Dancing Pavilion (Second)

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Dancing Pavilion
Other Name(s) Ballroom
Second Dancing Pavilion
Dancing Hall
Second Dance Hall
Type Music and Performances
Park Section Midway
Built 1906
Opened 1907
Closed 1937 (Park closure)
Fires 1911
Architect Frank L. Packard
Frame Steel
Length 180 ft. (55 m)
Width 22 ft. (6.7 m)

The second Dancing Pavilion at Olentangy Park was built just south of the Old Mill in 1906[1][2] and opened for the following season on June 22, 1907.[3][4][5][6] There was dancing every afternoon and evening as well as dancing instructions for women and children for an hour in the afternoons.[7] The Loop-the-Loop and Circle Swing were built just south of the building. In 1909, the City of Columbus attempted to annex the Clinton Township land the park was near. The first ordinance took 150-foot strip of the park along High Street. The seventh and last ordinance took only a 125-foot strip, giving the original 25 feet to allow the Dancing Pavilion and all other amusements at the park to be outside of the city.[8] It has been said that half the building fell inside the boundaries of the City of Columbus, which had strict laws regarding public dancing spaces. At midnight, the dancers moved to the Franklin County side of the dance floor.[5]


Frank L. Packard drew the designs of the building which had Swiss-style architecture[9] and a maple floor.[10] The building was able to be enclosed in 1909[11] and fancy glass windows were added in 1910 to provide comfort in different types of weather.[12] In 1920, the dance floor was enlarged, making it the largest in the State of Ohio.[6] A new check room was installed along with a lunch room and huge fountain, worked by 12 men, where parkgoers could purchase soft drinks.[13] Cushioned seats stood near the windows.[14] A Page console organ was added to the ballroom and installed by Page Organ Corp. from Lima, Ohio.[15] It had a large mirrored ball hung from the ceiling, touted to be the largest in Ohio at the time. It was used at night, reflecting and refracting spotlights directed at it.[16]


In 1907, water from the Old Mill protected the Dancing Pavilion.[17] The fire that started in the neighboring Old Mill in the Midway Fire of 1911 that destroyed five buildings only burned part of the Dancing Pavilion due to its steel frame. However, the floor was damaged further by the water used to put out the flames.[18] The floor was redressed and repolished for the 1913 season.[19]


On August 3, 1934, a passageway between the Dancing Pavilion and the Outdoor Ballroom constructed by F. & R. Lazarus & Co. collapsed during a style show. Robert G. Butler, a park employee, fell 6 feet, fracturing and paralyzing his left arm. Butler sued F. & R. Lazarus & Co. in December of that year for damages of $40,000 ($937,500 in 2024).[20]


See Also


  1. "Olentangy Park Opens on April 29." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 15 April 1905. Pg. 7.
  2. "Olentangy Park." The Democrat-Sentinel (Logan, OH). 14 June 1906. Pg. 2. Clip 1 | Clip 2
  3. "Olentangy Park loop the loop ride and Dancing Pavilion." Columbus Neighborhoods. Photo. 1 August 2013. Accessed 17 April 2022. [1]
  4. "Olentangy Park Opens on April 29." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 15 April 1906. Pg. 7.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Hyatt, Shirley. Clintonville and Beechwold. Arcadia Publishing, 2009.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Olentangy Park." The Columbus Evening Dispatch. 20 June 1907. Pg. 4.
  7. "Olentangy Park." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 7 July 1907. Pg. 17.
  8. "Seventh and Last of Annexation Measures Passed." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 27 November 1909. Pg. 2.
  9. "At Work on Pavilion." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 29 April 1905. Pg. 13.
  10. "Improvements in Park." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 18 March 1906. Pg. 31.
  11. "Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 18 August 1910. Pg. 10.
  12. "Olentangy Park." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 10 April 1910. Pg. 37.
  13. "At the Dance Pavilion." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 2 June 1920. Pg. 28.
  14. Clemens, Allen B. "Pulling One of Satan's Claws." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 4 June 1920. Pg. 4.
  15. Ad. The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 8 June 1930. Pg. 57.
  16. Barret, Richard E. "Olentangy Park: Four Decades of Fun." Columbus and Central Ohio Historian. Vol. 1. April 1984. Pg. 11.
  17. "Boy Leads His Two Sisters Out of a Fire at Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 5 July 1907. Pg. 13.
  18. "Suspect Arson in Destructive Fire at Olentangy Park." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 17 July 1911. Pg. 1.
  19. "Olentangy Park." The Columbus Sunday Dispatch. 27 April 1913. Pg. 51.
  20. "Damages of $40,000 Are Sought in Suit." The Columbus Dispatch 22 December 1934. Pg. 10.