Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

700 S. Main

National or State Register of Historic Places
700 S. Main | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Schwartz Ballroom
Reference Number:98000564
Location (Address):700 S. Main
The Schwartz Ballroom
700 South Main, Hartford, Washington County
Architect: Messmer, Robert A.
Date of Construction: 1928

Local brewing magnate, Joseph Schwartz Jr. saw economic potential in the rise of ballroom dancing that accompanied the "big band" music craze of the 1920s. He commissioned Milwaukee architect Robert Messmer to design a massive octagonal ballroom to be built on parkland owned by the brewery. Schwartz anticipated his first-class ballroom would draws patrons from many surrounding communities. The Schwartz Ballroom was built of fireproof clay tile construction and clad in reddish brick. The conical steel frame of its 95-foot tall dome sheltered a massive dance floor with a capacity of 1500. A 2,000 pound Art Deco pendant chandelier formed the centerpiece of the 112 foot diameter dance floor. Its wrought iron ceiling medallion cleverly concealed a large ventilator in an ornamental grillwork of composed of triangular ribs and floriated scrolls.

The Schwartz Ballroom drew the biggest headliners in jazz including Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and Louie Armstrong. A record crowd of over 6000 people came to hear Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians, spilling out onto the grounds outside the dance hall. Joseph Schwartz contracted with CBS radio to broadcast live concerts from the Schwartz, giving it coast to coast recognition.

The ballroom was pressed into wartime service from 1944 to 1946, serving as a prisoner of war camp for German POWs. Prisoners provided labor at local canning plans and hemp manufacturers, making up for labor shortages created by the war.

The ballroom is owned by the Hartford Rotary and is now known as the Chandelier Ballroom. It is available for public and private events. More information can be found on the Ballroom website.

Period of Significance:1925-1949
Area of Significance:Engineering
Area of Significance:Entertainment/Recreation
Area of Significance:Politics/Government
Applicable Criteria:Architecture/Engineering
Applicable Criteria:Event
Historic Use:Recreation And Culture: Auditorium
Architectural Style:Modern Movement
Resource Type:Building
Architect:Messmer, R. A.
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
National Register Listing Date:05/20/1998
State Register Listing Date:01/21/1998
Number of Contributing Buildings:1
Number of Contributing Sites:0
Number of Contributing Structures:0
Number of Contributing Objects:0
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:0
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:0
Number of Non-Contributing Objects:0
National Register and State Register of Historic Places, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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