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Willowbrook Ballroom, Illinois (Images of America Series)

( 7 )

Overview


The Willowbrook Ballroom was originally built as an outdoor dance pavilion named Oh Henry Park by Austrian immigrant John Verderbar. Wildly successful, it was enlarged and fully enclosed in 1923, and a 10¢-a-dance policy was implemented. Destroyed by fire in 1930, a determined Verderbar hired a crew of 200 carpenters, and a new facility was built to the tune of a then-staggering $100,000. In 1959, it was renamed the Willowbrook Ballroom, and dancers have since enjoyed the big band sounds of Count Basie, Teddy ...
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Overview


The Willowbrook Ballroom was originally built as an outdoor dance pavilion named Oh Henry Park by Austrian immigrant John Verderbar. Wildly successful, it was enlarged and fully enclosed in 1923, and a 10¢-a-dance policy was implemented. Destroyed by fire in 1930, a determined Verderbar hired a crew of 200 carpenters, and a new facility was built to the tune of a then-staggering $100,000. In 1959, it was renamed the Willowbrook Ballroom, and dancers have since enjoyed the big band sounds of Count Basie, Teddy Lee, Harry James, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. As record crowds flocked to the 6,000-square-foot dance floor, the Willowbrook also became a favorite setting for weddings, proms, and other once-in-a-lifetime events. Today, at the height of its popularity, the Willowbrook is one of only five ballrooms of its magnitude in the United States and the only one remaining in the greater Chicagoland area.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780738583990
  • Publisher: Arcadia Publishing SC
  • Publication date: 10/31/2011
  • Series: Images of America Series
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 1,418,925
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Bonnie Classen is a freelance writer and occasional host/promoter of the popular singles dances at the Willowbrook. She utilizes vintage photographs from the family of original owners, among other collections, to tell the story of this south suburban landmark and its surroundings.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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(7)

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 17, 2014

    What a wonderful stroll thru history! A great collection of phot

    What a wonderful stroll thru history! A great collection of photographs of the premier Bands and artist of the century. I really enjoyed the narrative of the ballroom history. I have been to the Willowbrook many times and had no Idea it had such a rich history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    This book illustrates the greatest ballroom experiences in the p

    This book illustrates the greatest ballroom experiences in the past 50
    years. It brought back many happy memories we experienced for the past
    50 years. How else could one experience his or her partner's
    personality, never if you sat in a movie theatre for hours on a date
    never speaking to one another., Needles to say we have been happily
    married for 60 years.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 8, 2012

    Willowbrook Ballroom A Very Interesting Book

    I found this book to be very informative and an excellent review of the history of this great ballroom. It has many great pictures of great bands that played there over the years and its brings back many memories. I highly recommend the book you will find it a tremendous walk down memory lane.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2012

    Highly Recommended - a great view of history!

    This book provides a fun look at history and the evolution of the Willowbrook Ballroom over several decades. It's great to see how hard work and dedication stand the test of time and provide a fantastic venue for folks to go enjoy fun music and dancing!

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  • Posted February 11, 2012

    SIMPLY AMAZING!!

    I was really amazed with the pictures this book has. I highly recomend this book its history!

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  • Posted December 11, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    My review above was not properly rated, because this website did not explain how to put in a rating. It is now rated properly at 5 stars

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  • Posted December 11, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    There are few books, if any, that deal with these slowly disappearing large music venues. Ballrooms, like the Willowbrook, provided an musical experience that was not really formal, but without ignorant fools hysterically drowning out the performers. They provided entertainment in an elegant surrounding and that is conveyed in this book. That sense of elegance is enhanced by the large number of photos that show the audiences enjoying themselves or just adoring the performers. People can be seen close to and around great musicians, both sweet, swing, or jazz, and either staring in amazement at the foot of the bandstand or dancing in the hall. I hope to see more like this in future.

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