A former iconic Rochester, Beaver County, bar and music venue burned to the ground early Friday morning.
It was Morry’s Speakeasy in the 70s, Arthur’s Lounge in the 80s, and then Chameleon Junction until it closed in the early 2000s.
“The venue was the most ultimate venue in the area, including Pittsburgh,” said keyboardist Rich Mannion, who played with numerous bands at the club during all of its iterations, starting when he was just 13.
“It was always hoppin’. Bands four to five days a week. Miss those kind of venues,” he said.
According to Mannion, the club used to be packed with 300 to 400 people a night.
Since it closed more than a decade ago, the building had fallen into disrepair before catching fire early Friday morning.
“It was sad to see the state that it was in. It really bummed me out, but now it’s officially the end of the era,” said Mannion. “It’s gone and nobody’s ever going to bring it back.”
Rochester firefighters say the fire was too large and the building, tucked away on a hillside off Route 65, was too difficult to access to be able to save it. A fire chief told Channel 11 the building was fully involved when crews got there, so they kept an eye on it as they let it burn.
How the fire got started is under investigation.
“I’m really bummed out that it burned down. I always wanted it to reopen,” said Dawn Mohrbacher, who used to sneak into the club when it was Arthur’s in the 80s.
She saw iconic artists there like B.E. Taylor and the Granati Brothers.
Donnie Iris also got his start there.
“Those are some of my best memories and I know a lot of times my mom would be like, ‘You shouldn’t be hanging out down there,’ but I’d be there every time there was a band,” said Mohrbacher.
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