Monday, April 2, 2012

The Nevermore at Fox Trails, Cary, Illinois

The fall of 1964 brought the Nevermore (building on the right in the photo), which in not mentioned on the Fox Trails web site:

The Nevermore was the first teen nite club in the Crystal Lake/Cary area, and it operated from the fall of 1964 into mid-winter of 1965.  It was located at Fox Trails resort in Cary.

Harry Hopes, which was a later adult night club in the 1980's, is mentioned on the Fox Trails web site but not the Nevermore.

Cary and Algonquin always seemed to be the places to go during that time period.  During the summer of 1964 there was a hootenany place called Number 10 Spring Street in Cary.  Number 10 Spring Street had folk singers, and patrons could sit on the floor, smoke, and listen to the music.  Dave Kordenbrock had his license that summer, and we used to go and listen to the folkies.  It was pretty boring!  You can only listen to "Blowin' in the Wind" and "If I Had a Hammer" so many times.

I don't remember exactly when I first went to the Nevermore, but it was still warm weather, probably late September or October of 1964.  My dad still had his 1959 Rambler station wagon, and I remember Harold and I going to the Nevermore, Harold picking up Lynn S. (who had been a classmate but had moved to Algonquin), and me driving around in the Rambler while Lynn and Harold made out in the back seat.  We smuggled some kind of exotic liquor into the parking lot too, but I don't think we ever drank it.  It had been sitting in our basement for years.

The Nevermore was actually the ski lodge for Fox Trails resort.  In fact during the winter of 1964-65 there were skiers on the first floor of the building with the music and dancing relegated to the upstairs.  I can remember standing in front of the large picture window (can't see in the photo) and watching skiers glide down the slopes.

The song that was playing the first time I walked into the Nevermore was "Tossin' and Turnin'" and the band was the Conspirators, pre-Eddie Putta.  Putta was later the lead singer for the group, but he hadn't joined yet.  John Mayus, the lead guitar player, was in the band when it played at the Nevermore.

I hadn't heard a live rock 'n roll band since 7th grade when Freddie Notz played with his group at a junior high dance at the American Legion in Crystal Lake.  Man, was this great!

I was so shy.  I very seldom had ever asked a girl to dance, and when I did ask a girl to dance, it was only after she had asked me during a "ladies' choice."  But the Conspirators' music was so infectious that night that I couldn't stop myself so I danced with Judy Burhmann, Sally Erber, and other girls in their group.  I still see Judy once in a while, and she is famous in the annals of the Nevermore/New Place (more on the New Place coming up) since she married Billy Hall from Woodstock--an actual New Place marriage!

The Conspirators were way up on an elevated stage, high above the crowd.  At first there was plenty of room to dance, but after a while word about the Nevermore spread, and more kids showed up, lots more.  They had a huge parking lot at Fox Trails, and you could go out of the building and come back in again which I would imagine caused some problems nine months later.  I was only 16 so I had no clue about any of that.

In January or February of 1965, the crowds coming to the Nevermore got too big, and the owners had to find a larger place.  I'm not sure who they were, but the owners must have been English teachers or literature fans.  "Nevermore" is from the Poe poem "The Raven," and "New Place" is Shakespeare's house in Stratford on Avon in England that he lived in after he retired.

Sometime during the winter of 1965 the Nevermore moved west to Route 31 between Rt. 14 and Virginia (Cut-Off) Road to a large barn and became the New Place.  More on the New Place later, much more.

When I started teaching at Fremd in 1981, Harry Hopes, a sort of night club had opened in what was once the Nevermore, and Mudddy Waters, among others, was appearing there frequently.  I remember colleagues asking me if I had ever been to Harry Hopes.  "I was at Harry Hopes when it was the Nevermore," I'd say.  "You were still in diapers then!"

God bless the Nevermore!


  1. I remember the Nevermore, and the New Place too of course.

    I went to a few concerts later, when it became Harry Hope's. Great place to see a show, it was small enough that you could see and hear from any seat in the house.

    .................. Ace

  2. The names were Ed Putta and John Mayus. Ed is on facebook and is still singing.

  3. I was raised across the river at Illinoir Turner Camp. We use to take a row boat across and sneak in so we could here the music. When the New Place opened I saw many great bands their that were basicly starting out the bands carrier. I would love to read more about The New Place but where do I find it? Do you have a list of the bands that played The New Place?