Heritage, 2010, Volume 4 Page: 17
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Throughout the 1950s and the 1960s, the glory days of
Texas dance halls began to wane. Many of the halls were
replaced as the focal point for family and musical entertain-
ment by sports stadiums, urban civic centers, and television.
Further, as succeeding generations migrated more and more
to cities, rural communities often could not afford the up-
keep of the buildings, and halls fell into disrepair or were
completely abandoned. Today, there are at least 400 halls
still in existence, but only about 120 of these historic places
hold public dances. According to Patrick Sparks, president
of Texas Dance Hall Preservation and a structural engineer,
a majority of halls originally established by the community,
a benevolent organization, or an association have remained
under ownership by their respective organizations. How-
ever, very few events are held at these locations. He adds
that some halls are privately owned and operated as for-
profit businesses. Luckenbach, Gruene, and Schroeder are
examples of the few commercially successful halls operating
as music and dance venues.
By some estimates, at the height of their popularity in the
1920s and 1930s, there were more than 1,000 dance halls
scattered throughout the state. TDHP co-founder, Steve
Dean is currently working on a book on dance hall history
and has been able to document the existence of more than
500 of these historic places. (A listing of the halls is avail-
able on the TDHP website, www.texasdancehall.org, and
visitors are encouraged to add to the list if they know of a
venue that has not been catalogued by the organization.)
A large number of the historic halls in the TDHP database
are categorized as "gone," and too many more are at risk of
HERITAGE Volume 4 2010
of TxasDane Hll Preservation.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, 2010, Volume 4, periodical, 2010; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth254219/m1/17/: accessed May 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.