Thursday, May 5, 2011

Beehive Confectionary/Twilite Lounge

Twilite Lounge
Beehive Confectionary/Twilite Lounge

Location: 28 South Street until 1960s, then 347 East 200 South, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Opened: 1915 (as general business); started becoming a "lesbian place" in the late 1930s, early 1940s. Became the Twilite Lounge in 1947.

Closed: Sometime after its move to 347 East 200 South in the 1960s, lost its lesbian customer base and became a "straight dive bar."

Major hat tip to gay historian Connell O'Donovan for telling me about the Beehive Confectionary/Twilite Lounge, and sending along a photo. Thanks so much! For the most part (with minor editing), this is the narrative that Connell sent me:

The Beehive Confectionary (at 28 South State Street) was opened about 1915 by Turkish native Emmanuel M. Cozakos.  At the same time, a Greek family, brothers George and John Cairo and spouses, owned and ran a confectionary and cigar shop nearby on West Broadway Street.  Their family name was originally Karakitsos and the boys were born in Agion Vasilios (St. Basil), Kynurias, (Arcadia) Greece in the 1880s.  A third brother, Peter E. Cairo was a local interior decorator and painter - and married to Anna Zampos of Peraeus, Greece.  They were the sons of Elias Karakitsos and Maria Russos.

By 1922 George and John had bought the Beehive from Cozakos.  Peter and Anna's daughter, Maria P. Cairo (1913-1985) went to university in 1930 (likely either the University of Utah or Westminster College run by the Salt Lake City First Presbyterian Church).  After graduating, she began working as a waitress at her uncles' sandwich store, the Beehive Confectionary.  She was a lesbian and her circle of lesbian friends became regular clients in the late 30s, early 40s.  The name was changed to the Twilite Lounge in 1947 to reflect its "twilight" clientele.  

In the 1960s, the bar moved to its present location of 347 East 200 South.  The lesbian clientele initially followed the move but it was out of the regular gay bar district of upper State Street, so it soon lost its lesbian customers and became a straight dive bar.

It appears that the area has been completely redeveloped since then, as a Key Bank high rise is now at that location.

For more information, contact Connell O'Donovan.

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