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  • Authentic Texas

Texas' Historic Dance Halls

Updated: 3 days ago


The Authentic Texas team has assembled a short, eclectic list of dance halls across the state. While we didn’t have nearly enough room for all our favorites, we tried to pick representatives of different regions and styles. Now, get out there and dance, y’all!

INDEPENDENCE TRAIL REGION

Bellville Turnverein

966 E Main St.

Bellville, TX 77418

German carpenter Joachim Hintz designed dance halls with eight or 12 sides and a central pole, and this example, which Hintz built in 1897, could accommodate 400 for dances. It was recently featured on the YETI Texas Dance Hall Trail, and locals have formed a nonprofit organization to restore this Texas Recorded Historic Landmark to its full, original glory.

PLAINS TRAIL REGION

The Stampede

1610 E. Hwy. 350

Big Spring, TX 79720

“The Stampede is not a fancy place,” says fiddler Jody Nix, son of the musician who put this 1954 dance hall on the map — Hoyle Nix, along with his band, the West Texas Cowboys. “It was built to dance in. It wasn’t built for looks.” Bob Wills was a longtime headliner, too, along with many other fixtures of West Texas music.

LAKES TRAIL REGION

Sons of Hermann Hall

3414 Elm St, Dallas, TX 75226

While Dallas’s Sons of Hermann Hall, in Deep Ellum, was built in 1911 by a German fraternal order that provided communal insurance benefits, these days the Recorded Texas Landmark building is still home to a wide range of music for both performance and participation. There’s Swing Dance on Wednesday nights, the Electric Campfire acoustic jam on Thursdays, and live acts ranging from Americana to edgy throughout the year.

TROPICAL TRAIL REGION

1880 Garten Verein

2704 Avenue O

Galveston, TX 77550

“In February 1876, a group of German businessmen organized the Galveston Garten Verein (“garden club”) as a social club for family and friends,” according to the Galveston Historical Foundation. “Only Germans or German speakers could hold stock in the club, but others could petition for membership.” Though the fancy dancing pavilion by the Strand was damaged during the 1900 hurricane, it was restored and today GHF rents the city-owned property as an event site.

FORTS TRAIL REGION

Pioneer Hall

2301 Ave. G

Anson, TX 79501

Inspired by a Victorian-era ballad, the Cowboys’ Christmas Ball — faithfully reenacted in Anson beginning in 1934 — has been held annually in this purpose-built, family-friendly hall since 1940. Tickets to the holiday events go on sale in April (yes, April). But these days, as Abilene’s KTAB News reports, there’s about to be even more dancin’ in Anson, with monthly dances added to the lineup year-round.

BRAZOS TRAIL REGION

Melody Ranch

2315 N Robinson Dr.

Waco, TX 76706

A fixture located just off Waco’s traffic circle since 1972, the Melody Ranch nightclub hasn’t quite aged sufficiently to qualify as historic, strictly speaking. But in its heyday its stage welcomed performers like Willie Nelson, George Strait, Merle Haggard, Garth Brooks, Alabama, and more, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald. While it operated at the outset as the Cotton Club and later for a time as El Rancho, in recent years it’s been revived under its original name. Johnny Lyon, who owned the club at the height of its fame, passed away in December 2017, but the institution is still going strong — to the tune of 1,350 capacity nightly.

HILL COUNTRY TRAIL REGION

Gruene Dance Hall

1281 Gruene Rd.

New Braunfels, TX 78130

The granddaddy of them all and the “oldest continually run dance hall in Texas,” Gruene Hall (rhymes with “GREEN, y’all”) features live music seven nights a week — some dances, some concerts. In 1878 Henry Gruene constructed the 6,000-foot dance hall and advertised “Den feinsten Schnaps, das beste Bier, bekommt man bei dem Heinrich hier” (“The best liquor, the best beer, you get at Henry’s here”). The town that Henry built around it nearly met its demise in the 1970s, but concerned citizens preserved it and transformed it into a destination for travelers and top acts seeking the authentic Hill Country experience.

#DanceHalls #Entertainment #Family #HillCountryTrail #IndependenceTrail #MountainTrail #BrazosTrail #TropicalTrail #FortsTrail #PlainsTrail #LakesTrail

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