Wednesday, May 20, 2015

All Good Things...

There isn't a lot of documentation on the Lincoln Club. However, what does exist is enough to give an idea of what people thought of the club.

The club existed for six years and obviously, it was popular. Why else would it receive the attention from the police it did? Reg Dotson was doing more than just 'ekeing' out a living with the club. This is evident in his big car and ability to impress out of town entertainers.

At this time in history, the jobs open for black men were sleeping car porter, janitor or another low- level position. Dotson was making more financially then he ever could in one of those jobs.

The papers had unexplained mentions of 'white' women being in the club. This was probably intended to add to the notoriety of the club. Remember the times frowned upon race mixing. Those reports tell us something else though. They tell us despite the Lincoln Club being known as a black club, it wasn't so racially segregated.

Then there was the annual Easter Sunday breakfast dance. This tells us the club was more than just for drinking and gambling. It has a community purpose.

Don't forget about the numerous performers who lived above or stayed at the club. This tells it was home to a vibrant musical culture. Most notably, jazz, right when the genre was coming into its own.

Vancouver's black population was tiny at the time. But the Lincoln Club linked it to a larger and more sophisticated black cultural network that travelled North America on railway lines and entertainment circuits. I think that Dotson and the club brought the whites and blacks together, if only for a little while, to enjoy great music. And perhaps see other races aren't so scary or different.

102 East Georgia was listed as vacant in a 1925 city directory. In 1935, Reg Dotson passed away.

Thanks to the Past Tense Vancouver blog for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.


  1. Great story and great pictures. If we could all be united as one people through music. I hate the racial issue.

  2. Having lived in Vancouver off and on since 1979, did not know this. Interesting, Karen. Thanks for the post. Found you on Master Koda.

    1. Glad you decided to visit the Vagabond! The Lincoln Club seems to have been an interesting place and to tell you the truth, I knew nothing of it until last week.