Trianon Dance Hall

Wabash Valley profiles : a series of tributes to hometown people and events that have shaped our history

Description: One typed page including photograph; brief history of Trianon Dance Hall, one of Terre Haute's premier recreation centers.
ABASH VALLEY WP R O F I L E SA series of tributes to hometown people and events that have shaped our history.Trianon Dance Hallrom 1923 until the early 1940s, the Trianon Ballroom and Dance Hall on east Wabash Ave. was among Terre Haute's premier recreation centers. Built by Lovell E. Waterman and the Deming Amusement Co., the Trianon opened Dec. 20, 1923, hosting an informal benefit dance for the Union Hospital building fund. Terre Haute resident Izzy Friedman, later director of the MGM Orchestra and an accomplished musician-composer, was a member of the Conrad Orchestra engaged for the occasion. The octagon-shaped one-story brick building housed a large ballroom. For summer dancing, a fenced outdoor pavilion, called "Moonlight Gardens," was annexed. The parking lot, illuminated by 25 floodlights, accommodated 1000 automobiles. For much of its life, the Trianon served dinners each evening and was open for dancing on Sunday afternoons and weekday nights from 8:30 p.m. to midnight. Admission was 10 cents per person and five cents for each dance. In the middle of the Depression, the dance price was reduced to one cent. In later years, there was a flat admission charge of 50 cents. Local orchestras headed by Bud Cromwell, Leo Baxter, Jack O'Grady, Cliff Lowe, Warren Henderson, Lowell Tennis, Les Shepard, Jim Riley, Wayne McIntyre and Ada Campbell became identified with the Trianon. Big name bands headed by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Paul Whiteman, Wayne King, Jimmy Dorsey, Horace Heidt, Clyde McCoy, Red Nichols, Kay Kayser, Hal Kemp, Skinnay Ennis, Sammy Kaye, Cab Calloway, Noble Sissle, Herbie Kay, Fred Waring, Bob Crosby, Terre Haute native Claude Thornhill and others made special appearances. Prohibition prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages at the Trianon during the first decade of its existence. Bouncers strictly enforced the ban. Henry L. Ensminger, Homer L. Williams, William L. Schomer and Edward Freije were the dance hall managers. John C. Figg, later a prominent Terre Haute realtor, sold popcorn there for many years. Initially, Arthur C. Byrd, president of Byrd Brothers Bottling Co. (manufacturers of Chero-Cola), managed the concession stand. The Trianon was noted for special promotions: jitterbug contests, dance marathons, amateur nights, look-alike contests and walkathons. As times changed, the dance hall was rented for bingo and keno games. In 1943 it became an ice skating rink for a while. From 1944 to 1948 Simplicity Pattern Co., which maintained headquarters at the current WTHI-TV building on Ohio St., used the building for a branch operation. In 1949, Sims' Terre Haute School of Watchmaking located there. The building was razed in the 1960s when Topps of Terre Haute built a large department store, now occupied by Columbia House.FTERRE HAUTE(812) 238-6000NATIONAL BANKAlways Close to HomeDate published: Nov. 16, 2000Filename: Trianon profile
Origin: 2000-11-15
Created By: McCormick, Mike
Publisher: Terre Haute Tribune-Star
Collection: Vigo County Historical Society
Copyright: Copyright Undetermined
Subjects: Dance
Big bands
Dance halls
Social & civic facilities
Manners & customs

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