Ten Planning Lessons from Albuquerque

We have been enjoying an awesome trip to New Mexico. This post about Albuquerque is the first of several that will be written about the state, is residents, and its communities. Paz!

Fountain in Old Town

  • The preservation and protection of the original 1706 city core (Old Town) was a stroke of genius, luck, or both, as Old Town an amazing introduction to the rich cultural landscape, cuisine, and diversity of New Mexico.
  • Being proactive by providing commuter rail (Rail-Runner), bus rapid transit (ART), and a vast bicycle/non-motorized network in a metro of approximately 1 million people is inspiring and exciting to see, especially when a lot of cities don’t have anything close to these transportation options.
  • A major city doesn’t need to have a beltway surrounding it to thrive  – see also Tucson.
  • A major university (University of New Mexico) is a valuable resource that helps maintain the vibrancy of inner cities neighborhoods in its vicinity – Nob Hill in Albuquerque for example.

Historic KIMO Theatre

  • There are many beautiful examples of preserved buildings and historic signs throughout Albuquerque, but there are also too many parking craters and vacant spaces dotting the city.

  • The restoration and conversation of the historic 1936 El Vado Motel into a vibrant development containing boutique lodging, restaurant pods, a taproom, offices, and two new apartment buildings may be the single best example of adaptive reuse and mixed use I have ever seen, particularly in this time of cookie-cutter new urbanism projects across the country.

Pool/courtyard area of the El Vado Motel

  • Like most major cities of the American west, sprawl is an issue that needs to be addressed more fully with increased densities, reinvestment in older parts of the city, and new urbanism techniques.

Homes abutting Petroglyph National Monument

  • It is sad to see acres and acres of new homes constructed literally right up to the edge of portions of Petroglyphs National Monument, in some case where you hike right past backyard walls/fences.
  • Downtown Albuquerque has great bones, but its needs more vibrant third places (outside of just Old Town and West Downtown), increased housing options, and greater private sector investment, particularly along its backbone – Central Avenue (Historic Route 66).
  • Any airport professional who wants to see how to properly design an airport that is welcoming and successfully reflects the historical and cultural roots of its service region must visit Albuquerque International Sunport.
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Temples of Jazz – The Theatres


Source: indystar.com

This is the second blogpost of our series on the Temples of Jazz. The initial post was dedicated to the ballrooms and dance halls. This one will cover those theatres(ers) where jazz musicians performed during the Jazz Age, while the final post of the series will highlight notable jazz clubs around the nation.

Instead of listing every single theatre in the country where a jazz performance may have taken place during its golden age, the list below identifies those theatres(ers) either located in historically-black communities that both helped give rise to and sustain the jazz era or those theatre(ers) which played an important local/regional/national role in advancing jazz and jazz musicians.

Because jazz came of age during segregation and the Jim Crow era, opportunities for African-American musicians were limited, especially at white-only venues. As a result of these unfortunate and bigoted policies, the Chitlin’ Circuit was established as a work around.

“The Chitlin’ Circuit was the collective name given to a series of performance venues throughout the eastern, southern, and upper mid-west areas of the country that were safe and acceptable for African American entertainers to perform in during segregation.”

Source: https://www.metrojacksonville.com/mobile/article/2016-mar-the-lost-theatres-of-lavilla

Those theatres(ers) listed below that are identified below with a were particularly significant historic jazz-related sites. As can be seen by the listings, theatres(ers) changed names with great regularity. For retracing history, this can be rather frustrating, but the best attempt has been made to properly identify each venue.

Please feel free to forward any suggestions, additions, corrections, or clarifications so the list can be as accurate as possible. Peace!


*Athens, GA: Morton Theatre – 195 W. Washington Street (1910-1930s) – Adapted to a performing arts space in 1987. Added to the National Register of Historic Places as one of the few surviving original vaudeville theaters that successfully transitioned into live jazz performance in the 1920s and motion pictures in the 1930s.

Baltimore, MD: Regent Theatre – 1629 Pennsylvania Avenue (1916-1974) – demolished in 1980 and replaced with a Family Fun Center.

*Baltimore, MD: Royal Theatre – 1329 Pennsylvania Avenue (1922 -1971) – opened in 1922 as the black-owned Douglass Theatre. It was a jazz venue on the segregation-era Chitlin’ Circuit. It was damaged during riots of the 1960s and demolished in 1971. Royal Theatre Marquee Monument erected in 2004, but the actual building site is vacant.

