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Power of Place Episode #37 | Club of Caballeros - Tim Person & Ms. Ellen Smith

Join us in this episode and step inside the Ray Gibson Caballeros Club with Tim Person (President & CEO) and Ms. Ellen Smith (Manager).

In the 1950’s, two trailblazing African American men grew weary of exclusion from downtown Tacoma’s restaurants, concert halls and bars. They envisioned a member-owned, private club for the city’s Black community. A founders group next acquired real estate for this purpose in the form of an inconspicuous house on a dead-end street in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood on acreage heralding sweeping views of Mount Rainier. About twenty benefactors soon mortgaged their private residences to fund expansion of that building into the Caballeros Club as we know it today; with splendid spaces supporting diversified membership that includes women.

If the “Cab’s” walls could speak, they would voice this episode’s heartwarming stories: Tales of dedicated civic leaders rubbing elbows at the downstairs bar for decades, of friends swaying to live music, of earnest charitable projects, of hearty food served with piquant cocktails…within a private Pacific Northwest haven abounding in joy and camaraderie.

"One of the things that makes us proud…is that it is our club—we are not renting the property. We’ve purchased it. So, it has the feeling of ownership; you are not going to take this away from us. This is ours.”

~Ms. Ellen Smith

Here are Tim, Ellen, & Edward recording in the studio at Jack Straw Cultural Center, November 2022: