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Where you stand now used to be home of Tantilla Gardens, aka Tantilla Ballroom. From 1938 to 1969 the Tantilla had the largest stage in Richmond, and a bowling ally on the first floor called Tiny Town.
The best feature was the retractable roof for dancing under the stars.
I found a wonderful write up on the ballroom, here is a piece of it:
For many years during the Jazz Age, big name artists would perform at Tantilla. I found an on-line itinerary for Duke Ellington that listed a Tantilla performance on 14 March 1935. It was a swanky place in those days. People would get all dressed up to go to the "Rooftop Gardens" as it was sometimes called.
The building was also home to "Tiny Town" a duck-pin bowling alley on the ground floor. Patrons of Tantilla were forced to climb a most evil set of steps to enter the immense upstairs ballroom. Not far from the top of the steps was one of the largest stages in the city. At the other end of the building were all the tables and a large L-shaped bar where set-ups were sold. Guests would bring their own bottles in brown bags, as during the Tantilla days, liquor by the drink was not allowed. In between the bar area and the stage was a gigantic dance floor.
During Tantilla's heyday (way before air-conditioning) the roof over the entire dance floor could be rolled back to reveal the sky. A sign from an earlier time was prominently displayed over the bar "Dancing Under The Stars At Tantilla Gardens". It must have really been something to party with the likes of Duke Ellington at Tantilla Gardens with the roof rolled back!
When Tantilla announced that they were going to close about 1969, everyone wanted to attend the last show. I believe there were at least 17 "last" shows. I think I bumped my chin on the evil steps as I left all 17 last shows...
The building came down, and Home Beneficial Insurance Company got a parking lot. We knew it was the end of an era. We knew we were loosing an important link to our past.
Friday night as several of us came out of Bliley Funeral Homes' Central Chapel, after attending the Harvey Family's visitation...it was hard not to notice that parking lot directly across the street, on the block where Tantilla stood for all those years. The album title was always significant to us Richmonders, but realizing that the funeral for Bryan and his entire family was taking place so close to that exact spot sent a shiver down my spine.
(No hints available.)