* Birmingham, AL: Carver Theatre – Fourth Avenue N. & 17th Street N. (1935-?) – a jazz venue on the segregation-era Chitlin’ circuit. Restored as a live performance venue named the Carver Performing Arts Center and home to the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.

Boston, MA: RKO Theatre (originally the Keith-Albee Theatre) – Washington & Essex Streets (1925-1986) – currently sits vacant and unused.

Brooklyn, NY: Brooklyn Apoll0 Theatre – 1531 Fulton Street – (1914-1965) – opened as the Throop Theatre and renamed the Apollo in 1925.

Brooklyn, NY: Brooklyn Paramount Theatre – (1928-1960) – owned by Long Island University sine 1960 and converted to school uses in 1962.

Buffalo, NY: Plaza Theatre – 1412 William Street (1914-1950s) – closed in 1964 and razed in 1975. Sammy Davis, Jr. is reported to have performed here at the age of five.

*Chicago (Bronzeville), IL: Grand Theatre -3110 S. State Street (1911-1952) –  Sadly, this truly historic site was demolished in 1959 to make way for an expansion of the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology.

    • The Grand Theatre is the place where Jazz music was first introduced to Chicago in 1915 by the Original Creole Orchestra.

Chicago (South Side), IL: The Monogram Theatre (originally South Side Merit Theatre) – 3451 S. State Street (1910-?) – building has been demolished.

Chicago (Loop), IL: Oriental Theatre (recently renamed the Nederlander Theatre) – 24 W. Randolph Street (1926-1998) – since 1998 has been utilized for performing arts and stage productions. Added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Chicago (Bronzeville), IL: Pickford Theatre (originally the Lux Theatre 1912-1914) – 108 E. 35th Street (1914-1938) – renamed the Louis Theatre and served as movie house from 1938-1965 – served various uses after 1965, but demolished in 2011.

*Chicago (Bronzeville), IL: Regal Theatre – S. Parkway & 37th Street (1928-1970) – jazz music venue on the segregation-era Chitlin’ Circuit. Demolished in 1973.

Chicago (Loop), IL: State-Lake Theatre – Start & Lake Streets (1919-1941) – converted to movies only after 1941. Currently used/owned by TV station WLS.

Chicago (Bronzeville), IL: States Theatre – 3507 S. State Street (1913-early 1950s) – demolished after closing.

*Chicago (Bronzeville), IL: Vendome Theatre – 3145 S. State Street (1919-late 1930s) – . The Vendome closed in the late 1930s and was demolished in 1949.

    • The premiere African-American theater in the city until the Regal (see above) opened in 1928.

Cincinnati (West End), OH: State Theatre (originally Metropolitan Theatre) – 1504 Central Avenue (1915-1983, though its main jazz timeline was during the 1940s-1950s) – reopened as a theatre briefly in the late 1980s. since then operated as a worship center until being demolished for a soccer stadium in 2019.

Source: lincolntheatrecolumbus.com

*Columbus (King-Lincoln), OH: Lincoln Theatre (originally the Ogden Theatre) – 769 E. Long Street (1928-early 1970s) – Became the Lincoln Theatre in 1939. The Columbus Jazz Arts Group and Columbus Jazz Academy both are located and perform here. The restored and reopened (in 2009) theatre is part of city efforts to revitalize the King-Lincoln neighborhood. The Lincoln was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992, due to its historical significance, including:

“The building was developed by an African-American fraternal organization; constructed by an African-American construction company; managed by an important local African-American entrepreneur; and was a center for stage and screen entertainment for Columbus’ African-American population for decades. It is one of the best remaining vestiges of early 20th century African-American history in the city.”

Source: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/19388

* Dayton (West Side), OH: Classic Theatre – 815 W. 5th Street (1927-1959) – Performances by many jazz greats took place upstairs in the ballroom, while first-run movies were shown in the theatre. Sadly, it was demolished in 1991 despite efforts to save this important historic venue.

    • Believed to be the first theatre in the nation built, owned, and operated by African-Americans.

Dayton (West Side), OH: Palace Theatre – 1125 W. 5th Street (1927-1950s) – movies continued to be shown here into the 1970s. Many of the jazz elite played here. Once again another prominent African-American theater was demolished; this time in 2002.

Denver (Five Points), CO: Roxy Theatre – 2549 Welton Street (1934-?) – African-American theatre. Converted to a club called the Roxy. Now a live performance and events venue using the original name.

