The Belmont Club (originally the Bel-Mont) was located at 615 University Ave. (at Dale Street), in St. Paul.
The ad below indicates that 615 University was the home of a White Castle in 1933!
THE SILVER STRIPE
In December 1940, a fire burned down a one-story brick building that housed the Silver Stripe Bar and Restaurant.
One article says that the Bel-Mont was named for the first two owners, Henry Belisle (a relative) and Earl Montpetit.
Brothers Earl and Walter Montpetit bought the club in 1950.
Earl lost the liquor license because of a Federal conviction in 1959.
New management leased the bar from the Montpetit’s sisters. (Minneapolis Star, November 16, 1961)
THE BELMONT SUPPER CLUB
It reopened as the Belmont Supper Club in about 1962. In January 1963 it closed for lack of payment of rent.
In February 1963 the license was again transferred, to Clayton Montpetit, yet another sibling of Earl. In return he had to pay back rent, pay for the transfer of the license, and bar Earl and Walter from hanging out there. (Minneapolis Star, February 15, 1963)
In February 1964, a group called the Beetles (formerly the Tornadoes) started a stint at the Belmont, reported Will Jones in the Tribune. Jones covered this phenomenon extensively, observing that the place was packed, even with a $2 cover charge, and noting that the boys did a polka set.
GIRLS IN CAGES
In 1966 the bar featured Og-Og… I mean Go-Go Girls in cages, like on “Shindig.”
An article from December 1967 describes the bar as the Clayton Club, formerly the Belmont Club. (Minneapolis Star, December 27, 1967) But that didn’t hold, since ads for the Belmont appear in January 1968.
In June 1969 the club started a new policy, featuring some of the biggest bands in town.
On January 10, 1973, a janitor at the club was tied up and beaten in the basement of the club. A week later he was found dead in the laundry room of his apartment building. (Minneapolis Tribune, January 19, 1973)
In February 1973 there was an ad saying that the Belmont was Back in Action; begs the question as to whether the club had closed for a while.
In March 1973 classifieds advertised for go-go dancers.
THEY CALL IT THE STREAK
In keeping with the biggest fad of 1974, “Streaking” was advertised at the Belmont, although it was probably an excuse to introduce nude women into the mix.
By November 1974 the place appeared to be less participatory and more observatory…
GIRLS IN CAGES II
In January 1979 the manager was George Montpetit. Nude women danced in glass-enclosed cages to get around the city’s ordinance against nude dancing in bars.
In 1984 Walter Montpetit sold the building to Maurice Fung for $350,000.
In February 1988, Walter Montpetit was arrested in a sting operation. He had “owned the Belmont Club for years.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune, February 13, 1988)
On February 8, 1988, David Fan, the manager of the club, was charged with hiring a 13-year-old nude dancer. The girl was a runaway from Menomonie, Wisconsin, and was arrested that night.
After an investigation, the St. Paul City Council voted to revoke the club’s liquor license. Fan was also charged with a felony for hiring a minor for a sexual performance and went to trial in Ramsey County. He was found guilty and sentenced to 30 days in the Workhouse and five years probation.
On top of everything else, on November 28, 1988, the bar was raided by Federal agents as a result of a three-year investigation into irregularities into the reporting of wages of dancers by Fan’s subsidiary, Dancing Angels, Inc.
The last dance at the Belmont was November 30, 1988, as part of an agreement with the City that Fan would sell the Belmont and his share of the 7th Street Trolley, another nude dancing place in St. Paul.
In April 1989, the City of St. Paul offered to buy the building for $315,000 and turn it into a police station.
In 1989, Montpetit sued David Fan, the manager of the club, for $260,000 for nonpayment of the mortgage since July 1988.
BLUE CLOTHING REQUIRED
After spending $675,000 to purchase and renovate the property, it became a police precinct headquarters on August 31, 1990.