So What Was Their Big Sin? The Sinners Club: Battle Creek, Michigan
IT'S TRUE...There is a Sinners Club in Battle Creek.
The roster was entirely made up of sinners. Well, they were given that label by someone you are all familiar with...you'll find out who it a bit. But what kind of sin did these people have to commit to be labeled a 'sinner' or to become a member of this club? Did they break one of the Ten Commandments? No, they did not. In fact, what they did is not what we would even consider a sin.
The first members of this 'club' were patients of the Battle Creek Sanitarium Hospital. One of the rules of the sanitarium was no coffee or cigarettes. When the caffeine or nicotine urge hit, some of these patients sneaked out of the sanitarium and strolled across the street to the Battle Creek Fire House Number 2. It was there they could enjoy a cuppa and a ciggie without being hassled or reprimanded.....well, almost.
On one of the occasions when the little group were at the fire house enjoying their vices, who should happen to walk by but sanitarium administrator Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. As he passed by he muttered under his breath in disgust, “(Hmph)...Sinners Row”. But unbeknownst to him, he didn't mutter softly enough and was overheard by the smokers and coffee drinkers. Not long afterward, a sign was attached to the fire house that read “Sinners Row” and from that, the “Sinners Club” was born (It is also claimed that Kellogg actually said “You're just a lot of sinners, that's what you are!!!”).
A 1943 article in the Battle Creek Enquirer says the “Sinners Club” began in 1942, a good number of years after “Sinners Row” was already in place. The club now included firemen and men from all walks of life; the notoriety had spread throughout the country.
John H. Kellogg passed away in December 1943.
The fire house / Sinners Club still stands at the corner of Washington Avenue and Manchester Street. The original fire house that stood on that site ironically burned down in 1902 and this new one was constructed and dedicated by 1903. The sanitarium is long gone.
To hear much more about this unique 'club', take a look at the video!
The Sinners Club: Battle Creek
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