Detroit, MI: Fox Theatre – 2211 Woodward Avenue (1928-1970s) – a jazz venue on the segregation-era Chitlin’ Circuit. Restored in the 1980s. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985 and a National Historic Landmark in 1989. It is the largest of the Fox Theatres.

Detroit, MI: Michigan Theatre – 238 Bagley Avenue (1926-1940) – Movies only shown between 1940 and 1975. Briefly operated as a nightclub until it was converted into a parking structure after closing in 1976.

Source: hourdetroit.com

*Detroit (Midtown/Paradise Valley), MI: Paradise Theatre – 3711 Woodward Avenue (1941-1951) – Prior to 1940 the building was known as Orchestra Hall. Sat vacant after closing for several decades before being restored and reopened as Orchestra Hall again – the Detroit Symphony Orchestra re-occupied the building in 1989 and has been performing there ever since. Added to the National; Register of Historic Places in 1971.

    • In its heyday, the Paradise was important to African-Americans in Detroit as the Apollo was to those in Harlem.

Fort Wayne, IN: Embody Theatre – (1928-1971) – name changed to Embassy Theatre in 1952. Building has be restored and renovated as a performing arts venue. It has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Hartford, CT: State Theatre – Main & Morgan Streets (1926-1962) – demolished.

Indianapolis, IN: Indiana Theatre – 136 W. Washington Street (1927- 1980) – its Indiana Rooftop Ballroom (address 140 W. Washington) was a jazz and swing-era venue until 1958, though due to segregation laws, African-Americans were limited to attending shows held at the Walker Theatre (see below). The main theatre was converted to showing films only in 1933. The facility became home to the Indiana Repertory Theatre in 1980 and remained so since then. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

*Indianapolis (Indiana Avenue), IN: Madame Walker Theatre – (1927-1960s) – now a cultural and historical center with performing arts. A jazz venue on the segregation-era Chitlin’ Circuit. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991. A new $15 million restoration is underway.

    • Funded by the first African-American female millionaire entrepreneur and hometown philanthropist, Madame C.J. Walker.

Jacksonville (LaVilla), FL: Ritz Theatre (originally the Rizoli Theatre) – West State & Davis Streets (1929-1971) – A jazz venue on the segregation-era Chitlin’ Circuit. Sadly demolished. A new Ritz Theatre opened on the site in 1999.

Jacksonville (LaVilla), FL: Strand Theatre – 701 W. Asheley Street (1915-1930) – One of the original TOBA theatre (Theatrical Owners Booking Agency), but after the nearby Ritz Theatre opened in 1929, the theatre’s prominence ended. It closed in 1968 and was demolished in 1969 after a fire.

Kansas City, MO: Mainstreet/Empire Theatre (now the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema) – 1400 Main Street (1921-1941) – exclusively films after 1941. Closed in 1985, but renovated, restored, and reopened in 2009. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

Lexington, KY: Lyric Theatre – 300 E. 3rd Street (1948-1963) – a late jazz age venue that welcomed performers as part of the segregation-era Chitlin’ Circuit. Closed in 1963 and stood vacant until being renovated and reopen as a theatre and African-American cultural center in 2010.

Los Angeles, CA: Orpheum Theatre – 842 S. Broadway (1926-1950s) – switched to rock and roll acts in the 1960s. Restored in 1989 and still in use.

Louisville, KY: National Theatre – 500 W. Muhammed Ali Boulevard (1913-1952) – a jazz venue on the segregation-era Chitlin’ Circuit. Unfortunately, the facility was bulldozed for a parking lot in 1953.

Macon, GA: Douglass Theatre – 355 Martin Luther King Boulevard (1920-1972) – Established by African-American Charles Douglass and included as part of the Theatre Operators Booking Agency (TOBA). Restored and reopened in 1997, approximately 25 years after closing.

Marion, IN: Luna-Lite Theatre – 113 W. 4th Street (1910-1952) – originally opened as the Orpheum Theatre. Live jazz performances were added in the 1920s as Bix Beiderbecke and the Wolverines played here in the spring of 1924 with the Charlie Davis Band. This may have been the first theatre performance by Bix and the Wolverines who previously had primarily played in bars, dance halls, and at Indiana University fraternities. Unfortunately, this theatre was demolished in 1952.

Milwaukee (Bronzeville), WI: Rose/Regal Theatre – North MLK Drive (1917-1958) – demolished and now a housing development is located on the site.

