Editor's Note: This is the 301st in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON - For more than a decade, the Calamity Cafe was a favorite with Marshall University students, faculty and other loyal customers who looked on it as more than just another eatery.
Located on the corner of 3rd Avenue and Hal Greer Boulevard, just a stone's throw from the MU campus, the colorful cafe not only served up tasty Southwestern-flavored food, it also provided an outlet for local musicians, artists and poets to showcase their talents.
Over the years, the Calamity hosted all manner of happenings - birthday parties, weddings, baby showers, coming-home and going-away parties and even funeral wakes.
The freewheeling open mic nights at the cafe quickly became the stuff of local legend.
Operated by the husband and wife team of Terre Thomas and Roy Clark, the cafe opened in 1992 and closed in 2005 - a victim of the Cabell County smoking ban.
Enacted in 2004, the ban prohibits smoking in all places except for bingo halls and free-standing bars. It defines bars as establishments where more than 80 percent of sales come from alcohol. That spelled trouble for establishments such as the Calamity that were restaurants by day and bars by night.
Calamity's business immediately declined by 30% after the ban was passed, Thomas said.
"As soon as the ban was passed, I knew it was going to be the straw that broke the camel's back. We just couldn't recover from it after it went into effect," she said.
In the years since the curtain rang down on the Calamity, its iconic building has seen other restaurants come and go.