Arnolds Park, IA (IRRMA)--The Riviera Ballroom has been honored with induction into the Iowa RockNRoll Music Association (IRRMA) Hall of Fame on Labor Day weekend of 2010. The Riviera Ballroom of Des Moines, once located in the now gone Riverview Park was among the honorees.
The 2010 IRRMA Hall of Fame Spectacular induction weekend activities took place at Arnolds Park on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 4-5.
Opening ad at beginning of 1940 season
The Riviera Ballroom, added to Riverview Park in 1940, was built to replace the original Dance Hall and was an "open air ballroom" meaning that the sides opened out to wooden decks or verandas with tables and chairs. The cost of the project in 1940 was $35,000 . The warm summer nights furnished evening lake breezes that swept through the ballroom to keep the temperature tolerable for the dancers and guests. A moonlight night on the veranda overlooking the lake along with Glenn Miller playing in the background are memories that are priceless for many today, we're sure.
If inclement weather should come upon the area, large canvas curtains could quickly be lowered by ballroom staffers on all the openings and secured with naval style fasteners making the interior fairly well protected from the elements. Actual wooden shutters could also be secured outside the dropped curtains if needed for a semipermanent enlosure but this would take a crew of workers nearly a day to install.
The Riviera as it looked,right before the park closed
A nice shot of the massive wood floor after remodeling.
The Ballroom in the 50's
An interior shot of the Ballroom in the 50's
A Brief Physical Description of How It Was..
The large wooden dance floor was columnless and surrounded on both sides with alcoves dotted wth tables and chairs as well as two cash bars. Their was another lounge area behind the band stage with seating for around 60 people and a 30 foot long bar. There was total seating for up to 1000 people. Directly behind the stage was a sound proof glass broadcast booth that windowed to the stage. Live radio broadcasts of the performances were sent over the local airways from here and many early broadcasters spent many a dance inside this glass "goldfish" bowl.
To the left of the stage was the bands lounge that was fairly plain inside other than a wall of mirrors and garment racks plus some tables and chairs and a rear door to the outside. Above the front entrance foyer of the Riviera was a second floor room that opened out to a small balcony overlooking the entire ballroom. A large carbon arc manual spotlight was mounted on this balcony to zero in on the performers and honored guests.
Page 2 - The 1940's....More Riviera photos and performers... The best of memories
© COPYRIGHT 2007 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED CANYON ARMS -