I’ve heard that there was once a lakeside dance hall built into the Scarborough Bluffs. Is this true?
Dear Urban Decoder: I’ve heard that there was once a lakeside dance hall built into the Scarborough Bluffs. Is this true? If so, what happened to the place?—Nicola Cartwright, Summerhill
Though the description sounds more like something out of Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age fiction, it’s true. In the early 1920s, a squatter named Bob Clements pulled his ramshackle houseboat alongside the rugged cliffs at the foot of Fallingbrook Road. Using a hand-cranked cement mixer, he carved a boat storage facility right into the cliffside; its second floor was reserved for partying. Dubbed “The Bucket of Blood” by local police, who were often summoned to the site, the club drew rowdy hordes for all-night jitterbugging to the pumping rhythms of the city’s hot big bands. Guests often arrived by water, thereby avoiding the precarious 138-step staircase that led down to the main entrance. Last call came some 40 years later, when a mysterious fire ravaged the pavilion.