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Behind These Old Walls

dawn rose country music

Happy New Year!

I was going to take a few more weeks off from writing, but the other day when I saw these old pictures, I really wanted to share this story.

For the last month or so, we have had a scrap company going through the nursery, taking out any valuable metals, wood, wires, etc. to be recycled. In the building, we called ‘Dawnrose,’ as they were cutting cords from the ceiling, they had to remove some of the walls. There they were! Photo after photo of Country Music Stars of the past. Many shown with the previous owner, Frank Gosman.

Frank Gosman began his jamboree around 1968, calling the club The Tin Dipper. He broadcast a few radio commercials for the butcher shop he owned there, and the station offered him a chance to do some country music shows. He later moved the jamboree to the Big Dipper nightclub, built as a second floor on top of the original club. Many stars like Roy Clark performed right here in Beltsville at Frank’s club.

As you can see, this old building has had many uses over the years. I remember the butcher shop where we could get some of the best sandwiches. They also processed deer behind the butcher shop. What an adventure that was. Deer remains would be draped over our fence behind the azaleas. Many a surprised customer would find themselves face to face with a deer head.

I remember hot summer nights with our windows opened in the little brick house on the nursery; we would hear the music coming from the club. Later and I am not really sure how it came about, the club turned into a place that I was not allowed to go in. Exotic dancers, I understand, performed upstairs.

The time came when Frank wanted to retire to his farm, and Behnke’s bought the property. The upstairs became a place for many terrific seminars and talks on gardening. The old bar and dance floor remain to this day. Downstairs became a full-service florist shop along with offices for some of our staff. Fast forward, we moved the florist shop to our Potomac location, and Behnke’s landscaping moved in. After they moved to Potomac, our graphics department settled in. We also had our IT and buyers’ offices downstairs.

At some point, I guess after we bought the property, new walls were put up, and ceilings lowered. All that incredible country music history was covered up. I almost get chills thinking of all those stars behind our walls. What a story those walls could tell.

Now another story is waiting to be told as bit by bit the walls will come down. Life is always about change, but finding a surprise along the way makes the adventure all the more special.

~ Stephanie Fleming, Beyond Behnke’s

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Butcher shop, deer, exotic dancers! Makes me feel sad for my mundane question which is what scrap metal company are you using. Thanks!

  2. Absolutely incredible! What’s happening to the material? I do hope it has not been destroyed.
    How long was it there?
    Incredible to learn of Behnkes horticultural history intertwined with multicultural music history right through to Eva Cassidy. Wow. What an amazing find!

    Steven Duhig. Bowie, MD

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