McDibb’s was fortunate to be a small part of the legacy of Black Mountain. The names from this quiet town have shaped architecture, athletics, technology, education, religion, economics, and has virtually changed the art world as we know it today.
Buckminster Fuller - Agnes de Mille -Albert Einstein –Roberta Flack - Billy Graham – Billy Edd Wheeler -Merce Cunningham – Josef Albers – Roy Williams –– Charles Olson – John Cage – Robert Creeley –Walter Gropius – Franz Kline – Stefan Wolpe - Robert Rauschenberg - Willem de Kooning
McDibbs 1978-1992 was a friendly establishment where dogs & children were as common as world renowned artists/musicians.
Doc Watson - Taj Mahal - Mose Allison - John Hartford- John Hammond – Indigo Girls - David Wilcox - Jessie Winchester – Bella Fleck – Sam Bush - Tim Weisberg - Leon Redbone - Townes Van Zandt - Johnathan Edwards -John Sebastian - Allison Krauss - Jerry Jeff Walker - Vaser Clements
These artists searched out McDibb’s, not only for its smoke free atmosphere, but especially for the good people who were truly the appreciative listening audience.
From the New York Times to the Washington Post, from National Public Radio to Voice of America,“McDibb’s, helped spread the name Black Mountain almost everywhere”.
A Special Thanks
McDibb's legacy would not have happened without the help of the extraordinary musicians, dancers, callers, artists and friends that helped point the direction McDibb’s took for many years.
Tina Liden Jones, Julia Weatherford, Bob Willoughby, Elizabeth AnnWyndelts, Fred Park, Roger McGuire, Jeff Fobes, Barbara Davis, Paul Griffith, Chris Blair, Camp Rockmont, Tony Kiss, Rich Matthews, Ann Jones, Susan Anderson, Andy Andrews, Sefton Abbot, Bob Warren, Hedy Fischer, A.D. Anderson, Patrick Dukes, Cathy Babula, Jack Le Fey, George Schissler, Mark Mueller, Jennings White, Tony Meis, Billy Stevens, Kasey Green, Howard Hanger, Wayne Erbson, Tom Fellenbaum, Bob Falls, and the people at WNCW and WFAE.
The reason McDibb's came to be.
In 1978, Cherry Street in Black Mountain was all but deserted. After the passenger train ended its service in the 1950’s, most of the store fronts were abandoned. At the top of the street, was only Pellem’s Time Shop which still exist today. At the lower end were only three connecting store fronts. A frame shop, owned by the future owner of McDibb's, a small bar called Wonks, and a health food store owned by Liz Donovan who had fled Washington D.C. as Woodard and Bernstein’s chief researcher during the Watergate era.
Wonks Dymaxion Bar was right out of Star Wars but very safe due to its a strict behavior code.
Without notice Wonk’s was sold and overnight it became the Cherry Street Saloon. In came the people Wonk’s had discouraged for years. The Saloon opened at 10 AM and took the Dionysus ideal to an extreme. This made abrupt changes on what was once was a very quiet street. The morning when two motorcycles drove inside the crowded frame shop was the reason McDibb's was conceived.
Within a few days, friends gathered, some money was raised, and an offer was made to the saloon. It was Bill Green, who put his name together with Jim McCormick and David Peele and created the name McDibb's.
So on the evening of Tuesday, October 8th, 1978, McDibb’s was born. Ironically, that same day, Black Mountain voted for Liquor by the Drink. Having one of the largest concentrations of religious retreats in the country, it was no wonder CNN was at McDibb’s door on day one. Black Mountain remains without liquor by the drink.
The clientele that had just been purchased was not intrigued by the radical change in music or the ambience. A couple of weeks into the new McDibb’s, a call was received from Wonk’s owner warning of trouble coming that night. Fifty to seventy five arrogant and hostile people descended on McDibb’s. By standing ground, all the beer was sold and, with the help of the police, they were asked to leave. They left and never came back. The clientele literally changed over night.
The Logo’s Artist
The works of artist Steve Millard were on refrigerators in a dozen states. This logo and his many artistic monthly calendars helped make McDibb’s a house hold name.
