History

From Big Band dances of the 30’s to elegant weddings of today, the Columbia Ballroom has been creating romantic memories for nearly 90 years. Now a third generation family-run business nearing its 90th year, it first opened its doors in 1931 for Ballroom Dancing.

Once a bank barn that housed wool and animals, the structure was moved in 1929 by a single horse and transported on wooden rollers across a cornfield to its present location. The barn was given to Paul Goodman from his grandmother Phila Goodman, so he could fulfill his dream to transform it into a dance hall.

The barn was lowered onto a foundation of sandstone blocks, which had been quarried locally. The dance floor was laid and two years later the Columbia Ballroom was ready for business. Opening night was on December 29, 1931 and admission was 35¢. Bob Veon played that first night, and the band charged a whopping $45 to entertain. That admission skyrocketed to $1.00 per person two nights later on New Years Eve. There was a lunch counter upstairs that served coffee, pop, hot dogs, and hot chocolate. At first the business was only operated by family. But soon they had to hire others due to the business doing so well. The Ballroom hosted 1,100 to 1,500 people on ‪Saturday nights (apparently before maximum occupancy limits were invented).

Many top band leaders played at the Ballroom. These include Tommy Tucker, Fletcher Henderson, Tommy Dorsey, George Duffy, and Bob Crosby. If those names don't ring a bell, Ozzie and Harriet probably will. Ozzie Nelson would play in the band while Harriett mingled with the patrons.

The Columbia Ballroom has continuously operated since that day in 1931, with the exception of being closed during WWII.

On Saturday, March 7, 2020 The Columbia Ballroom suffered a devastating fire. The fire was able to be maintained by the multiple area fire departments and our very own Columbia Station Fire and Rescue crew and extinguished under 45 minutes allowing the Ballroom to remain structurally sound. Meanwhile community, family and friends of the Ballroom showed up to display their support and help in ways unimaginable. Within just a couple of hours, water and debris were removed from the building and the hopes to restore the building were underway. We heard from many people how many great memories they made at the Ballroom and we have been steadfast at keeping those memories alive. Restoration has begun and we are determined to make the Ballroom shine brighter than ever!

Our couples and guests have spoken about parents and grandparents that have attended events for decades at the Ballroom. It truly is a magical place that we love seeing become a part of love stories for generations to come!

From candlelit elegance to fully lit parties, The Columbia Ballroom is the place for your special occasion.