Nashville, TN: Bijou Theatre – 423 4th Avenue North (1904-1957) – flagship theatre of one of the first African-American theatre chains in the South. Part of the Theatre Owners Booking Association. Unfortunately, it was demolished in 1957 for a new Municipal Auditorium.

*New York City (Harlem), NY: Apollo Theatre – 253 W 125th Street (1914-present) – opened originally as the white’s-only venue named the Hurting & Seamon’s New Burlesque Theater. Changed to the Apollo in 1934 when it opened to African-Americans.  A venue on the segregation-era Chitlin’ Circuit. Added to the New York City Landmarks’ List and the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

New York City (Midtown), NY: Capitol Theatre – 1645 Broadway (1919-1968) – demolished in 1968.

New York City (Harlem), NY: Douglas Theatre – 652 Lenox Avenue (1919-1922) operated as a whites-only venue in Harlem next to the Cotton Club. The building was demolished in 1958.

Source: cinema treasures.org

*New York City (Harlem), NY: Lafayette Theatre – 132nd Street & 7th Avenue (1912-1951).

    • Duke Ellington made his New York City debut here in 1923.
    • The Lafayette was also one of the first theatres in New York City to allow African-Americans to desegregate and sit on the main floor with whites.

It became a church in the 1950s. Sadly, the building was dramatically altered in 1990 and demolished in 2013.

*New York City (Harlem), NY: Lincoln Theatre – 58 W. 135th Street near Lenox Avenue (1915-1960s). Has been part of a church since the 1960s.

    • The Lincoln was the first theatre in Harlem (then a primarily white community) to cater exclusively to African-American audiences.

Oakland, CA: Pantages Theatre, a.k.a. the Lurie, Hippodrome, Premier, Roosevelt, and Downtown (1912-1946) – now mixed use space and park of the Downtown Oakland Historic District.

*Oklahoma City (Deep Deuce), OK: Aldridge Theatre – 303 N. 2nd Street (1919-1940) – Part of the TOBA chain of African-American owned theatres. Only showed movies solely in the 1940s and 1950s. Sadly demolished.

Peoria, IL: Palace Theatre – 437 Main Street (1921-1963) – the saying, “If it’ll play in Peoria” originated here. Remodeled in 1974, but was closed in 1980 and later demolished.

*Philadelphia, PA: Earle Theatre – 1046 Market Street (1924-1953) –  Recording artists appeared here to promote their records, as movies were secondary. Demolished in 1953.

*Philadelphia, PA: Dunbar/Lincoln Theatre  – SW corner of Broad & Lombard Streets (1919-1955) – erected by African-American bankers. Renamed the Lincoln in 1931. Hosted many African-American performers from the 1920s-1940s. Sadly, this historic site has been demolished.

“From the beginning, the theater played a critical role in addition to serving as the city’s most desirable stage for African American performers. The Lincoln was often dedicated to race relations, human rights and political protest.”

Source: http://www.phillyhistory.org/blog/index.php/2017/04/burning-it-up-at-the-lincoln-from-mini-the-moocher-to-hitler-in-effigy/ 

*Philadelphia, PA: Pearl Theatre – 21st and Ridge Avenue (1927-1963) – the theatre was a notable jazz and dance venue. Demolished in 1970.

    • Pearl Bailey was discovered here during one of their amateur contests.

*Philadelphia, PA: Royal Theatre (1920-1976) – the theatre had an all African-American staff. It hosted many jazz luminaries, talent competitions, and radio shows. While it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, the facade is all that remains of this historic venue.

*Philadelphia, PA: Standard Theatre – 1100 block of South Street (circa 1914-1931) – a regular stop for African-American performers. Became movies only venue in 1931 and closed in 1954. The theatre was demolished in 1957.

Source: philadephiabuildings.org

*Philadelphia, PA: Uptown Theatre – 2240 N. Broad Street (1929-1978) – undergoing renovation and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.  The theatre was famous for its amateur night competitions and was a jazz venue on the segregation-era Chitlin’ Circuit.

    • At one point during the late 1950s/early 1960s, the Uptown rivaled Harlem’s Apollo Theatre for prominence.

Pittsburgh (Hill District), PA – Elmore Theatre – 2312 Centre Avenue (1923-1930) – showed only movies after 1930 until 1933 when it was converted into the Savoy Ballroom.

