Nelligan Hall on Portland Ave.
Agroup of investors who say they want to preserve Portland history is buyinga 125-year-old former Democratic clubhouse and dance hall with plans to return return it to community use. Nelligan Hall — a 4,300-square-foot, 4,300-square-foot, two-story building at 2010 Portland Ave. — will soon belong to a 14-member group called North End Investments Investments LLC. The group plans to spend $10,000 to $15,000 to renovate the property, which it isbuying for $53,500 from businessman Mike Hasken. Theinvestors want to see it become self-sustaining self-sustaining by renting it out for concerts, concerts, political and community meetings, and other events. Each investor has purchased one or more $100 shares in the venture. The total value of the 100 shares would cover the investors’ investors’ $10,000 down payment. Thirty-eight shares are still available. The first event to be held in the hall under its new guise will be a Hurricane Katrina relief fund-raiser Oct. 8. The Portland NOWneigh- borhood groupwill meet there through the first of the year. “It’s always been a gathering point for the community,” said John Owen, a longtime Portland resident who, along with former residents Joe and Paula Stearman, Stearman, arranged the purchase. “This is a way of preserving a piece of interesting history that’s synonymous with the community.” Paula Stearman — she and her husbandbought 10 shares— agreed, saying the building, which dates to 1880, has much potential. The interior is sparse and has aconcrete floor and wood paneling, paneling, she said. It’s divided on the first floor into two office spaces in the front, a large open area, a kitchen with pantry, and abar area, she said. She described described the second floor as a loft-like space. “It had its heyday, had beauty and shined,” she said. “We see the beauty in her. We want to let people know that here sits a jewel jewel that needs to be polished and her pretty face put on.” According to a 1969 Courier- Journal article, the building was owned by Jack Nelligan, and, beginning beginning in 1933, home to the North End Democratic Club. The club, along with others across the city, was part of a Democratic stronghold on City Hall. It was run by neighborhood neighborhood boss and city employee Joseph Joseph Lannan until his death in 1946. The investment group plans to operate as Nelligan’s North End Social Club, honoring that chapter in the building’s history, Owen said. Doris Batliner, a retired Courier-Journal Courier-Journal librarian who grew up in Portland and studies its history, said her memories of the building are pegged to less serious topics. “If you had a date for anything, anything, it was the St. Pat’s Day Dance at Nelligan Hall,” she said. “Even more than New Year’s Eve, it was Portland’s event of the year.” For that event, held either the Saturday before or after St. Patrick’s Patrick’s Day, Batliner said, people focused more on dressing up and stepping out than whether they were Jewish or Irish, Catholic or Protestant. That dance was held for at least 30 years, she said. Batliner;her sister, Joan Batliner; Batliner; and a cousin, Rose Sandifer Sandifer King, recently published a history of Portland’s old St. Patrick Patrick Catholic Church. She said she chose to invest in a share of Nelligan Hall because of the history history and the hope it represents. She said she did not want any place with the history and sociological sociological impact that Nelligan Hall had to be forgotten. “If we can do anything to revitalize the property,it’s worth doing.” Group is buying Nelligan Hall, will use it to benefit Portland By Sheryl Edelen firstname.lastname@example.org The Courier-Journal By Arza Barnett, The Courier-Journal Nelligan Hall at 2010 Portland Ave. is being bought by North End Investments LLC, which plans to renovate the two-story building. By Steve Durbin, The Courier-Journal NelliganNelligan Nelligan HallHall Hall 64