This 1920s Badass Bohemian Hangout Had a Speakeasy in a Tree House

Krazy Kat Klub Speakeasy

Oh yeah!  If this isn’t one of the coolest places that anyone ever partied in, then I don’t know what is! When I came across these photos I was immediately compelled to find out more about it.

Turns out that back in the 1920s there was speakeasy in Washington D.C. that served its bootleg cocktails in a treehouse.  It was named the “Krazy Kat Klub” after the character in a popular comic strip created by George Herriman.

The club was run by Cleon “Throck”  Throckmorton , an artist who later became a stage set designer.  It was a hipster haven for the counterculture,  the avant garde,  the artsy set.

This excerpt from a 1922 article in the Washington Times on Throckmorton and his “Krazy Kat Klub” was written by Victor Flambeau. He describes the club as  “a most spooky sort of place, weird and crazy as its name.”  A place for “Good friends, a blazing fire, some primitive furniture, hand made no doubt, candles, drinks, eats, a floor to dance upon, a garden annex in summertime, a spreading tree with airy rookeries built in it’s branches.”

I don’t know about you, but it sounds like a really fun place to me!

 

washington times article krazy kat club 1922

Below is the entrance to the club, which was actually in an old stable.  Cleon, aka “Throck” is on the right.

entrance to Krazy Kat Klub

 

And you know those unruly bohemians! Because it operated during Prohibition it was raided many times.

Below is an account from the Washington Post on a raid in 1919.

Officer Roberts was under orders to watch the ” rendevous of the Bohemians.”  (great name for a band!) when he heard a shot fired. A raid ensued and 14 people landed in the slammer, mostly for drunk and disorderly conduct.

The article likens the Krazy Kat Klub to a Greenwich Village coffee house,  with gaudy pictures created by futurists and impressionists.   And the people arrested were “self styled artists, poets and actors and”  GET THIS,  “some who worked for the government by day and masqueraded as Bohemians by night.

The horror! Can you imagine?  Government workers leading double lives!  Who would have thought?

 

 

police raid krazy kat club

Article source

I don’t know who that hot tomato is on the left, but I adore her 20s boho look.  The photo was taken in 1921 and she’s wearing black rolled down stockings, a scarf wrapped around her head gypsy style and a skirt that is showing her knees. Downright scandalous!

 

entrance to the Krazy Kat Club Washington DC

 

And check out this old rickety ladder they had to navigate in order to knock back a few.    They sure had to  go way out on a limb to get tipsy in the treetops!  Imagine what it was like to have to climb down after one too many? I can imagine more than one patron ended up on their behinds!

 

ladder to the Krazy Kat Klub treehouse

 

Mr. Throckmorton at the easel, 1920s hipsters smoking and posing in the yard.

Krazy Kat Club artists

 

More history about the Krazy Kat Klub can be found here.

 

Krazy Kat Klub treehouse speakeasy

Source of Images- Library of Congress.

After seeing these photos I so want one of these in my back yard.  Note to self, must add speakeasy treehouse to DH’s “Honey Do” list.

So, what about you? If you could time travel back to the 1920s, would you want to hang out in a place like this?

Theresa

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By | 2016-06-14T11:28:51-04:00 June 14th, 2016|Nostalgia|6 Comments

About the Author:

Theresa
Hi, I'm Theresa, owner and chief classy dame at the Blue Velvet Vintage online boutique. Lover of mid century fashion and home decor, classic films, Old Hollywood, pretty dresses, red lipstick, swing dancing and retro culture in general. Between my ecommere site and vintage style blog my mission is to revive the eras of classy dressing and inspire women to add more glamour to their lives! So don't be shy! I love to hear from others who share my appreciation of the styles of the past.

6 Comments

  1. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell June 18, 2016 at 8:57 am

    Oh yes, the permitting. Nowadays towns are permit crazy. Can’t even put up a mailbox without getting one! It’s fun to dream though! And happy spring to you, dear Jessica. Here it has been 90 degrees since May, so our spring in Florida came and went in a flash 🙂

  2. Avatar
    Jessica Cangiano June 17, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    One can only imagine the zoning and permit nightmare that something like this over-the-moon awesome tree house would incite these days, but goodness, if it could be pulled off, just imagine how great that would be! 🙂

    Big hugs & happy last weekend of spring wishes,
    ♥ Jessica

  3. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell June 17, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    I know, Vicki. Those wild bohemian babes from the 20s would be horrified by many of the clothes worn by girls their age today.

  4. Avatar
    Vicki June 17, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    That tree house speakeasy look like a blast. Though climbing down that ladder even without having cocktails would be a challenge for me! And its funny to think how back then it was considered so racy for womens’ knees to show. I’m sure they could never have imagined how much more exposure was to come in the world of fashion!

  5. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell June 14, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    The whole idea of this going on in the 20s in the middle of a city was fascinating to me. How much fun those people must have had! And, yes, wearing heels to get up to your treehouse would be asking for trouble. As far as neighbors, I have a few who would definitely want to join me in the treehouse for happy hour!

  6. Avatar
    Suzanne June 14, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    What a fantastic story! And amazing photos.

    I wouldn’t be so keen going up and down that ladder. Especially wearing heels.

    I’d love this idea in my backyard…it’d drive my neighbours nuts! LOL

    bisous
    Suzanne

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