Wimpy’s Norfolk Years: America’s Greatest Pool Town?

Wimpy’s Norfolk Years: America’s Greatest Pool Town?

Norfolk during World War II was a mecca for big-time pool. Greatest pool town ever? Johnston City you say. New York during the 1960s? Ladies and gentlemen I present for your consideration Norfolk, Virginia. During World War II the Navy town was a wonderland of gambling, top-notch pool hustling and just general pandemonium. It also was in Norfolk that Wimpy Lassiter, arguably...
Wimpy Lassiter’s World War II Coast Guard records

Wimpy Lassiter’s World War II Coast Guard records

Pool legend Wimpy Lassiter spent most of his World War II days on one of three Coast Guard cutters operating from Norfolk, Virginia. By then the Navy had subsumed the Coast Guard for the war effort and Lassiter’s cutters — designated CG 83511, CG 74307, CG 74306 respectively — were charged with rescuing men from the ocean after German u-boat attacks. By all accounts Lassiter made for a...
Don “Cincinnati Kid” Willis and the Big Hoorah Hustle

Don “Cincinnati Kid” Willis and the Big Hoorah Hustle

The two out-of-towners are relatively short men, in their thirties, the unfortunate age when the paunch begins to show. Neither carries a pool cue. They’ve appeared unannounced and unexpected in a back-water pool room, which they immediately size up.  Who in here has some gamble to them?  They get a table. They rack for nine-ball. They start shooting. “Remember...
St. Elmo Pool Room: Favorite Haunt of Wimpy Lassiter

St. Elmo Pool Room: Favorite Haunt of Wimpy Lassiter

This photo of the St. Elmo pool hall in Norfolk, Virginia. It was the favorite haunt of the world famous Wimpy Lassiter and also was featured in the book, Hustler Days, which is available from online retailers. It was taken by photographer Harry C. Mann and is available under common licensing from the Library of Virginia. You also can learn more about the pool hall and Lassiter in the book,...