We are Monroe and Betty Sago, husband and wife, life-long citizens of Natchez, MS. We  obtained  the property in 1983, and opened an auto detail center known as Quality Car Care Center.  Later, several elderly gentlemen came along and enlightened us about the site and the history it held.  They encouraged us to do something to preserve the history of the tragic Rhythm Night Club Fire of April 23, 1940.  For a number of years their plea fell on death ears.  About 10 years ago, many survivors of the fire started to visit the site and share articles and photos with us, we began to listen to their stories and knew that we must help them tell their stories.  We started commemorating the event on April 2008 with several survivors and the community present.  The commemorations continued thereafter each April.. On April 26, 2010 we decided to open a mini-museum with a few articles.  We soon discovered that we had to expand . We immediately began the expansion.  The Museum was completed and opened August 16, 2010 for tours. The Grand Opening was held November 6, 2010.

A True Story

Rhythm Night Club April 23, 1940


        This is a true story about a tragedy that occurred in a little river town named Natchez, Mississippi located high above the banks of the mighty Mississippi River.  On April 23, 1940, a famous club called the Rhythm Night Club was host to Walter Barnes’ Orchestra Band from Chicago, Illinois. The club caught fire and 209 plus citizens including Barnes and eight of his band members met their tragic deaths.

            It also tells how a husband and wife that were not born at the time of the tragedy, met survivors and families of the deceased who saw fit to share their horrific memories of that day. From shared memories, collection of photos, news articles, newspapers, written interviews, and live videos of survivors and witnesses were willing to use personal funds to establish the Rhythm Night Club (on site) Memorial Museum to preserve the history of the loss of almost an entire generation.

            We hope this story brings about awareness to the world of the tragic and the impact it had on our city and families herein.

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