This venue at 315 So. Fifth Street started out in 1909 as the Dreamland Dancing Pavilion.
ARCADIA ROLLER SKATING PALACE
In 1914, the building was leased by the Saxe Brothers, theater owners and amusement promoters. They opened the roller skating venue on December 5, 1914. It could accommodate 1,000 skaters, and boasted skates with the latest fiber rollers. Cornelius A. Lane was the manager.
ARCADIA DANCING PALACE
Apparently roller skating wasn’t catching on, and the building reverted back to dancing or a combination of dancing and skating on April 10, 1915. It also hosted many boxing matches, and in fact hosted many of the kinds of events that would later be held in the Minneapolis Auditorium. These included political meetings, receptions, even a poultry show.
And there was dancing! Proof is this report that poor James Kelly was arrested and fined $10 for refusing to stop “shimmying” at the Arcadia Dance Hall. The judge warned him to “keep away from dance halls until you can control yourself.” (Minneapolis Tribune, February 22, 1920)
Oh, and there were pickpockets galore.
In 1922 Conway and his bouncer were taken to court for police brutality by a drunk who was ejected too forcefully.
In 1923 it was becoming clear that Minneapolis needed better facilities for its events. A bond issue was being discussed for a modern auditorium, after using using the Arcadia, the Shubert Theater, the Minneapolis Steel and Machinery Plant, and “the auditorium” proved to be inadequate.
There was a busy schedule here in December 1925:
- Enagma (sic) Club Dance on Tuesday nights
- Lucky Prize on Wednesday nights
- Club dance every Thursday night
- Candy Dance on Friday nights
- Saturday and Sunday follow the crowd to the Arcadia Dance Palace.
Now, I must explain about the information above. It comes from a publication called the American Constitution, which was an anti-Communist newspaper. And why was I reading an anti-Communist newspaper, might be a fair question? The Minnesota Historical Society’s microfilm room has some reels of newspapers they might just have a few copies of, and these are all spliced together into a delightful potpourri of publications that are a hoot to look through. So this came from that. I suppose a Communist could go to Conway’s Arcadia Palace just as much as anyone else as long as they didn’t make a fuss about it…
In 1928 the Manager was William T. Hawks.
See Aragon Ballroom