Steve Millard Key Wild
Many Interesting Connections to Black Mountain College
The man in the logo is the little known American philosopher & economist Henry George who introduced the “Single Tax” in the late 1800’s. Turns out that some of his biggest supporters were…. some of the biggest names at Black Mountain College.
Agnes de_Mille The great dancer and choreographer best known for the Broadway hit Oklahoma, was the granddaughter of George. According to her, his book Progress_and_Poverty made George the third most famous man in the USA, behind only Mark Twain and Thomas Edison.
Albert Einstein, who was on the board of director at BMC, read his book twice and said “George had discovered a natural law of economics.”
John Dewey said “you can count the philosophers on the fingers of one hand and George would rank among them”. The college was founded on Dewey’s philosophy of education.
Buckminster_Fuller built his first geodesic dome at BMC. He was one of George’s avowed admirers. Wonks Dymaxion Bar, the predecessor of McDibb’s, got its name from Fuller’s Dymaxion Car. (Please see A Few Memorable Performances)
The mouse in the logo was conceived by McDibbs' dear friend Emily Woods, wife of McGuire Woods , who taught architecture at BMC and was best known for his ultra efficient small houses.
A Few Memorable Performances
During McDibb’s infancy, a young Hobey Ford came in one afternoon and asked if he could perform a puppet show. A week later he performed. When the curtains opened, there was an exact replica of the McDibb's logo. In walks the character Quagmire Ankledeep, and asked if he could perform a puppet show. Agreed, he left and returned with another small stage. When those curtains opened, it was an exact replica of the first. The play Déjà vu was literately, extraordinary. Hobey’s amazing works of art have earned him a place on stages across the world. Incidentally, it was Hobey’s grandfather who worked with Bucky Fuller in designing and building the Dymaxion car.
It should be noted that Hobey was the creator of the famous Tambourine that greeted the thousands of good people who entered McDibb's.
The Tambourine (Mr. McDibb) was always THE most treasured item!
Mr. McDibb was lost during the closing in 1992. For the past 20 years his whereabouts remained a mystery. However, the McDibbs' magic must still exist as Mr. McDibb made a surpise appearance on June 10, 2011 during the very first McDibbs' Reunion Series with no other than his creator, Hobey Ford.
Mr. McDibb had been kindly rescued from the old McDibb's in 1992 by a local musician named Konrad who took Mr. McDibb to an old wooden barn-type structure called Roseland Gardens where he was staying at the time. Roseland Gardens had once been a lively African-American juke-joint and roadhouse in Black Mountain from the 1920's until the early 70s when it closed. Konrad had passed away and no one knew he had made the rescue. The tambourine was spotted by Don Talley during a visit to the aging building. Bert Brown contacted Hobey Ford who quickly restored Mr. McDibb to his orginal condition and surprised McDibb's founder, David Peele during this first Reunion Event.
More McDibb's Memories
Taj Mahal seemed like a regular. If you didn't know otherwise, you'd think he was a local. After every performance he always stayed and jammed for hours. Out of the many who took the stage, so many have said he was one of the nicest. Taj Blues / will get you hours of his music.
“Hello good people” was Gamble Rogers’ greeting to the huge crowds that waited to be captivated by his amazing guitar and unprecedented story telling. If there was ever a McDibb's review, it was always about Gamble. He really was… good people!
The First (and only) Annual Black Mountain Kite Festival evolved into a collaboration of the many artists, musicians, dancers and callers and became the Black Mountain Festival from 1984 to 1992. LEAF has taken its place.
When A.D. Anderson and his rock & roll band played at McDibb’s, it was always memorable. Hundreds would fill the house and spill out into the street. It was amazing that so many times with so many people, there was never a problem.
McDibb’s had only one opening act during its history. David Wilcox opened for Livingston Taylor. However, the two continued the performance together for a most unusual and memorable evening.
Poetry Alive! It just happened to be an unusually packed house on a cold Tuesday night. It was their very first performance and the audience feared a poetry reading. That night became so Alive, it bordered on a rock and roll. Today Poetry Alive has more international dates than those scheduled in the US.
Jonathan_Edwards_came in McDibb’s one afternoon with his piano player, complaining his agent had sent him to this “small town hole in the wall” and was even hesitant to stay and perform. He was glad he did. That night was the epitome of the listener and artist feeding on each other. It was so intense he fell to his knees and people cried.