Pittsburgh (Hill District), PA: New Granada Theatre (also once known as the Pythian Theatre) – 1909 Centre Avenue (1928-?) – local leaders are looking for ways to restore the theatre.

Pittsburgh (Hill District), PA: Roosevelt Theatre – 1862 Centre Avenue (1929-?) – Nicknamed “The Show Place of the Hill.” Appears to have been demolished.

Pittsburgh (Downtown), PA: Stanley Theatre – 237 7th Street (1928-1946) – Pittsburgh’s premiere movie and music venue for many years, particularly during the Big Band era. Movies only from 1946 until the mid-1970s. Later, it was renovated and renamed the Benedum Center and still being used today for events and performing arts.

*Richmond (Jackson Ward/The Deuce), VA: Hippodrome Theatre – Second Street (1914-1970) – a jazz venue on the segregation-era Chitlin’ Circuit. Fully restored and a key African-American cultural site in the city.

San Francisco, CA: Golden Gate Theatre – 1 Taylor Street (1922-1972) – closed in 1972, but reopened in 1979 as a performance venue.

Seattle, WA: Pantages/Palomar Theatre – 1300 3rd Avenue at University Street (1915-1965) – was demolished in 1965.

*Washington, DC: Dunbar Theatre – 1901 7th Street NW (1920-1960) – floors above the theatre itself were occupied by the Southern Aid Society, which is the oldest African-American insurance company in the country. It was closed in 1960, but aded to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. It now houses a bank branch.

*Washington, DC: Howard Theatre – 620 T. Street (1910-1970 and 1974-present) – one of the jazz venues on the segregation-era Chitlin’ Circuit. Renovated in 2012. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.


Posted in art, cities, Communications, culture, diversity, economic development, entertainment, geography, historic preservation, history, inclusiveness, music, placemaking, Radio, songs, theaters, tourism, Travel | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Thriving and Inclusive First-Ring/Inner Suburbs

Coral Gables, FL – Source: flickr.com

As metropolitan areas grow in population or enlarge their land area by sprawl, gradually, the innermost or first-ring suburbs start to experience some of the same problems that the core city have found challenging. This is particularly true in regions where the population is stagnant and/or declining. These problems could include but are not limited to crime, white-flight, decreasing property values, lack of land to expand, increased poverty, and aging infrastructure.

Clayton, MO – Source: pinterest.com

However, there are a number inner first ring suburbs who have bucked this scenario altogether or have reversed/stymied an initial downward spiral to thrive within their existing skin. The list below identifies some of these thriving inner suburbs.

  • Bethesda, Maryland – an incorporated suburb abutting Washington, DC
  • Brookhaven, Georgia – a freshly minted suburb abutting Atlanta
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts – historic and very dense suburb of Boston
  • Clayton, Missouri – the administrative heart of St. Louis County, adjacent to the city of the same name
  • Coral Gables, Florida – located just south/southwest of downtown Miami
  • Dunwoody, Georgia – another newly incorporated suburb of Atlanta
  • East Lansing, Michigan – Big 10 college town adjacent to Lansing
  • Evanston, Illinois – another Big 10 town just north of Chicago
  • Garland, Texas – first ring suburb on the northeast side of Dallas
  • Glendale, California – inner suburb just north of LA
  • Jeffersonville, Indiana – river town across from Louisville, Kentucky
  • Lakewood, Colorado – inner suburb located just west of Denver
  • Oak Park, Illinois – city famous for Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and abuts Chicago
  • Quincy, Massachusetts – located directly southeast of Boston
  • Richardson, Texas – northern, inner suburb of Dallas
  • Sandy Springs, Georgia – a third relatively newly incorporated suburb of Atlanta
  • Santa Clara, California – located just west of San Jose
  • Santa Monica, California – Beach Bum town abutting LA
  • Silver Spring, Maryland – another unincorporated Maryland suburb of DC
  • Skokie, Illinois – just west of Evanston and north of Chicago
  • Tempe, Arizona – Pac 12 desert college town on manmade lake next to Phoenix
  • Winter Park, Florida – abutting Orlando – my favorite first-ring suburb of them all
  • Wyoming, Michigan – just south of fast growing Grand Rapids

The critical questions are, how have these particular communities continued to succeed while others have languished or failed? And, what are some of the factors that set these communities apart from those that may still languish. Well, the following are a some common factors that this urban planner has identified that may be the secret sauce to their current and continued success.

