Frank Hardy Made My Photographs Two

Liberace Arriving in Pensacola …

with 19 comments

This is Liberace arriving in Pensacola back in the 1960’s.  He used to come to Pensacola to buy antiques from several dealers in the area.  One of them was my father’s friend, Ada Wilson, who would always tell my dad when Liberace was coming to town so that he could take some photos of him.  I will share a story  that my father shared with Liberace about seeing him in Chicago in the late 1930’s when I have more time.  Thanks for looking …

Written by Frank Hardy

August 14, 2011 at 11:16 am

19 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Hello,

    I just ran across this and found it to be very interesting. My parents (Jim and Eula Drexler) purchased Ada Wilson’s house of Lakeview Avenue in the late 50’s. We owned the home until the late 80’s. There were many stories about Mrs. Wilson and the items she sold to Liberace. The most interesting one was the time he purchased the pipe organ from the home. In order to move it, part of the wall had to be removed to get it out of the house.

    Yes, he also performed in Pensacola in the 60’s. My father served as a Councilman for the City of Pensacola. I can still remember being escorted to the Bayfront Auditorium for the concert with my grandmother. We had front row seats and were able to go backstage after the show to meet him. He autographed the program, which I still have.

    Mr. Hardy, I also remember you. You took many pictures of our family throughout the years – family, graduations and weddings. Your shop on 12th Avenue will also be a memory for me. If you or anyone else has any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. I can be reached through email at jayneearle@yahoo.com

    Jayne Drexler Lee Earle
    Feb. 8, 2014

    Like

    jayneearle

    February 8, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    • Thank you for the kind words and the information about Mrs. Wilson is interesting, but please do not forget, I am the son … my father passed away back in 2008. He was 92 when he died and his health was failing the last year or so of his life. I never knew that Mrs. Wilson lived on Lakeview. I just remembered her house that was down on Gregory Street across from Fact-O-Bake automobile body shop ( where the Civic Center or whatever they call it is located now ). I was only around 10 or 12 back then. Thanks for writing … I wish I knew more about Mrs. Wilson. I have some news clippings somewhere that my father had saved about her that I will have to find. Please check back and thanks again for writing … Frank

      Like

      Frank Hardy

      February 8, 2014 at 8:00 pm

      • Like Frank, I only knew of Ada Birch Wilson living on Gregory St. Her house was very crowded with antiques. I met her when I was about 12 years old when we attended the Hammond Organ Society meetings at Reynolds Music House. She was in her 90’s as I recall. She could play the difficult song “Nola” even though she had bad arthritis in her fingers. She also told me she had met Geronimo as a child when he was at Fort Pickens. She remembered him squeezing her hand so hard when she shook it that it hurt her. That is where the postcard painting came from.
        John Ellis

        Like

        John Ellis

        April 4, 2015 at 3:46 pm

      • John … My email is frankphardy@gmail.com . Send me an email and I will send you a photo that I have of a Geronimo painting that she did. That must have been a major experience for her since she painted Geronimo several times and all with different looks. Thanks for commenting … Frank

        Like

        Frank Hardy

        April 5, 2015 at 9:50 am

  2. On one of his visits, one of my mother’s third grade students got his autograph on the back of her father’s business card in an antique store and gave it to my mom. I still have the card. On that visit, my father, who was losing his hearing did not hear Liberace’s escort and drove out into an intersection and almost hit his limo.

    Like

    Donovan Baldwin

    January 12, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    • I cannot remember the name of the antique store, but I believe I know who you are speaking of. He also went to Ada Wilson’s and bought antiques from her and that is how my father knew him. In his autobiography, he mentions the name of the antique store that he would visit when he came to Pensacola. He never mentions Mrs. Wilson, but I believe that the candle chandelier ( I not sure what you call it ) that he had on his piano in the 1960’s was bought from her. Thanks for the comments and please check back … Frank

      Like

      Frank Hardy

      January 12, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      • My aunt is nearly 91.. Ada Wilson was her aunt. My aunt has memories of Aunt Ada that I’m sure she would be willing to share. Contact me and I can connect you to her.

        Like

        Sheila White Moore

        February 17, 2013 at 11:16 am

      • I have some newspaper clippings and a few photos she can have if she wants them. You can email me at: frankphardy@gmail.com or you can tell her to get in touch with me. I did not know any of her family except Julia and I was only 10, 11 or 12 at the time. Thanks for the comment and let me hear back from you … Frank

        Like

        Frank Hardy

        February 18, 2013 at 11:05 am

  3. Ada Wilson painted a portrait of me when I was 14 which I have. She was a friend of my aunts. We visited her in her home often. She lived with her daughter. She seems to have been forgotten. I am interested in learning more about her history if you can help. Your Dad took the photos for the portrait. Thank, Janna

