 Specialty Shops), and The Wine Cellar (Orlando's Only True Wine Cellar).
Church Street Station had "just for fun" card games at the Cheyenne Saloon and Opera House. Guests were given "free" legal tender to play in the games.
Purchased after Church Street Station closed its doors, this is the souvenir glass used in the Orchid Garden Ballroom and Dessert Cafe.
Church Street Station became an Orlando entertainment destination when Rosie O'Grady's Good Time Emporium opened it's doors in July 1974. Central Floridians and people from around the world enjoyed the music, laughter, food and fun that made CSS the stuff of memories. In July 2004, the 30th anniversary of the opening of Rosie's, an exhibit created by a Central Florida resident entitled "Church Street Station ... One Family Remembers," toured the Orange County Library System.
The exhibit was featured in a two page color story in the Orlando Sentinel entitled: "When the party's over; Back in the day, Church Street Station was the place to be. Memories of its good times are on display at the Orlando Public Library." August 5, 2004, pg. H1. This is the flyer that accompanied the exhibit.
Check out photos, audios, links, documents and images from CSS.