Top

blog

Stories

 

Castle Ballroom: Wind-Damaged and Long Empty, Landmark Faces Demolition (PHOTOS)

Categories: Architecture

See also: Post-Apocalyptic Portraits of the Abandoned Forest Park Hospital [PHOTOS]

ballroom_interior_staircase1.JPG

ballroom_interior_pillar.JPG

ballroom_interior1.JPG

If you have the time, we highly recommend digging into the story of the Castle Ballroom. The story of this dance hall intersects with the larger history of music, dance, Prohibition, racism and urban decline in 20th century St. Louis.

Here's our favorite anecdote from SAG Properties' exhaustively detailed history, which was researched and written by historic preservation consultant Lynn Josse.

The "ragtime" dances (or "animal dances") which swept the nation in the early teens were well documented in St. Louis, although their reception at the Cave Hall is unknown. A reporter accompanied the three detectives of the city's new Morality Squad on patrol one Monday in December 1911, charged to enforce regulations outlawing " 'ragger' and grizzly bear dancing." Expecting to find "much gayety" at the Cave, the detectives "suddenly remembered that the hall did not hold dance sessions on Monday nights." Any further Morality Squad visits to Cave Hall apparently went undocumented.

(If you want to read the rest, skip to page eleven of SAG Properties' application to the National Register of Historic Places.)

Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com

My Voice Nation Help
22 comments
Jesda Ulati
Jesda Ulati

St Louis is, unfortunately, chock full of aging and underutilized structures that have become a blight on the metro area. If the best we can do is replace them, I'm fine with that. Doing so helps to revive dying neighborhoods and increases property values.

Craig Stevens
Craig Stevens

Pathetic that it is being torn down. For all these crappy strip malls and big box stores to survive and true architecture to be torn down is completely the fault of city leaders. There should be protections in place to prevent this. It should never have been let to get to this point. Apathy and money are just toppings on their pizza. Anywhere, USA is what this city will become.

Jarrett Dallas
Jarrett Dallas

Erin the owners of the building did everything they could to save the building but got resistance from the company that insured the building

Erin McMahon
Erin McMahon

What a great venue, such a waste.....we have to be vigilant and proactive to save these buildings

Candy Cederblade
Candy Cederblade

Ashley Douthit Great place for photos... If you could sneak in!

Martin Goebel
Martin Goebel

An eye sore next to my small business... The millions it would take to save would be better spent on something worth saving. I guess StL could use another obscure "museum" that never gets visited

Jim House
Jim House

Where's those historic preservation tax credits when you need them????

Jan Vogelgesang Settles
Jan Vogelgesang Settles

hate to hear this....been there few times....my Mom went all the time because she loved loved to dance!!

MO_AaronD
MO_AaronD

This is a sad end to a historical place of debauchery and good times.  Good thing we have the sanitized PBR Bar and AB themed bars near the stadium to take its place.  Who needs culturally significant places when you can have over marketed neon shit holes.  Plus it used to cater to "coloreds".  And that's a topic in StL that everyone (privately) wants to dodge and demolish all evidence of.

Matthew Ingmire
Matthew Ingmire

It's BS that this beautiful building has to go while the dilapidated/falling down houses along I-70 are still standing. It should be the other way around IMO.

Robert Doyle
Robert Doyle

Across the oceans there are castles and structures that have survived for hundreds, sometimes thousands of years. We, on the other hand, don't care and decide that it's easier to tear down and build bigger, faster and newer buildings. Sure there is the national landmark of historical places and preservation societies but in the grand scheme of things - how much do they really save? Such a shame.

Nancy Maria Landa
Nancy Maria Landa

Everyone gets in an uproar to save a building shaped like a flying saucer but NO ONE speaks up for this once beautiful building with alot of St Louis history??? I don't see the justice here.

Matt Stehman
Matt Stehman

I hate how cities let old buildings die :-(

michael1313
michael1313

Still available for the Castle Ballroom, that's where they are. However a developer doesn't get credits until after the work is done -- they are credits *against* expenditures already made. To make the Castle work, a developer would have to finance renovation before getting credits back. Not impossible at all, even now, but someone needs to step up.

Now Trending

St. Louis Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...