The Senate Saloon, located at 111 25th Street, was completed in 1889 as recorded in the upper portion of the building frame with a sign “ESTABLISHED 1889.” It was built by George W. Murphy, same builder as the Murphy Block Building, at the corner of Wall and 25th, and the Windsor Hotel. Murphy sold the building to William Scudder as soon as it was completed and Bill Scudder operated it as the Scudder Saloon for the next ten years until it became known as the Senate Saloon.
We loved reading through 25th Street Confidential, in which stories of arrests out in from of the Senate are retold along with other wild west shenanigans of the time.
“Sam McMillan was tired of selling ice cream for a living. Confident that he could pluck fortunes from the hurly-burly along 5th Street [sic], he sketched out a new and remarkably simple business plan: blackmail. He decided to set up his wife, Clara Allen, as a prostitute. Once Clara had enticed an unsuspecting gentleman, Sam would burst into her room, fire his revolver at the canoodling couple, and threaten Clara’s victim with public shame if he failed to fork over a wad of hush money…
Fast forward eighteen years. In the middle of a chilly night, three gun-toting men in black coats, slouch hats, and masks crept through the back door of the Senate Saloon…they surprised the porter and night bartender, ordering them to raise their hands. One robber guarded the swinging door in front, and another watched the back door, while the third rifled the money drawers.”
Turns out robber number three was Sam McMillan’s son… a family of thieves and blackmailers.
~25th Street Confidential, “Ogden Hostesses”
Today the building is known simply as “Grounds” for those in the know, or “the coffee shop” to visitors and passers by. Grounds for Coffee 25th Street has been open for nearly a decade and operated by it’s current owner for the past six years. The shop features a kid’s play area, an upstairs loft and windowsill seating.
Access to Higher Grounds Hot Yoga is through the coffee shop and another small business, The Bake Shop, operates inside as well.
Part of a franchise, Grounds for Coffee 25th Street serves up locally roasted Grounds for Coffee coffee and offers a full espresso and non-espresso menu.
The shop regularly offers “check in specials” through their Facebook page as well as seasonal drink specials and baked goods. In the last 125 odd years we’re sure that the 111 building has countless secrets to hold, maybe it’s time to make some memories of your own. We know these guys sure did!