Silver Spring, MD – Source: doubletree3.hilton.com

Access to mass transit – from the Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) serving Wyoming, Michigan to the famous MTA in Cambridge and Quincy, Massachusetts; many of the cities listed above have access to modern transit options like BRT, light rail, and commuter rail. The only exceptions on this list are Jeffersonville, Santa Monica, and East Lansing.

Colleges and universities – having a college or university in your community immediately raises its potential for being a thriving first-ring suburb, as the presence of well-educated college students adds vibrancy to the community’s social and economic well-being. On the list above Bethesda (Unformed Services University), Brookhaven (Oglethorpe), Cambridge (Harvard and MIT), Clayton (Washington University), Coral Gables (University of Miami), Dunwoody (Georgia State-Dunwoody), East Lansing (MSU), Evanston (Northwestern), Glendale (Glendale CC), Lakewood (Colorado Christian, Rocky Mtn. College of Art & Design, and Red Rocks CC), Quincy (quincy College and Eastern Nazarene), Richardson (UT-Dallas and Richardson CC), Santa Clara (Santa Clara), Tempe (ASU), and Winter Park (Rollins) are beneficiaries from the town/gown relationship.

Tempe, AZ – Source: en.wikipedia.org

Cultural amenities – first-ring suburbs themselves do not necessarily have to have these cultural institutions within their boundaries, but they naturally benefit by being in closer proximity than outlying and exurban suburbs. That said, many of these communities posses an impressive array of such amenities on their own. Some examples include:

  • Six (6) museums in Cambridge
  • Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens in Coral Gables
  • Broad Art Museum in East Lansing
  • W.J. Beal Botanical Garden in East Lansing
  • Ladd Arboretum in Evanston
  • Granville Arts Center in Garland
  • Museum of Neon Art (MONA) in Glendale
  • Three (3) gardens in Glendale (Descanso, Japanese Friendship, and Glendale Heritage)
  • Big Four Bridge and Station in Jeffersonville
  • Frank Lloyd Wright sites in Oak Park
  • Oak Park Conservatory in Oak Park
  • Dallas Repertory Theater in Richardson
  • Adams National Historical Park in Quincy
  • U.S. Naval Shipbuilding Museum in Quincy
  • Great America Amusement Park in Santa Clara
  • Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara
  • Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica
  • Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center – Sandy Springs
  • AFI Docs Film Festival – Silver Spring
  • Jazz Festival – Silver Spring
  • Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie
  • NorthShore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie
  • Music Walk in Tempe
  • Cornell Fine Arts Museum in Winter Park
  • Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park
  • Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens in Winter Park
  • Sidewalk Art Festival in Winter Park

Denser development – While not always the case, the vast majority of these first-ring suburbs are developed at a denser rate that their outlying counterparts. For the places listed who are completely encircled by other communities (Cambridge, Clayton, Evanston, Glendale, Richardson, Santa Clara, Santa Monica, Skokie, and Tempe) allowing increased densities and or taller building heights may be the only method for increasing the city’s population or for enabling substantial economic expansion.

Here are some comparable data on current estimated population densities:

  1. Cambridge = 17,014 people/square mile
  2. Oak Park = 11,062 people/square mile
  3. Santa Monica = 10,962 people/square mile
  4. Silver Spring = 9,896 people/square mile
  5. Evanston = 9,702 people/square mile
  6. Santa Clara = 6,667 people/square mile
  7. Glendale, CA = 6,503 people/square mile
  8. Skokie = 6,446 people/square mile
  9. Clayton = 6,390 people/square mile
  10. Quincy = 5,568 people/square mile
  11. Bethesda = 4,721 people/square mile
  12. Brookhaven = 4,452 people/square mile
  13. Tempe = 4,370 people/square mile
  14. Garland = 4,117 people/square mile
  15. Coral Gables = 3,908 people/square mile
  16. Richardson = 3,792 people/square mile
  17. Dunwoody = 3,696 people/square mile
  18. East Lansing = 3,603 people/square mile
  19. Lakewood = 3,486 people/square mile
  20. Winter Park = 3,400 people/square mile
  21. Wyoming = 3,034 people/square mile
  22. Sandy Spring = 2,714 people/square mile
  23. Jeffersonville = 1,361 people/square mile

*Both Garland and Richardson have higher population densities than the core city of Dallas which is 3,645 people/square mile.

*Tempe has a greater population density that Phoenix which is 3,005 people/square mile.

*Both Brookhaven and Dunwoody have higher population densities than the core city of Atlanta which sits at 3,420 people/square mile.

*Oak Park’s density is nearly has high as that of Chicago which is 11,938 people/square mile.

As may be evidenced by the photographs included with this post, some of these inner suburbs have fairly impressive skylines other own. In particular – Brookhaven, Cambridge, Clayton, Coral Gables, Dunwoody, Evanston, Oak Park, Sandy Springs, Sant Monica, Silver Spring, and Tempe have quite the skylines.

Diverse and inclusive populations – every one of these inner suburbs has at least one minority demographic group (either African-American, Asian, Native American, or Hispanic/Latino) composing a minimum of  ten percent (10%) of its total population in the 2010 Census. While not necessarily a requirement for growth, a diverse and welcoming population is a critical factor in building a thriving and socially-healthy community, whether it’s a core city, inner suburb, or exurb. A plural and multicultural community not only help to build understanding and trust, but helps fend off white-flight, racism, bigotry, misogyny, anti-LGBTQ bias, and religious divisions.

One might not typically think of Texas as the most inclusive (or welcoming) state in the union for immigrants, but more than 12 percent of Garland’s population was born in Vietnam.  Similarly, nearly one-quarter of Richardson, Texas’ population is foreign born; primarily Chinese, Indian, and Vietnamese-Americans. Further to the east, nearly a quarter of the population of Quincy, Massachusetts is also Asian, with two0thirds being Chinese-Americans.

An inclusive community enjoys the symbiotic benefits of cross-pollination of ideas, beliefs, cuisines, and cultures that make this nation so unique and help build economic growth through the exchange of ideas. Outside of a few areas like Chicago, Detroit, and college towns, this is one criteria where suburbs in the Midwest tend to fall woefully short. In fact, trying to locate prosperous inner suburbs in the Midwest that actually met the ten percent (10%) threshold was quite difficult – that, in itself is a very sad commentary, as maintaining such divisions is one of the factors that appears to hold the Midwest back compared to other regions of the country.

Healthy downtown or commercial district – a vitally important factor is having a healthy downtown or commercial district where residents may live or walk/bike to shop, learn, play, and work. Not all of the first-ring suburbs listed above meet this criteria yet. For them to continue to thrive, developing a healthy and vibrant downtown/commercial district will become increasingly critical.

Glendale, CA – Source: totalmortgage.com

Major employers – being the home of major private and/or public sector employers is always a plus, particularly if they are an organization with a long local historic with deep roots in the community. Clayton (county government), Bethesda (multiple federal institutions), Jeffersonville (Census Bureau), Lakewood (Denver Federal Center), Silver Spring (FDA), as well as most of the cities with colleges/universities located within their borders exemplify communities with major public sector employers.

Private sector employers include commercial, retail, wholesale, industrial, office, manufacturing, and service-oriented businesses, as well as cottage industries.

Proximity to the core city’s downtown and amenities – all of the communities listed benefit from easy access and proximity to the core city of their metropolitan area.

Research and medical institutions – The National Institute of Health (NIH), Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission are all located in Bethesda. The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB)  is in East Lansing. These institutions, as well as major hospitals, particularly teaching hospitals, are important catalysts for economic growth through scientific and medical research. The UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, University of Miami Hospital in Coral Gables, NorthShore University Health System and Presence St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, four (4) hospitals in Bethesda, and two (2) hospitals each in both Glendale and Cambridge are all teaching hospitals.

Evanston, IL – Source: flickr.com


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Ten Planning Lessons from Orlando/Winter Park

Source: floridatraveler.com

In terms of diversity and inclusiveness, the Orlando region of today is much improved compared to the Orlando of 50 years ago.

Unlike much of the Orlando area, Winter Park has successfully maintained/employed new urbanism, walkability, and traffic calming techniques such as brick streets, narrow streets, and traffic islands.

Source: blog.eragrizzard.com

If a encircled inner suburb city wants to learn how to remain vibrant and thrive, then it should closely study Winter Park, Florida.

Source: atlantamagazine.com

Cities like Orlando-Winter Park and Minneapolis that are dotted with crystal blue lakes benefit from the scenic vistas, open spaces, and refreshing and cooling air derived from these lakes.

Despite continuous sprawl, there are truly beautiful inner city neighborhoods in Orlando (such as Ivanhoe Village, Audubon Park, and Lake Eola Heights) and throughout much of Winter Park that don’t require lengthy and wasteful automobile commutes.

