Rock memories: Detroit's Gold Dollar launched White Stripes, now in ruins

Image 1 of 5

Rare video of Detroit's White Stripes as they played one of their first gigs in the Cass Corridor, at a bar called "The Gold Dollar."

It was packed every night with local bands -- but that was the 90s. On Monday night, the Gold Dollar went up in flames.  On Tuesday, boarded up for good.  

"This part with no roof. on it has been down for years," said Dave Fornell, deputy fire commissioner. "The fire stopped right here. You can see on top the fire has been cut off, with no power, no gas. It is suspicious."

Suspicious and that's why the arson unit is investigating. But those who knew the Gold Dollar stopped by on Tuesday.  

"The early days it wasn't bands, it was men who came down dressed like women and they danced, and it was seedy, really seedy," said Bob Ray. "But then the drag queen thing stopped and they brought in Detroit bands."

"I spent four to seven nights there for the whole time it was open," said Dave Buick.

Dave Buick played with Jack White in band - "The Go."

"I have to admit it doesn't look that much different since Neil sold it, it’s a disaster since Neil sold it," he said. "It has been crumbling and neglected."

Buick was referring to former owner Neil Yee who closed the doors for good in 2001, but the Gold Dollar launched The White Stripes.

"They played two shows their first weekend, one was opening up for Rocket 455 and one was opening up for The Henchmen," Buick said. "A lot of fuzzy memories from there. I made a lot of lifelong friends there."

The property has been sold. The new owners are the Ilitches. It's not know what will happen now with the Gold Dollar property, located in Midtown near LCA.

"It's sad that it's finally really gone," Buick said. "But it's legacy will live on."