Willowbrook Ballroom

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The Willowbrook Ballroom was originally built as an outdoor dance pavilion named Oh Henry Park by Austrian immigrant John Verderbar. Wildly successful, it was enlarged and fully enclosed in 1923, and a 10¢-a-dance policy was implemented. Destroyed by fire in 1930, a determined Verderbar hired a crew of 200 carpenters, and a new facility was built to the tune of a then-staggering $100,000. In 1959, it was renamed the Willowbrook Ballroom, and dancers have since enjoyed the big band sounds of Count Basie, Teddy Lee, Harry James, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. As record crowds flocked to the 6,000-square-foot dance floor, the Willowbrook also became a favorite setting for weddings, proms, and other once-in-a-lifetime events. Today, at the height of its popularity, the Willowbrook is one of only five ballrooms of its magnitude in the United States and the only one remaining in the greater Chicagoland area.
ISBN: 9780738583990
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing
State: Illinois
Series: Images of America
Images: 198
Pages: 128
Dimensions: 6.5 (w) x 9.25 (h)
Bonnie Classen is a freelance writer and occasional host/promoter of the popular singles dances at the Willowbrook. She utilizes vintage photographs from the family of original owners, among other collections, to tell the story of this south suburban landmark and its surroundings.
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