Willowbrook Ballroom
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.
Arcadia Publishing
: 9780738583990
: Arcadia Publishing
: 10/31/2011
: Illinois
: Images of America
: 198 Black And White
: 128
: 6.5 (w) x 9.25 (h)
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About the author
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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