Florent: A Halloween History Lesson
posted on Oct 21, 2015 // Return To Blog
Florent Restaurant and Lounge, located in Gaslamp San Diego, is known for a lot of things – its eats, its atmosphere, and its incredible wine steals. But this Halloween, Florent is recognizing its roots.
The history of Florent runs thick with plot lines and protagonists (so step aside Hollywood) and let’s pay some homage. The brick and mortar of Florent was constructed in 1874, just a humble two story Florentine-Italianate built to serve as City Hall. In 1887, two more stories were added and occupied by the public library and the San Diego Police Department (pay attention, this is where it gets interesting). With little training, less in reputation, several sheriffs were put in charge of maintaining the bottom level of the building throughout the late 1880s and early 1900s – which served as a make shift holding cell for criminals being tried for murder, treason, theft, and your run of the mill early 1900’s prostitution pimp. Battling political corruption with local gangsters, sheriffs came and went faster than lottery money, leaving the position beckoning for a local hero to take the reigns and turn it legit.
Enter Chief Albert A. Thomas, a Civil War vet with a fearless plan to capture felons and fugitives. Creating a local uprising for the vigilante spirit, Thomas instituted a program in which citizens and officers could collect rewards for capturing San Diego’s Most Wanted. As the villain numbers were dwindling, their disdain for Thomas was growing. Eventually succumbing to the aforementioned political corruption, Thomas was forced to turn in his badge in 1907. Some say that although defeated, a part of Thomas never stopped serving on the force in his mind, right up until his death in 1927. Paying homage, Thomas’ photo can be seen on the ceiling of Florent’s underground private event space overlooking the VIP booths, which still maintain the original steal bars used to encage criminals in the 1900s jail. Tactfully done, Thomas can still fulfill his duties of watching over the cells from where he hangs.
Flash forward to Halloween weekend in 2015 and Sir Thomas, though hanging with dignity, can do nothing about the ghouls and goblins roaming the halls of Florent. That’s right kids, Freakshow part deuce is back, and no sheriff in this town can stop the Florent freaks’ from staying up well passed their bed times. Get your tickets here to partake, and don’t forget to raise a glass to Chief Thomas when you’re downstairs getting your freak on.