Historic memorial sign should be placed at Danceland site

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: May 2 2013 | 12:05 pm - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 2:50 pm in
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Enjoyed the April 21 article “Danceland Ballroom.” Several things of note for this musical story. The most popular orchestra of the big band era played Danceland once. Clarinda-born Glenn Miller and his orchestra played Danceland on June 9, 1941. The entertainment newspaper “Variety” reported the band drew 2,600 fans.

Miller trumpet player Dale “Mickey” McMickle was a Cedar Rapids native. The late Miller trombonist Paul Tanner told the story there was a big banner hailing McMickle as the star of the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

While perusing the microfilm file of The Gazette at the public library, I saw a Danceland advertisement that listed singer Roy Orbison scheduled to perform on Nov. 22, 1963 — the night of the day President John F. Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas. I’ve wondered if Roy played or if Danceland was shuttered that night and if Orbison spent a sad night in Cedar Rapids.

One more thing. Every time you make the curve on Interstate 380 at Quaker, that’s where Glenn and the boys and so many famous acts played over the decades, where Danceland stood, underneath at 124 Third St. NE. I’ve always thought a historic memorial sign should be put down there.

Cary J. Hahn

Cedar Rapids

 

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