    Like

    Janna Blanton

    October 14, 2012 at 9:03 am

    • Janna … I do not know a whole lot about Ada Wilson myself. I remember her and her daughter, Julia, very well, but as far as their background goes, I do not know a whole lot. I remember seeing a newspaper clipping that my father had describing her history or past somewhere in all of this stuff that I have. I will look around and see if I can find the clipping and post it sometime in the future. I am sorry that I am not more help, but I know at the Historical Society in downtown Pensacola in the old Beacon Building that would have a file on her and if you are local, it would be worth taking a trip downtown and visiting them. If you are not local, call them and see what they could tell you. They are very nice and helpful, Jackie is the lady that I talk to when I go down and visit. They have a lot of interesting information and you could spend a whole afternoon looking at all that they have. Keep in touch and thanks for looking and the comment … Frank

      Like

      Frank Hardy

      October 16, 2012 at 8:34 am

  4. My father, Ben White, owned White’s Furniture during the 50’s and 60’s and brought Liberace to Pensacola in 1959 for a series of concerts at the municipal auditorium.The concerts were part of a marketing promotion for the furniture store. He was in town for a few days and performed over the weekend.I remember when Liberace arrived in town he met with my father and then our family had lunch with him at the restaurant next door to the store on mobile highway. Liberace said it was the first time he had been hired by a furniture store owner. We attended the concerts and I remember my father dressed in his tuxedo introducing Liberace at the concerts. He was a wonderful entertainer and for years after the concerts he would continue to send Christmas cards and when he would release a new record he would send an autographed copy to my father.

    Like

    Douglas White

    August 21, 2012 at 8:24 am

    • Thanks for that Douglas, that is interesting. I have a photo of Liberace getting off of the plane with a very attractive lady … I ca not remember if I had posted that one. And I also have another of Liberace’s male friends getting on the plane and this guy looks very familiar. I will have to go back see what I have posted…it is getting hard to remember and I try to to repeat myself. I have really enjoyed reading all the comments that everyone has written and it opened my eyes to a lot of the goings on in Pensacola back in the 50’s and 60’s. Thanks again for writing … Frank

      Like

      Frank Hardy

      August 21, 2012 at 3:19 pm

  5. Liberace did come to Pensacola for a concert at the Bayfront Auditorium (I attended; it was spectacular!) probably in 1960 or 1961.

    Like

    Linda Longsworth

    August 19, 2012 at 11:59 am

    • Linda … Thanks, I did not know if he ever played here or if he just came to visit to purchase antiques. My father had an interesting about seeing him in Chicago back in the late 30’s and I cannot remember if I posted it in the blog … I need to go back and re-read some of these posts to refresh my memory. One more thing, are you any kin to Joe? I have not run across him in years now and am wondering if he is OK? He is another one of my buddies from Workman Junior High School and he has always been a good friend. Thanks, and let me hear back from you … Frank

      Like

      Frank Hardy

      August 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    • Linda … Thanks, I did not know if he ever played here or if he just came to visit to purchase antiques. My father had an interesting about seeing him in Chicago back in the late 30’s and I cannot remember if I posted it in the blog … I need to go back and re-read some of these posts to refresh my memory. One more thing, are you any kin to Joe? I have not run across him in years now and am wondering if he is OK? He is another one of my buddies from Workman Junior High School and he has always been a good friend. Thanks, and let me hear back from you … Frank

      Like

      Frank Hardy

      August 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm

  6. Frank – I just found this site and love it. Nana Bonifay Kell (Earl’s sister) has been on one of those antique shopping trips with Liberace when he came to town. She had a little signed photo of Liberace in her living room.

    Like

    Roxanne S. Bonifay

    January 28, 2012 at 10:20 am

    • Roxanne – I would like to see it sometime, if you can get a hold of it. My dad made a few photos of Liberace when he would come to Pensacola and buy antiques from Mrs Ada Wilson and I only seen several of them and I know that there are others out there. Let me hear from you and thanks for commenting … Frank

      Like

      FrankHardy

      January 28, 2012 at 2:27 pm

      • Mr Hardy,
        I have an oil painting (oval) painted by Ada Wilson of Liberace.Would that have any value? Would like to sell.
        Know any Liberace fans. Did Ada Wilson do Indian cards? Dennis Lockett Gulf Breeze

        Like

        Dennis Lockett

        May 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm

      • Dennis – Thanks for the comment. First question, the value of an Ada Wilson painting of Liberace … my guess is that to a collector of Liberace art, it would be, but trying to find them would be the challenge. I have several oil paintings that Ada Wilson gave my father and I doubt that they are worth much. I would be interesting in seeing the painting and I would even take a photo of it for you to use to locate a buyer. As far as the Indian cards go, I have several photos of a painting that she had made of Geronimo that she could have made cards of, but personally I have never seen any cards. Call me sometime and I will drive over to Gulf Breeze and take a photo of the painting and give you a file so you could shop it around. Thanks for asking and keep in touch …

        Like

        Frank Hardy

        May 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm


Please Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: