A fundraiser for the new floor of The Inwood Ballroom in Spillville is Friday, Nov. 1, at The Inwood.
Burgers, brats and Dave's famous chili will be served starting at 5 p.m. A variety of games and activities for all ages will follow. Drink prices will be reduced for the night and there will be a silent auction of unique, vintage Inwood items. The local band, Gotcha Covered, will begin performing at 8:30 p.m.
The Inwood Ballroom is one of the most unique remaining ballrooms in the state. It is located on the banks of the Turkey River in Riverside Park on the east edge of Spillville. The Inwood is 93 years old and has survived three major floods: 1933, 1993 and 2008.
The dining room floor is still the original wood from 1920 and is beyond repair. Plans call for removal of the old floor and a new 50-by-100 foot fir floor to be installed in November at an estimated cost of $50,000.
The Inwood Ballroom has been in operation since 1920. It began simply as a floor surrounded by railings and benches where dances would take place.
The floor was soon enclosed and made into a permanent amusement pavilion. A few years later, the 10-sided yellow pine dance floor was added, including a double row of booths around the outside and two fireplaces. The ceilings are the original lattice woodwork throughout the building. By 1929 the initial work was finished and looks today very much like it did back then.
Hundreds of Northeast Iowa couples met at The Inwood and subsequently married, most likely having their wedding dance at The Inwood.
"Old Time" bands performed on Tuesday nights in the early 1940's. Regular Thursday night ballroom dances featured bands such as Tom and Jimmy Dorsey, Guy Lombardo, Glenn Miller, Lawrence Welk, Louis Armstrong, Ray Lewis, Woody Herman and more.
Other big name performers include The Byrds, Canned Heat and Commander Cody. Teen hops were popular in the 1960s and 70s. Wedding dances were often held on weeknights in the early days, eventually changing to primarily Saturdays.
Improvements/changes that have taken place throughout the years include replacing the dance floor with maple in 1935 and again in 1985. The Inwood received its name around the 1940s as the result of a contest.
A popcorn machine was purchased in 1954 remains in use today. Major remodeling took place in 1960 consisting of a center island in the dining room and moving the main entrance north to its present location. In 1978, the center island was completely removed, relocating the bar to the west wall and the kitchen to the north end with tables in the center.
More recently the dance floor ceiling has been decorated with lights and tuling. The round tables and matching chairs were purchased in 2007 to replace the wooden tables and metal chairs. New chandelier light fixtures were hung in the dining room in 2011. A new sound system throughout the entire building was installed in 2010.
The most recent improvement is the new handicap accessible bathroom with changing table and a handicap accessible entrance and parking lot that was added this spring.
The facility is open April through October and used extensively by the community for a variety of events, mostly wedding or anniversary receptions/dances, but also the annual 4th of July celebration and a prom night for persons with disabilities.
Donations can be made to Inwood Floor Replacement Fund and mailed to P.O. Box 26, Spillville, IA 52168. Funds raised will help provide leverage for grant applications. Donors are encouraged to share their memories of The Inwood by including their story.
Volunteers are being sought to help with activities and to serve food and drinks the night of the fundraiser. Volunteers are also needed to help tear out the old floor and install the new floor.
To participate in any way contact one of the managers, Mark Kuhn 563-419-6441, Ruth Kuhn 563-419-1905, or Wanda Cole 563-380-6012.
For more information visit inwoodballroom.com or the Ballroom's Facebook page.