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