Hartford in Washington County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
The Schwartz Ballroom
The Schwartz Ballroom opened to the music of Harold Austin and his New Yorkers on October 20, 1928. As part of the big band craze of the Roaring 20s, dance hall construction boomed while recording and radio broadcasting spread new urban sounds across the nation. The Schwartz attracted major performers of the time, including Perry Como, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and Louis Armstrong. Starting in 1931 local radio station WTMJ broadcast live via CBS, giving the Schwartz coast–to-coast recognition. Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians drew a record crowd when 6000 people jammed the ballroom while several hundred more listened from outside.
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Designed by Milwaukee architect Robert A. Messmer and funded by local brewer Joseph Schwartz Jr., the ballroom features an octagonal “Great Hall” rising 36 feet at its center, the apex of which is adorned with an ornate one-ton wrought-iron Art Deco chandelier. The 112-foot unobstructed dance floor can accommodate 1500 dancing couples.
The ballroom was pressed in to wartime service from 1944 to 1946, serving as a Prisoner of War camp for 300 or more German POWs. Prisoners provided labor at local factories, making up for labor shortages created by the war.
Erected 2005 by Wisconsin State Historical Society. (Marker Number 500.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Wisconsin Historical Society marker series.
Location. 43° 18.589′ N, 88° 22.618′ W. Marker is in Hartford, Wisconsin, in Washington County. Marker can be reached from E Jefferson Ave. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 150 E. Jefferson Ave, Hartford WI 53027, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Lohr’s Gas Station (approx. 0.4 miles away); Willard R. Amidon Home (approx. 0.4 miles away); Westphal Mansion Inn (approx. half a mile away); “Kissel” (approx. 0.6 miles away); Schwartz Family House (approx. 0.8 miles away); St. Lawrence Church (approx. 4.7 miles away); Holy Hill (approx. 5.2 miles away); Winter Farm (approx. 5.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hartford.
Categories. • Entertainment • Notable Buildings •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 14, 2010, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 796 times since then and 38 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on May 14, 2010, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.