Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Hub Ballroom

Earlier this summer I was reading the Peoria paper on line and I saw an article that the Hub Ballroom had burned to the ground. In it were these pictures which brought back lots and lots of memories for me.

Back in the mid to late 1940's after I had graduated from high school, the "Hub" was the place everyone wanted to go. In a little town east of Chillicothe called Edelstein, Bert Potter built a building for the sale of farm implements. He evidently threw a square dance to celebrate the opening.
It lead to the Hub bec0ming a ballroom in this very small town in Illinois that hosted a band every Saturday night - many of the big bands, some from Chicago and one from Peoria. Benny Goodman and Harry James were examples of the nationally known bands who played there. From Chicago, there was the fellow in the picture below - Lawrence Welk - and Tiny Hill among others that played at the Trianon and Aragon. Freddie Stevens was from Peoria and he had a wonderful band.
Fresh out of high school and right after the end of the war, a group of us girls would go to the Hub and dance with each other or whoever was available. Those were the jitterbug days. Later, when Ray and I started dating, this was our Saturday night destination. Dancing at the Hub was such fun.
I look at these pictures and I think I can see people that I knew back then but it probably is just that I want to see someone familiar. In the top one, the fellow in the white shirt looks just like a classmate of mine. Fond memories!


  1. Carol - how cool is that - my parents off talk about the summer dance pavilions in Sarnia that they would go to - big bands came there too! Just not the same as today's "mosh pits" is it J

  2. I live near Edelstein with my family, and my daughters went to school in Chillicothe. My husband and I went to see bands a few times at the Hub, although they played rock music, not big band - but I loved the place dearly. Not only did it have the largest dance floor, the ladies room was just swanky - no other word! Very art deco, with a long counter and mirror and a place to sit and powder your nose. Elegant! My husband even sat in with a friend's band a couple of times - he plays bass guitar, and they played several New Year's shows there. It was a sad day when it burned for many people...