Favorite

Awakening Dreamland 

Flag and Banner owner wants to bring ballroom back.

FLAG AND BANNER: Taborian Hall stands alone on once busy street.
  • FLAG AND BANNER: Taborian Hall stands alone on once busy street.

Ninth Street businesses like the Gem Pharmacy, Children's Drug, the Elite Barber Shop, People's Undertaking, the Vincennes Hotel, dentist Dr. Charles Hill, the Gypsy Tea Room, and others filled the African American community's everyday needs. But Dreamland Ballroom, on the third floor of the Taborian Hall at Ninth and State streets, fed the spirit, with the music of “Fatha” Earl Hines, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Louis Jordan, and later Ray Charles and B.B. King, to name just a few of the famed musicians who played there.

Dreamland fell silent in 1970 as did neighboring businesses. But the music was back last month, when contemporary acts played a benefit concert to help in the restoration of the ballroom by Taborian Hall owner Kerry McCoy.

McCoy renovated Taborian Hall in 1991 for her business, Arkansas Flag and Banner. She's completed the first and second floor, and has now turned her attention to a $1.2 million project to renovate the 8,000-square-foot ballroom, with its peach-painted balcony and box seats and stage, as an events center.

Architectural and engineering drawings are done, but, McCoy laughed, her timing on getting a loan — in the midst of today's banking crisis — has been off. But, she said, “I ain't giving up yet. I get e-mail every week from someone wanting to rent it.” She hopes to have it open by this time next year.

Taborian Hall, like the Mosaic Templars building, was built to house an insurance company run by a black fraternity, the Knights and Daughters of the Tabor. It opened in 1918, and like the Mosaic Templars building, housed a pharmacy, along with doctors' offices and the Ritz Beer Garden. During World War II, it housed the black USO club. It was built as an addition to a 19th century building that faced State Street.

McCoy has been working with a freelance historian to compile information and artifacts that tell the story of Taborian Hall. “The focus of our building,” McCoy said, “is going to be just the things that happened in the building, the great acts that played here.” The Mosaic Templars will offer the rest of the picture of Ninth Street.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • A Fat Tuesday beer dinner at @ the Corner

    At the Corner restaurant at Scott and Markham streets will celebrate Mardi Gras with its first "Fat Tuesday Beer Dinner,” featuring brews from Lost Forty, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28.
    • Feb 23, 2017
  • Butts out at The Sports Page

    Stop the presses! Or toss out the ashtrays at least. No longer does The Sports Page serve its great cheeseburgers and ginormous chilidogs with a hint of Marlboro.
    • Feb 23, 2017
  • Bohm's District Fare: Charcuterie, a glass of wine and more

    Tomas Bohm, the owner of Czech and German eatery The Pantry in West Little Rock and The Pantry Crest in Hillcrest, has settled on a name for his new venture in the old Hillcrest Artisan Meats spot: District Fare. The name “suits the Hillcrest location," Bohm said. And besides, he added, "everything else is called Hillcrest” in the neighborhood.
    • Feb 23, 2017
  • More »

Most Shared

Latest in Top Stories

  • Good for the soul

    The return of Say McIntosh, restaurateur
    • Jun 1, 2010
  • Robocalls are illegal

    Robocalls -- recorded messages sent to thousands of phone numbers -- are a fact of life in political campaigns. The public doesn't like them much, judging by the gripes about them, but campaign managers and politicians still believe in their utility.
    • May 31, 2010
  • Riverfest winds down

    With Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm, Steve Miller Band, Robert Cray, Ludacris and more performing.
    • May 30, 2010
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Little River County gears up for Sesquicentennial

Little River County gears up for Sesquicentennial

Historical entertainment planned for joint celebration of three Southwest Arkansas milestone anniversaries

Event Calendar

« »

February

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28  
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation