1.31.2012

THE PURPLE GANG: GRACELAND BALLROOM


The Graceland Ballroom Lupton, Michigan

The Graceland Ball room in Lupton Michigan was a favorite place for the Purple Gang. The building was built in the late 1920's until it burnt down in the early 1980s. Floyd Pastula was the owner at the time that it burnt.

When you walked in the building there were bullet holes all through the timbers, and they had mannequins dressed in the corner as the purple gang.

Although the Graceland building burned in the early 1980s, many Ogemaw County, Michigan residents will recall its striking rustic design.


The original owner, Mike Gelfand, aka One-arm-Mike, a former member of Detroit's infamous Purple Gang, and many stories came from this connection, a few of them true.

Mike purchased the property for one dollar from his sister who had inherited it from an uncle's estate. No one knows where the money to build the ballroom came from - speculation is the Purple Gang. Graceland burned from a fire.


A mix of prohibition and an economic boom from the automotive industry in Detroit during the 1920s caused the uprising of the notorious Purple Gang.

In Detroit the 1920s were a time of excess. Although prohibition was in affect, Detroit's gangsters imported alcohol from near-by Windsor. Proceeds from this industry went to various developments, but none were more impressive than the building of the South Branch Ranch and the Graceland Ballroom.

Not far from the south branch of Au Sable river in northern Michigan, the gang built one of the largest ranches in Michigan history. The various barns surrounding the primary residence resembled modern day airplane hangars. They included an indoor horse riding area, dance parlor, interlinking tunnels, and hidden rooms.

Info I found in a forum....

Kenyons Hideout: I grew up next to the Graceland Ballroom, Home of the Purple Gang, I knew Floyd Pastula very well. He owned Graceland at the time. I know that Al Capone was there on many occasions, recalled by Floyd himself... Both Al Capone and The Purple Gang used to frequent a place called Kenyon's on sage lake where there is still a old mob house that was owned by the Purple Gang! It recently sold a few years ago... This is a 784 acre lake riddled with Tunnels too... Kenyon's still exists, but the Graceland burned down years ago, shortly after Floyd Died as well...

Ed Rychcik: I am Floyd Pastula's nephew. I had all the amusement games,pinball, pool tables, hockey table, and different games in it when it burned down. I was there early the next morning. The fires were still simmering. I recovered about $600 in quarters. All the quarters are fused and many are melted together.

Graceland is mentioned in the Kenyon's Hideout video


No comments: