From the official site's description:
The Val Air Ballroom opened June, 1939 - the builder & operated was Tom Archer who arrived in Des Moines in 1936. Archer (1895-1963) was a pioneer in the ballroom business. Archer was one of the first entrepreneurs to bring the Big Bands from New York to the Midwest. With his ballrooms in Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska & Missouri, Archer became the nation's leading ballroom operator, responsible for helping famous band leaders, such as Lawrence Welk & Jan Garber get their start.
The Val Air was truly an open-air ballroom, a perfect example of the concept. All on one level, with a roof only over the hardwood dance floor, the stage & service areas such as the checkroom, bars & restrooms. All the rest was covered by big 'drop' sides which were lowered to keep out rain, but were raised for summer evenings of dancing & entertainment. At the west end of the maple dance floor was a polished concrete dance floor which enabled everyone to 'dance under the stars.' Everyone could begin dancing on the 8,000 square foot hardwood dance floor & swing right outside on the concrete dance floor.
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