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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Benld in Macoupin County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Dancing the Night Away

The Coliseum Ballroom

 
 
Dancing the Night Away Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 26, 2020
1. Dancing the Night Away Marker
Marker has been removed and is missing.
Inscription.  
The Coliseum Ballroom on Route 66 was a hopping place on Saturday nights. Benld's ballroom boasted the biggest dance floor between Chicago and St. Louis. People gathered from throughout the region to dance to big bands such as Duke Ellington, Lawrence Welk, and Tommy Dorsey and rock to Ray Charles, Fats Domino, and the Everly Brothers.

Gamblers and Bootleggers

Benld, named after town founder Ben L. Dorsey, was a little Las Vegas when Dominic Tarro built the Coliseum in the 1920s. Miners gambled at taverns, and moonshine flowed from "Mine No. 5," a disguised still.

The Day the Music Died

After its musical heyday, an antique mall filled the Coliseum for several years. The Ballroom burned to the ground during a 2011 electrical fire.
 
Erected by Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EntertainmentIndustry & Commerce. In addition, it is included in the U.S. Route 66 series list.
 
Location. Marker is missing.
Dancing the Night Away Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 26, 2020
2. Dancing the Night Away Marker
Wide view, with its supplemental interpretive statue.
It was located near 39° 5.632′ N, 89° 48.697′ W. Marker was in Benld, Illinois, in Macoupin County. Marker was at the intersection of North Hardroad (Illinois Route 4) and Walnut Street, on the right on North Hardroad. Marker was across the street from Harry's Market. Touch for map. Marker was at or near this postal address: 205 N Hardroad, Benld IL 62009, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this location, measured as the crow flies. Soulsby Shell Station, Mt. Olive, Illinois (approx. 4.4 miles away); Historic Route 66 Illinois (approx. 6.4 miles away); Henry's Rabbit Ranch, Staunton, Illinois (approx. 6.4 miles away); Bunker Hill Indian Trail (approx. 8.1 miles away); The Litchfield Community High School 1924-1997 (approx. 9.7 miles away); The American Radiator Plant Cornerstone (approx. 9.7 miles away); The Ariston Café, Litchfield, Illinois (approx. 9.7 miles away); The Vic Suhling Sign (approx. 9.7 miles away).
 
More about this marker. This was one of nine Wayside Exhibits erected by Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byways (put up sometime during the mid-2010s) that had interpretive statues paired with them.
 
Also see . . .
1. Benld's Coliseum likely to fade into history. Published on August 30, 2011 (a month after the Coliseum burned down) in the SJ-R newspaper, this talks about the history and then-future of the remains of the building. Since that time, a documentary about the Coliseum was made, and a memorial dance in Benld took place in 2017. (Submitted on October 15, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.) 

2. Benld Coliseum
Interpretive statue image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 26, 2020
3. Interpretive statue
Paired with the marker
. From the website stlmusicyesterdays.com, this has several photos of the Coliseum building during its heyday (and after the 2011 fire), as well as pictures of performing acts (Ike & Tina Turner, Mama's Pride) and old newspaper advertisements. (Submitted on October 15, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. This is one of two Wayside Exhibit markers with statues missing.
There are pictures that exist on the Internet that have the actual marker in place, which was up for a short time. It is not known when the marker was either stolen, removed due to wear and tear, etc. The interpretive statue still remains at that spot. Sadly, this is not the only one of its kind missing. There is also a Route 66 Wayside Exhibit with an interpretive statue that are both missing. They were located at Sherman Wayside Park, in Sherman, Illinois. If anyone has pictures, please don't hesitate to reach out or upload to this database.
    — Submitted October 15, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 15, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 15, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 31 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 15, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.
 
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Oct. 26, 2020