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Beverly Hills Supper Club files come to NKU

Matt Birkholtz, Matt Birkholtz, and Matt Birkholtz

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It has been 32 years since the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire in Southgate, Ky., but the evidence and paperwork from litigation hearings have found a new home, the Special Collections Archive at Northern Kentucky University’s Steely Library.

Stan Chesley, a Cincinnati lawyer who’ helped’ victim’s families receive settlements for most of the 165 victims donated his papers from the litigation and will be open for the public’s viewing later in the year.

‘I felt it was important piece of archival history and that NKU is an esteemed university,’ Chesley said. ‘The case shows that with the litigations work. There were no burning codes before this and the only studies were on carbon monoxide’

The process of the contents of the case became an idea of Nancy Perry, director of college devolpment, after she watched the documentary ‘The River Bends,’ which displayed the history of Northern Kentucky and Beverly Hills Supper Club fire.

‘I saw what an impact it had on the region and NKU, because they lost an alumni and a faculty member (in the fire),’ Perry said.

She also mentioned about Walter Bailey who was a bus boy at the nightclub on the night of the fire.

‘Walter Bailey is credited for saving 1,500 lives that night,’ Perry said. ‘He did not follow the protocol and got up on stage and yelled, ‘you all need to get out.”

Bailey graduated from NKU in 1983 and currently lives in Flower Mound, Texas.
Chesley’s’ goal for this collection, is to allow students to learn from history.

‘This is a piece of history in Kentucky,’ he said. ‘It is no different than the planes that went into the World Trade Center.’

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Beverly Hills Supper Club files come to NKU