Verbena’s Blue Moon (community correspondent)

Published 12:37 pm Tuesday, February 2, 2016

By Ola Taylor | Community Correspondent

There was a time in days gone by when Verbena had an establishment known as the Blue Moon. Those still around today who remember it were too young to frequent it, but they have their stories.

It seems that the Blue Moon was located off Highway 31 approximately across from the present-day Verbena School Annex. In daytime it was a café, serving things like a really good hamburger, as “big as a saucer,” for 50 cents. But, at night it became a more interesting place.

My ever-reliable source of interesting things about Verbena, Calvin Jones Jr., remembers that in the late 1930s his family lived across the road and to the north of the Blue Moon. At night he could hear the music from the jukebox and occasionally from live performers. Calvin says he never went there at night, but often in daytime he enjoyed the hamburgers and marveled at the jukebox.

Unfortunately, I have not located a photograph of the Blue Moon.

One Verbena lady says as a child she saw it and remembers it as a large building with a porch and probably made of unpainted lumber.

Once her older brother, on a dare from a friend, went into the place.

My aunt told of how she and some friends would look in the windows when the place was closed trying to see if what they had heard was true: that to make the wood floors slippery for dancing, the manager sprinkled cornmeal on the floor.

Obviously, “looking in the windows” was a favorite activity of many youngsters.

Bobby Lane remembers going to the Blue Moon when he was a teen and listening through the open windows to the jukebox playing “Coconut Grove,” probably the late 1930s version by Harry Owens and the Royal Hawaiians. The dancers had a little raised stage, as he remembers., “That was a great dance tune,” according to Bobby.

There was food, music, dancing, and if the stories are true, there was also liquor at the Blue Moon.

Prohibition had ended, but Alabama allowed counties to choose to be wet or dry, and Chilton was legally dry. Whether liquor was sold there or whether the patrons “brought their own bottles” is unknown. However, one enterprising young man rode his bicycle to the Blue Moon on Sunday mornings, collected bottles that had been tossed out the windows and off the porch, and sold them to a local bootlegger on the river, according to stories told by his cousin.

Probably many of the customers at the Blue Moon were from out of town. It was located on Highway 31, a main thoroughfare in those pre-interstate days. The café/dance hall seems to have had enough business to stay around several years. At some point, ownership may have changed for the name became the Starlite. Sometime in the late 1940s the building burned and was never rebuilt.

If you can fill in any of the gaps, I would love to hear your stories of the Blue Moon/Starlite.

-Ola Taylor is a Community Correspondent for The Clanton Advertiser. She can be reached at