The Historic Manhattan Casino History


Built in 1925

Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughn, Fats Domino and the Ink Spots, can still be imagined playing the stage with their jazz and rhythmic sounds, in the Manhattan Casino. Built in 1925, Elder Jordan, a successful black businessman and his sons (with R.L. Sharpe) built the 12,000 sq. ft., two-story Manhattan Casino, and named the Jordan Dance Hall in 1931. Jordan Dance Hall was built to provide a place for entertainment to showcase for local African American artists, since it was not an opportunity afforded to them by the St. Petersburg Coliseum. The Manhattan hosted dances and often featured local jazz, blues and rock & roll artists.  The Manhattan Casino closed its doors in 1968. After sitting empty for 43 years, Mayor Bill Foster invested $2.8M to renovate the historic site as a part of his Foster Forty Plan. It was first operated by the City and a private entrepreneur. However, in November 2017, the St. Petersburg City Council unanimously voted to award the Callaloo Group a five-year lease to conduct business in the historic Manhattan Casino

Thomas Wright "Fats" Waller was an American jazz pianist, organist, composer, singer, and comedic entertainer. His innovations in the Harlem stride style laid the groundwork for modern jazz piano. The Historic Manhattan Casino was blessed to have such talent perform at our venue.

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