Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire

Historical Marker #2237 in Southgate, Kentucky, remembers those who perished in the Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire of 1977.

During the 1930s, northern Kentucky was a hot spot for illegal gambling. As one of the classier locations in the area, the Beverly Hills Supper Club saw hundreds of thousands of dollars gambled each night. In the 1940s and 1950s, the club was one of the most popular in the region, attracting celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Steve Lawrence. Into the late 1950s, the establishment saw a decline in patrons and was forced to close its doors on New Year's Eve in 1961. Richard Schilling bought the property a decade later and lavishly refurbished the building, spending more than $3 million in renovations. The Beverly Hills Supper Club reopened in 1971. While it lacked a casino, the club became a popular place to host proms, weddings, and celebrate anniversaries.

The club's opulent allure proved deadly in the early morning hours of May 28, 1977, when the building caught fire at approximately 3:00 a.m. One hundred and sixty-five people perished in the blaze. After an investigative team reviewed the evidence, a Campbell County Grand Jury ruled out the possibility that the fire was set intentionally. Faulty aluminum wiring was eventually cited as the culprit, causing a nationwide movement to improve fire codes. The families of the victims collectively received $30 million in the first mass tort in U.S. history. The Beverly Hills Supper Club fire was a tragedy that shook the community, resulting in a new standard in fire safety implemented across the country.