VILLA HILLS, Ky.- Thousands of thrill-seeking people from across the country flocked to the historic Beverly Hills Supper Club when the Schilling family took over operations in 1971.
And now, more than 35 years after tragedy ripped through its Southgate location, hundreds of people can take a piece of it home with them.
Scott Schilling's parents used to own the Supper Club, as well as one of Northern Kentucky's most prominent homes. The luxurious house, which is also up for sale, was known for hosting elaborate parties in the country and luring guests like Frank Sinatra and Ohio native Phyllis Diller.
Eight years after both of his parents passed away, Schilling has hired the company Everything But The House to auction off artifacts from the famed establishment that drew in talent from Las Vegas, Nashville, Hollywood and New York, among other places. The auction is taking place online through Nov. 10.
Despite the many memorable nights spent there, some people will never be able to look past the fearful night in 1977 when the club went up in flames, killing 165 people and injuring 200 more. It is the third deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history.
But Schilling and the thousands of others who frequented the nightclub remember it as a haven for fun and entertainment.
Many of the items up for auction have special meaning for Schilling. They include a George Mason roulette wheel; a Mills Bursting cherry nickel slot machine; a Boulle-style, tortoiseshell longcase clock; beautiful pink J.K Carlsbad china; a Spanish alabaster chandelier and a reproduction of Raphael's "Madonna and Child."
Schilling explained that he would rather not part with many of the items listed in the auction, but it is simply the right time.
"These were things from 'Beverly' that are a part of (my father's) history. The hardest part for me is to let go. I'm trying to downsize and I just can't take all of this with me," he said.
Some of those items include relics of the site's history as a gambling house, which dates back to 1937.
Those Supper Club auction items include roulette tables, the legendary one-armed bandit slot machine and blackjack tables, which may have been utilized by crooner Dean Martin, who is rumored to have once been a card dealer at the club that existed for decades just two miles south of Cincinnati.
"When I was a kid my father had all these things, but they were locked up in a room," he said. "I guess when you're not allowed to play with something you want it more."
Although he's selling much of the physical history of the Supper Club, Schilling will keep a few items of his father's, like a blackjack table and a slot machine that were discovered in a hidden room.
"We just happened to find a button and pushed it and the whole wall opened up -- just like James Bond stuff," he said laughing.
Schilling explained that his family's legacy of providing premier entertainment to the Tri-State should not be forgotten. Folks could dress up, gamble, drink, dance and dine as if they were in Las Vegas or Los Angeles during the "Sin City" era in Northern Kentucky.
That legacy is why Schilling chose to have more than 370 items auctioned. While he cannot keep them, he hopes licensed auctioneer Jacquie Denny can find someone who wants the items to become keepsakes.
"We like to consider this an event for a family to connect to a well loved piece to someone who's going to love it as much as the [Schilling] family did," Denny said.
"Whether it's a phenomenal back bar that's very historical and significant, or some beautiful glasses that mom and dad used for Thanksgiving dinner, they have value beyond what someone is paying for them. They have what we call emotional or sentimental value."
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