On a morning in mid-November, flames emanated from the roof of a shop operated by the Rodewald family on North Richwood Road. For the last 32 years the family operated a wrecking yard on that spot and it has been the only reliable source of used auto parts for many of those years. Mark Rodewald awoke to see smoke coming out of the building. By the time he got down the hill, it was engulfed in flames.
In the late '60s, when I was associated with the building, it was a bar called The Grad School. The facility was owned and operated by Tom Hanson and Curt Hage, and I recall that Curt was always trying to get us to change our band name to the "Weekly Readers." It was a really fun place to play and we sported a quartet which could be loosely called a house band. The others that played there from time to time including The Uglies.
As a nightclub, it went through a number of other incarnations: The Spotlite, The Anchor Club, The Blue Goose and the Red Mecca were some of those but I knew it only as The Grad School, and it was full of good times. The band was named Flash Garden, the pizza was great and Tom said he got his crusts from Pinkies in Fargo. Tom's widow informed me, at his celebration of life, that she was the door checker and bouncer during that time.
It was the time of "flower power," when people would come to the lake and live in their van for the entire summer or at least on weekends. Perhaps it is only fitting that the building perished in such a hot fire like the rock 'n' roll played there.