The Grande Ballroom was built in 1928 and was located at 8952 Grand River Avenue, at the corner of Beverly Court, on Detroit’s west side. The Grande Ballroom was designed by noted-architect, Charles N. Agree, in a Moorish Deco style. The Grande Ballroom was a two-story building, with retail space on the first floor and the Grande Ballroom was on the second floor. The Grande Ballroom was essentially a stage and a large dance hall. The Grande Ballroom featured a dance floor, built on springs that gave dancers a “feeling of floating.” The unique dance floor held up to 1,500 dancers and was surrounded by beautiful, twisting, Moorish-arches that encompassed the entire dance floor.
The Grande Ballroom was originally a nice and quiet place where people would go to dance and listen to live music, but it would end up becoming a major significance in the history of music as a rock n’ roll concert venue. Many popular artists and bands played their music here, such as like Led Zeppelin, Cream, Pink Floyd, The Byrds, Velvet Underground, The Steve Miller Band, Country Joe and the Fish,The Who, Janis Joplin, and more all played the Grande. The Grande Ballroom is also where Detroit artists, The MC5 and Iggy and the Stooges, became legends of rock n’ roll.
Throughout the early years the Grande Ballroom featured jazz, ballroom dancing, top 40 music, and popular bands. The Grande Ballroom featured special event nights, such as “Couples Night” and “Singles Night.” It really was a popular place to enjoy a nice night out on the town.
By the mid-1960’s, rock n’ roll had became extremely popular, as well as rock concerts. It seemed that nobody wanted to go out and go ballroom dancing anymore, but would rather “kick out the jams” at a loud rock concert.
The Grande Ballroom would become that spot. In 1966, a local teacher, Russ Gibb, bought the Grande Ballroom with the idea of turning into a big-name venue for rock n’ roll concerts. The dream came true as the country’s most popular artists and biggest bands began to play at the Grande Ballroom as audiences packed onto the dance floor. The fun went on for several years and the Grande Ballroom legacy was etched in stone. The Grande Ballroom closed in 1972.
Since the Grande Ballroom closed in 1972, the building has been largely unused since then and it certainly shows. The Grande Ballroom is slowly deteriorating and rotting away. The Spanish-tiled roof has collapsed in many areas, allowing water to eat large holes in the dance floor. Broken windows have allowed the elements to easily enter the building causing the floor to warp and bubble. Most of the plaster-work and sculptures have fallen to the floor or crumbled away. Scrappers have looted it of its plumbing and valuable metals. The once “grand” Grande Ballroom is in it’s last days. The building is dangerous and should be condemned.
As of 2015, the Grande Ballroom still stands. Although the Grande Ballroom remains secured and boarded up, once in a while you will see an opening that you can squeeze through between some of the boards.