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Arizona History meets Columbia, SC

April 8, 2011

Columbia, SC and Arizona connection

I am always amazed about where Arizona history seems to connect in unexpected places. Recently while speaking at the Richland County Library, in Columbia, SC I notice a building with plaque.

Big Apple Juke Joint, Columbia, SC

A plaque is nothing unusual for a town with lots of pre-civil war era buildings and history. But what I found made me squeal with delight and want to cut a rug. Ok, not cut a rug exactly, more like cut the “Big Apple.” I located the building famous for the creation of the “Big Apple,” a dance craze developed in the 1930s. The former House of Peace Synagogue became an African American juke joint called the “Big Apple Night Club.”

Once while chatting with the owners of the local iconic eatery, Bill Johnson’s Big Apple,

Bill Johnson's Big Apple, Phoenix, AZ

I learned that the restaurant was named for a dance craze. Little did I realize that my travels would connect the dots, or should I say apples, all the way on the other side of the country.

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