Belmont Billiards: The history of a Dayton pool hall since 1925

The iconic bar on Watervliet Avenue in Dayton comes with nearly 100 years of history. Here are some things to know:

The early days

Bruce Goodman, a longtime owner of Belmont Billiards, previously told this news outlet that the bar started in 1925 as a tobacco and candy shop in what was then Van Buren Township.

He said the shop became a local hangout for men and they had eventually persuaded the owner to add a pool table, and it grew from there. Liquor was added soon after prohibition was lifted in 1933.

Ownership

Belmont Billiards was started by Pete Smith in 1925. According to his 1972 obituary, before starting the bar, Smith was one of the pioneer engineers at Frigidaire and was instrumental in setting up the Engineering Department at Moraine. He then went on to work for Crosley Radio in Cincinnati and then Gibson Ice Box in Michigan, where he helped in the development of the first electric refrigerator.

After Smith, the pool hall stayed in the family for two generations, with Smith’s son Dwight Knupp taking over in 1943 before handing it off to his son Robert Knupp in 1970. Owners after that included Gerald “Gary” Goodman who bought it in 1998, and his brother Bruce “The Moose” Goodman took over in 1998 after Gerald’s death. Recently, Jacqui Creepingbear and Isaac DeLamatre purchased the business.

A dog named Eight Ball

During the 1970′s a black and white pup wandered into the bar and never left. A regular pool player at he bar eventually adopted him, but the dog named Eight Ball remained a frequent visitors for years.

Not just for men

Belmont Billiards was a men’s only club from 1925 until 1979 due to only having one restroom. That changed after a remodel done by Robert Knupp. Soon after, newspaper advertisements described it as having a “warm, friendly atmosphere for men and women to enjoy an evening of billiards along with ample cocktails and delicious food ... It’s cheaper than a movie.”

Legends of the game

Over the years, legends like Minnesota Fats, “Fast Eddie” Parker, Luther Lassiter and Willie Mosconi have put on shows there.

What does the outlook for the future look like?

Jacqui Creepingbear and Isaac DeLamatre, a couple with extensive experience working in area bars and restaurants, are ready to rebrand and relaunch Belmont Billiards. They envision the venue as a welcoming and inclusive bar with a regional billiards environment.

The couple plans to renovate the pool hall and bar, reopen the kitchen and expand food offerings, create a lounge and introduce live music/DJ nights, sponsor a home billiards team, and offer tournaments.

About the Authors