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April 29, 2009

1985 - Clamorgan Restaurant Fire

"This fire occurred in the summer of 1985, which was most unfortunate because the structure has an interesting history. The location is directly across Clayton Road from the Galleria Shopping Center. Originally, it was built as the Hegeman Studebaker agency. The rear part of the building had a domed ceiling constructed like the old Arena, without columns. The architectural style of the roof has a specific name which escapes me for now.

In the early '60's Hegeman moved over to Manchester to sell Volkswagens and a fellow named Joseph Wieman purchased the property from Clayshire Drive west to Black Creek. He was the older brother of Hans Wieman, the hair specialist who operated until recently on Brentwood Boulevard. Mr. Wieman aspired to build a restaurant, although he had no experience in the business.

The interior was very well done with Spanish tile on many floors, a huge 'sunken' bar area and chandeliers in most rooms; the entry area with a large wooden chandelier was constructed to the front of the former auto dealership. One interior feature was a solid wooden beam, 40 feet long, and 12 inches square which ran from the rear of the lobby to the rear of the building.

Wieman sold the entire property to Stephen Apted in 1966 and Apted used the name Country Cupboard and then just Cupboard. I was the operating manager from 1966 to about 1971 and afterwards he leased the restaurant to others. As I recall, he wanted to sell all the attached property including the restaurant about 1984 and the Scholarshop Foundation was interested in the area. The fire occurred while workmen were removing old heating units from under the eaves at the rear.

While I worked there, Black Creek would sometimes flood; there was no concrete channel like the creek has now. The restaurant building was at a lower level than the top of the creek, so water ran downhill into the front door and out the back door. Since the hallway was tile, no damage was done."
--- David Bales

Source: Newspaper clip from David Bales collection
Clamorgan Restaurant

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