LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After 150 years, the original Weller and Sons Whiskey headquarters, the last building for sale on historic Whiskey Row, has been sold.
Rick Kueber, the new owner of the building, said he was thrilled to save history — but he also inherited another side that shows just how big Louisville's once thriving underground sex clubs really were.
In the 1970s, the building's basement appears to have had connects to the club LATEX. Kueber found dressing rooms, different artwork saying "LATEX" and other rooms believed to be used for sex.
Near many of the rooms, there was still a lamp post that would shine a red light when the room was in use.
“We did find a keg of beer," Kueber also said.
LATEX was connected with other Whiskey Row buildings by tunnels that were opened up in the 70s. The swingers club participants could move between the different clubs. The tunnels are now filled in. Kueber showed us the remnants.
Kueber, the co-founder of Sun Tan City, just spent $3.2 million to buy the building that was also the place where a young Pappy Van Winkle got his first job at age 18.
He plans on turning it into two restaurants with bars. The building has the only original upper floor porch remaining on historic Whiskey Row.
"People could come out on a nice day like today and have lunch," Kueber said.
He said his love of bourbon history pushed him to buy it, leaving him surprised no other bourbon company grabbed it.
“It really was the last chance to own a piece of the most iconic block in the city,” Kueber said.
As for LATEX, he’s keeping the artwork, and realizes his new prize will be producing a lot to talk about for years to come.
What makes this discovery so interesting is that we now know how big of an operation LATEX really was.
WHAS11 was the first to report on the discovery of the underground sex club eight years ago. This new finding is at 121 East Main Street. In 2012, WHAS11 was underground at 119 East Main where contractors had just discovered another section of LATEX.
WHAS11 also found a real life torture chamber, a table with a chain, a handle and a rack. It was all part of a sadomasochism side to LATEX, along with salacious artwork on the walls.
Where is it today? Most all of it was lost in the great Whiskey Row fire of 2015.