1968 - 2002

Shep's Paradise

3,000 people marched on Clarissa Street following the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr. Shep's Paradise, another club, is pictured in the background. The demonstrators are holding signs, most are African Americans. A 1950's car is in the foreground.
3,000 people marched on Clarissa Street following the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr.; Shep's is pictured in the background. The Pythodd, not pictured, is located further down the same street. Photo courtesy of the Democrat & Chronicle.
Ruth Shephard, smiling, stands behind the corner of his bar at Shep's paradise.
Owner Ruth Shepard, pictured in June 1986. Photo courtesy of the Democrat & Chronicle
Band Box

In 1967, Ruther Sheppard bought the bar at 293 Clarissa Street. Back then, Clarissa Street was still a thriving hub of African-American life in Rochester, but by 1972, the neighborhood, including the Pythodd Club, was largely demolished due to urban renewal. Shep’s, miraculously, survived, and in the 1990s Shep sought to bring jazz back to the community. “The response,” reports Alan Morrell for the Democrat & Chronicle, “was immediate and enthusiastic.” Crowds from all backgrounds came to the club, drinking in the atmosphere of what one patron remarked was “A Corn Hill icon of hip…a relic of the ‘60s in both decor and attitude.” Unfortunately, back taxes proved to be the venue’s downfall, and in 2002, Shep’s Paradise closed for good.

Lesser Known Clubs
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