They are for the crowd that knew the bars, clubs, restaurants and music of the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's. They are reminders of the best of times spent with family and friends at the best places, those places, back then.

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Mississippi Retro Apparel

Hattiesburg Retro Apparel

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Mississippi Memories

Plaque listing those who perished in the fire at the Rhythm Night Club fire in Natchez

Music has played a huge role in Mississippi’s history. Unfortunately, it’s also linked to a horrific state tragedy that will never be forgotten – the Rhythm Nightclub Fire. The Natchez disaster took place decades ago, and is still considered one of the deadliest fires in the world.

The Rhythm Club fire (or The Natchez Dance Hall Holocaust) was a fire in a dance hall in Natchez, Mississippi, on the night of April 23, 1940, which killed 209 people and severely injured many others. Hundreds of people were trapped inside the building. At the time, it was the second deadliest building fire in the history of the nation. It is now ranked as the fourth deadliest assembly and club fire in U.S. history.

The dance hall, a converted blacksmith shop once used as a church, was located in a one-story steel-clad wood-frame building at 1 St. Catherine Street, blocks from the city's business district.

As members of the local Moneywasters Social Club were enjoying the song "Clarinet Lullaby", performed by Walter Barnes and His Royal Creolians, an orchestra from Chicago, the fire started near the main entrance door at 11:30 pm and, fed by Spanish moss that had been draped over interior's rafters as a decoration, quickly engulfed the structure. To ensure there were no bugs in the decorative moss, it had been sprayed with FLIT, a petroleum-based insecticide. Under the dry conditions, flammable methane gas was generated from the moss. The building was destroyed within an hour.

The windows had been boarded up to prevent outsiders from viewing or listening to the music, and as a result the crowd was trapped. More than 300 people struggled to get out after the blaze began. A handful of people were able to get out the front door or through the ticket booth, while others tried to press their way to the back door, which was padlocked and boarded shut.

Blinding smoke made movement difficult. Many people died from smoke inhalation or by being crushed by the crowd trying to escape. Bandleader Barnes and nine members of his band were among the victims. One of the group's two survivors, the drummer Walter Brown, vowed never to play again; the other survivor was the bassist Arthur Edward. Barnes was well regarded as a strong competitor with his contemporaries Duke Ellington and Woody Herman.

People believed the fire to be accidental, started by a carelessly discarded match. The day after the blaze, five men were arrested after reports they had drunkenly threatened in an argument to burn the building down. Charges against them were later dropped.

The three local funeral homes had too many bodies to handle. Many of the victims were eventually buried in mass graves. In the aftermath of the fire, citizens of Natchez raised more than $5,000 to help the local Red Cross. The city passed new fire laws prohibiting the overcrowding of buildings.

The Natchez Dance Hall Holocaust

The Rhythm Night Club Fire

The Rhythm Night Club Musuem in Natchez

Mississippi Retro Apparel

Mississippi Blues Trail marker commemorating the Rhythm Night Club fire in Natchez

Mississippi sign marking the site of the Rhythm Night Club fire

Mississippi Retro Apparel are wearable flashbacks from years gone by.