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WEEKLY HIGHLIGHT

Castle Ballroom, St. Louis, Missouri

[photo] Castle BallroomBuilt in 1908 in the Renaissance style, the Castle Ballroom in St. Louis, Missouri was designed as a dance hall and dancing academy. The dance hall was one of the major venues for social dancing and dance instruction in St. Louis prior to the dawn of the Jazz Age. By the 1930s, changing tastes in music and the nature of social dancing had transformed the city’s dancing scene into one that was driven by jazz bands rather than dance orchestras. Demographics had also shifted significantly by 1930 so that the city’s largest African American neighborhood had developed around the Castle Ballroom. For the next two decades the dance hall remained an important venue for African Americans in St. Louis. Although the last dance was held sometime in 1952, the dance hall still retains integrity and awaits restoration.

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