Driving past the long-vacant property formerly known as Molly Murphy's and The Sandpiper, I caught a glimpse of the demolition underway. As the wood siding came off, the original concrete building had the logo "Athena Tone Club" exposed. I'm curious about this business. What was it, and how long was it active?
As far back as I can remember, it'd only housed restaurants. The last block of concrete will come down by the time my email's sent, but maybe we can get one more shot at learning the history of this building before another one takes its place.
— Carrie R., via email.
The best match we found in the Mail Tribune's extensive, albeit not-quite-comprehensive business directory archive was Athena's Health Spa, apparently active in the early 1970s.
Unfortunately, that's close to all we know about the business, so we have no choice but to leave the "Tone Club" as a mystery for now. If other readers have memories of the business, we'll gladly share what we learn in a follow-up.
The business was listed between in Polk directories between 1971 to 1973 as "Athena Health Spa" with a proprietor listed as Dick Costelow. In 1972 and 1973 phone books we found "Athena's Health Spa" in the white pages, though nothing in the yellow pages for the business during those years.
By 1974, the 1841 E. Barnett Road address was listed as vacant. It wasn't until 1977 that Inland Wharf opened at the location, beginning a long string of restaurants at the location. Those restaurants most famously included The Sandpiper in the late '70s and '80s, and concluded with Molly Murphy's in 2008. The building's been vacant ever since.
County property records show the building was built in 1955, and directories show it was home to Awol Grocery until 1969.
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