Throw Back Tuesday: Casa Loma Ballroom

The first ballroom built at 3343 Iowa Ave was known as the Cinderella Ballroom and opened in 1927. Retail shops and a bowling alley occupied the first floor, while upstairs, with its lofty ceiling, huge maple tongue-in-groove dance floor, and wraparound balcony was the ballroom. After several failed owners, the ballroom reopened on Sept. 7, 1935 by new owners, Art Kawell and H.J. (Nap) Burian, who renamed the space as the Casa Loma Ballroom.

On January 19, 1940, a fire started in one of the stores beneath the ballroom. A crowd gathered to watch the building burn.

Rebuilt within a few months, St. Louis had it's largest ballroom to-date which reopened in November 1940.

A list of some of the entertainers to walk across the ballroom's stage include Frank Sinatra, Steve Allen, Count Basie, Tony Bennett, Bill Haley and the Comets, Bing Crosby, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Rita Hayworth, Mickey Rooney, Tom and Dick Smothers, Lawrence Welk, and Andy Williams.

Parma Pizza snack bar at the Casa Loma ballroom, circa 1955.

Since 1990, Pat and Roseann Brannon have owned and run the Casa Loma.

Sources:

Riverfront Times, https://www.riverfronttimes.com/stlouis/dancing-fools/Content?oid=2463920

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, www.stltoday.com/suburban-journals/this-week-in-south-side-history-ballroom-recalls-an-earlier/article_3a1f7134-cd61-5952-bdc2-383aa05ef8ee.html

STLmusicofyesterdays, hwww.stlmusicyesterdays.com/Casa%20Loma.htm

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Benton Park West Neighborhood Association (BPWNA) was incorporated in 1998 with the state of Missouri and the IRS to be a 501(c)3 organization. © 2014 by Benton Park West Neighborhood Association. All rights reserved. Webmaster at info@bentonparkwest.org.

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