TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – For a decade now The Copper Bar, located at 8th and Wabash Avenue, has been a staple in the downtown Terre Haute community.
Now, we know what you may be thinking, why are we focusing on a bar for this Report It! Wrap? Well, there is a lot of history packed into this building you may not be aware of.
The building was actually built in the 1870’s and since then it has been….
“Food and beverage operations to… It’s been hardware store, it’s been a grocery store… It’s been a lot of things,” explained owner, Rob Lundstrom.
But, what makes this current business so unique is the piece of history that, well let’s just say it sort of traveled from down the street.
“The actual bar was taken from the Marine Room Lounge in the Terre Haute House,” Lundstrom continued. “We actually have half of what was a u-shaped bar that was within the Marine Room Lounge.”
Ah yes…the Marine Room Lounge. This was a staple in the Terre Haute House’s hay-day. But the bar itself was the heart of the lounge.
“The original bar in the Marine Room Lounge was a u shaped bar. And the picture that we have within the bar itself which is a very commonly used photo of the Marine Room Lounge actually shows the section that we have.”
That corner seat however, legend has it a notorious patron laid claim to it.
“The seat that we have right here was actually known as John Dillinger’s seat in the Marine Room Lounge,” Lundstrom said.
That corner seat wasn’t chosen at random though. The story says he actually had a reason for choosing it.
“This was the seat that he actually sat at because if you had to enter the Marine Room Lounge, you had to enter from the far part of the lounge, and there was also a hallway behind where this seat sat, and within that hallway was a secret door which led into the tunnels under Wabash.”
Now, if you haven’t put two and two together yet… Yes, they named the business after the bar itself since it is actually a copper bar.
And Rob was telling us about another special seat they have reserved at the bar. There is a very special spot with a dedication plaque you may not notice at first.
But it is at the spot next to the kitchen entrance at the bar where Rob’s mother – who is lovingly referred to as ‘Mama L’ – always used to sit. So, when she passed away, a plaque was placed at her spot – so it will always be ‘her spot.’