A gem hidden in the shadows of dingy
downtown San Jose.
Built in 1873 in the Italinate Victorian
style (commercial), with suggestions of the Italian Renaissance
Palace period (note triangular pediments above windows), it was
configured within as a Saloon & Bawdy House. No record exists
of the goings on between 1873 and 1880, but a shoemaker by the
name of Eugene Votzenlogel was soon to scrawl his name onto the
pages of San Jose history.
The San Jose directory of 1881/1882
lists Eugene Votzenlogel as proprietor of the Orpheus Saloon
at the NE Corner of El Dorado & Lightston,
and Mrs. E. Voltzenlogel is listed as owner of "Baths"
on Lightston between Santa Clara and El Dorado - a separate building
from the saloon.
Leo Sullivan recollects from his
childhood days (circa 1895),
"This saloon featured a window
with many live canaries. It stood on the corner of Lightstone
Alley. In the center of the window, a dead tree served as perch
and roost for birds."
The saloon was popularly referred
to as "The Bird Saloon."
Time-line of Ownership:
1873 - 1880 Unknown.
1880 - 1905 Eugene
Votzenlogel. "Orpheus Saloon," later referred
"The Bird Saloon," and still later as "Eugene
Votzenlogel's Saloon and Bath House."
1905 - 1913 P.H.
Sullivan. "P.H. Sullivans Saloon."
1913 - 1916 A.C.
Bassie. "A.C. Bassie's Saloon"
1916 - 1945 William
Henry Fenerin. "Billy
("Billy the Barber" between 1920-1933. [Speakeasy &
The building would remain in the
Fenerin family until 1991 when it was bought by Joel Wyrick and
Judy Pearson. Business's cycled as follows:
1945 - 1955 Louis
Albertini. "Billy Finley's Saloon"
1955 - 1990 Dennis
Hooker. "Ace Loan Company"
1990 - 1997 Vacant
1997 - Pres. Joel
Wyrick & Judy Pearson.
"WAVES Smokehouse and Saloon"*
Joel and Judy have restored this
building magnificently. It now evokes a bygone era, and is as
close to El Dorado St. as you are going to get in this vale of
tears - and the food is superb.
(I can hear my friends guffawing as I present myself as a connoisseur
of fine food.)
The first incarnation of WAVES was
located at 50 University Avenue in
Old Town Los Gatos (1990 - 1997).
WAVES is an acronym for Willy Alex Viva's Exceptional Saloon.