|The streets of downtown Wilmington were deserted as we
stood in front of the building trying to discern what was
written across the old whitewashed brick facade. The light
was quickly fading, making the lettering even more difficult
|Charley Brownz Downtown Lounge
|Billy said he has become unnerved by the sounds of footsteps
coming from the upper floors. Strange things happen when anyone
is alone after closing. Billy is usually the last to leave and the first to
return and he was surprised to find the liquor display bottles
rearranged with all the labels turned backwards. At first dismissed as
a failing memory or maybe a trick by another employee, Billy began
to keep track. Night after night, the same bottles were moved or
turned each time. One morning Billy found a heavy neon sign was
hanging upside down. Billy was dumbfounded,. He explained that it
was hung with two hooks and sometime during the wee hours it had
to have been taken down and rehung!
Another time,Billy opened for business and found every cabinet
door under the bar hanging open. He was sure he didn' t leave it that
way when he left the night before. More unexplained activity
included the staff experiencing cold spots that seemed to move,
lights that seem to reposition themselves and flicker for no apparent
reason. The strange sounds echoing from above have scared the staff,
the owner, his wife and young son.
|Only once did Billy bring his dogs in for a little company while he
cleaned. Usually excited and curious, his dogs seemed anxious and
would not leave his side. Billy commented:" My dogs are normally
intent on exploring and sniffing every inch of the place, but this time,
all they wanted to do is leave!
|As we entered, the club seemed almost
surreal, silent and softly lit by soft neon light.
Without the music, the laughter of revelers,
or flash of strobes,
it was just lifeless empty space.
|Number 21 S. Front Street has a history all its own dating
back for more than two centuries.
The white brick facade belies the age and history of the building.
Outside only large darkly tinted windows face the street, but open
the door; and you enter one of the busiest night spots in
Wilmington. Neon lights sparkle off lacquered wood and softly
illuminate the bottles carefully arranged behind the bar. Modern
abstract paintings dress out the dark walls. Small tables await the
nights crowd of revelers. On the surface everything appears shiny
and polished , But silently underneath the old wooden floors, an
old creek stubbornly continues to trickle under the foundation on
its ancient path to the river.
|By day, the building stands empty and appears deserted, but late at
night, Charley Brownz is the local hot spot for music, dancing and
excitement. In the wee hours after closing, Billy reports unexplainable
events that have plagued the club since it opened... And perhaps, long
The first floor is the only area of the building open to the public. Sparkling with polished chrome and mirrors,
you can imagine the thump of the music from the large speakers surrounding the dance floor. But venture inside
, where hidden just beyond sight and decorated with 10 foot graffiti, are several forbidding back rooms that look
like something out of a New York City subway at midnight. In one dimly lit corner, an old and worn wooden
staircase leads up to an empty expanse that had remained abandoned for the last 40 years.
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All rights reserved
It was cold and damp when Billy unlocked the doors and beckoned us inside
the empty bar.... We hadn't come for a friendly drink, we were called here to
Haunting of Charley Brownz Downtown Lounge....