'The Front' in Lufkin is Gone - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

02/06/07 - Lufkin

'The Front' in Lufkin is Gone

by Ramonica R. Jones

If it looks like something's missing on the corner of Keltys and Wilson streets in Lufkin, that's because the Frontier club has been demolished. Also known as the 'front' to North Lufkin residents, the area used to be a thriving black business community that was a sign of power and pride.

William B. Coleman said, "The businesses that was up on the front used to be some nice businesses up there. They had barber shops, they had different eating places, they had various different businesses that was up there."

Whether it was gambling, a good hair cut, or a hot meal - you could get it on the front during the 1950 and '60s. In the '80s, the Frontier club came along, but neighbors said bad elements in the neighborhood ruined it. The club shut down several years ago and had been vacant ever since.

"These little hoodlums and thugs started roaming in that area," said Coleman. "And then they built it too close to a church - you can't build a nightclub close to a church and expect for good things to happen, it just won't work."

But Lufkinites still have fond memories of one of the only hot spots blacks had back in the day.

Samuel Gilmore said, "It was no where else to go but the front."

The businesses are gone now and so are the entrepreneurs who brought them to that part of town, but the people who live in that area hope it's a way of making room for more good things to come for North Lufkin.

First Assembly of God in Lufkin owned the abandoned building that housed the Frontier club. The church's future plans for the site are unknown.

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