Dances

Black and white photo of a street dance in Everett, 1949. A small stage with musicians is on the street with a crowd of people in front of and to the side of the stage.
Street dance in Everett, 1949.

Courtesy/Peninsula Library & Historical Society

The contra dance was brought to the Cuyahoga Valley by its first settlers from New England. Although styles became more diverse over the years, dancing remained popular in valley communities through the early 20th century. They offered rare opportunities to meet and socialize with members of the opposite gender. Imagine Saturday nights full of excitement as residents flocked to local dances. An "orchestra" played while dancers followed the directions of the caller. As Helyn Toth explained, "Going to dances was no doubt the number one favorite social event … for people of varied ages in the valley."

 
Black and white photo of Everett dance hall, now Everett Ranger Station. A dark colored two-story house with an awning over the front door, and windows on the first and second floor.
Everett dance hall, now Everett Ranger Station.

NPS Collection

While most dances were local affairs, often held by the local Grange, some had a regional draw. Bedford Glens Park, near the edge of Tinker's Creek, began as a summer picnic and dancing resort in 1902, and, by 1924, quickly grew into a year-round dance and bowling emporium. The dance hall attracted popular bands, such as Ed Day and his Ten Knights orchestra. Young and old couples traveled from the valley, Akron, and Cleveland to join crowds in the beautiful, shining ballroom. Sadly, the grand wooden structure was lost to fire in 1944.

 
 
 
 
 

Last updated: December 19, 2021

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