Originally designed by architect Elmer Jacobs as residential housing in 1891 for a growing industrial community, the building housing 123 Pleasant Street was converted to commercial property in the 1920s as downtown Morgantown’s business district expanded beyond High Street, the primary commercial thoroughfare. For more than 60 years, the storefronts of the building housed a variety of businesses.
In 1982, Marsha Ferber opened The Underground Railroad, a music club dedicated to bringing people together from multiple backgrounds to enjoy music. The concept fit the college-town environment perfectly and built a strong regional community around the venue’s music, art, drinks, and associated fun.
In April 1988, Ferber disappeared with no substantial leads as to her whereabouts. To this day, no conclusive evidence has surfaced regarding her fate.
Not long after Ferber’s disappearance, the bar reopened as The Nyabinghi Dance Hall and continued to attract eclectic crowds and a healthy mix of rock, roots, and reggae performers.
In February 1998, the City of Morgantown condemned the building, citing numerous fire code violations. Tenants living above the club in apartments were evicted and all scheduled performances were cancelled.
In October 1998, the club reopened under new local ownership. Local bands Lugens Farm Dairy, Bobby Lane, and Granny’s 12 Gauge kicked off the newly minted 123 Pleasant Street. The club name is also the club’s address.
Edited by TheMaestro21 on 12 Dec 2008, 15:35
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