Eddie’s Place was the considered the Highwaymen hangout in the 1960s and 70s.
Eddie's was known as a" juke joint." It combined a bar, package store, pool tables, and a requisite jukebox. Eddie's (also called Eddie's Drive-in) was on Avenue D, the main drag that runs through a black neighborhood in Ft. Pierce, Florida.
The Highwaymen artists routinely met up at the bar at the end of the day to settle up the day's sales, drink a beers, and shoot a few games of pool.
The bar's importance in Highwaymen lore is acknowledged in Harold Newton's painting "Eddie's Place". It's owned by collector Tim Jacobs and is considered one of the most valuable Highwaymen paintings because of Eddie's significance in the Highwaymen story.
Eddie's is where the Highwaymen leader Alfred Hair was shot and killed on August 9, 1970. Alfred was gunned down by a man named Julius Funderburk.
Julius was a fruit picker and was known by Alfred and other artists like Livingston "Castro" Roberts.
Alfred had been having an affair with Julius' girlfriend and there was tension in the bar. To make matters worse, Livingston was provoking Julius, teasing him about Alfred "taking his woman."
Witnesses say Julius became increasingly angry with Livingston's taunts. Julius stormed outside to his car, grabbed his gun and came back inside. An enraged Julius first knocked Livingston's beer over and pistol whipped him off his bar stool.
"He walked up an hit me. I thought he done hit me with a ring and I look up at the barrel of a gun," said Livingston.
Livingston made a bee line for the door and Julius set his sights on Alfred.
Alfred had just plunked some coins in the jukebox and the song “War” by Edwin Star was blaring in the bar. As the song's chorus sang, “War! Huh! Good God Y’all! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!" Funderburk shot Alfred two times as he was running for the door.
Alfred mananged to stumble to the parking lot and was helped into his Lincoln Continental. He died while in route to the hospital.
Within an hour word had spread throughout Ft. Pierce that Alfred had died. Hundreds gathered at the hospital's ER and parking lot.
Alfred's magentic charm and can-do attitude had inspired many and the artist's death was considered a great loss.
Eddie's Place was torn down in the 1980s but it lives on in Highwaymen art. A number of Highwaymen have painted their own versions of Eddie's Place, but Newton's remains the gold standard.
It differs from most Newton and Highwaymen paintings because it's not a landscape. It also has people in it milling around the front of the bar.
People are uncommon elements in most Highwamen paintings and the works that contain people tend to have higher values. Newton also captures a pending summer storm with the gathering grey clouds and the wind in the cabbage palms.