The amount and extent of planning that is necessary to prepare a community and to adapt its infrastructure for future hurricanes is enormous and impressive.

Major airports like Orlando International, are vast cities unto themselves with their own issues of transportation/mass transit, employment, governing, environmental, crime, waste removal, and temporary housing (hotels) to tackle.

Orlando International Airport – billerreinhart.com

Residents of cities with numerous toll highways probably have a better understanding of the true costs of highway construction, care, and maintenance when they are paying toll charges every few miles than those who drive freeways.

A rhetorical question – Is there a point where a city/region has forsaken itself by becoming too much of a tourist town?

Despite the region’s many successes, as was so well depicted in the film, The Florida Project; there still remains a nagging sense of despair beneath the glossy surface glitz in this land of magic and theme parks.

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Ten Planning Lessons from Traverse City

Source: traversecity.com

Now that we have lived in Traverse City for almost four years, it is time to list the ten top planning lessons learned from our hometown. Sometimes, evaluation of the places closest to you are the toughest.

  • Smaller cities and towns can effect change much more quickly that larger urban centers, but the outcry/push-back over those changes can be very loud.
  • One particularly vocal and wealthy segment of a smaller city can have far too much control over progress…or the lack thereof.
  • Affordable housing is a big issue, as service workers, public employees, and young families struggle to find a nearby place to live. Furthermore, big cities are not the only ones dealing with a significant homeless problem.
  • To truly flourish and reach their ultimate potential, smaller, homogenized cities must become more inclusive to all. Traverse City has succeeded on several fronts — particularly with opportunities for women, seniors, and the LGBTQ community, but the area must continue striving to reach out and attract more people of color, immigrants, and those with diverse religious beliefs.
  • An amazing array of non-profits and charitable organizations can develop in a smaller community when there are good people who are passionate about the factors in life that matter most (and they are NOT money, profits, or business).
  • More profound respect and honor for those who lived here first and who have shared the land with us is needed both here and just about everywhere else in the country. Locally, Traverse City has been truly blessed by a generous and welcoming community of Native Americans.
  • If not properly managed and planned for, mass tourism and short-term rentals can be a clear and present danger to the health and vitality of smaller tourist cities too, not just Venice, Barcelona, and the like.
  • Unfortunately, the “good ole boy network” remains alive and well in many places – here it is particularly present in the surrounding suburban, exurban, and rural areas.
  • Some of the best cutting-edge planning techniques and tools can be developed in smaller cities.
  • On the flip side, a surprising proportion of locals don’t care to hear ideas from either newcomers (someone who has lived here for less than 25 years) or from non-locals, regardless of education or credentials.
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Temples of Jazz – The Ballrooms


Aragon Ballroom in Chicago – Source: ballroom-chicago.com

This post is the first of a three-part series about those special places that brought the jazz era to life beyond the recording studio and radio station. The ballrooms, theaters, and smokey clubs are where jazz musicians were able to interact with and play music live for their adoring fans.

Vanity Ball Room in Detroit – Source: america.ctgn.com

Unfortunately, while researching the history the ballroom temples of jazz, it quickly became apparent how unfairly African-American musicians and their black fans were accommodated compared to how white performers and their fans were treated. While this difference is clearly associated with the ongoing segregationist Jim Crow laws of the time, it is still painful to read about the extent some people in our country went to separate the races for no good reason other than blatant bigotry.

El Torreon Ballroom in Kansas City – Source: kcjazzhistory.kcai-sites.com

This unjust and unequal treatment only began to change in the late 1950s and 1960s as integration and desegregation became the law of the land.  For the jazz era, this much needed change was largely too late for the genre, as it had already reached its pinnacle of popularity. Sadly, the examples provided below, all too often remind one of today’s efforts to diminish and disdain people of color, women, the LGBTQ community, and those with non-Christina religious beliefs.

Trianon Ballroom in Chicago – Source: about.colum.edu

Here’s a short paragraph from The Encyclopedia of Chicago on dance halls that refers to the abject segregation that took place amongst ballrooms there during much of the Jazz Age.

“The Trianon, White City Ballroom and Casino, and the Coconut Grove Ballroom had a whites-only policy. Thus, dance halls emerged for the African Americans streaming to the South Side. Lincoln Gardens, Dreamland Ballroom, and many others dotted “the Stroll ” at Thirty-Fifth and State; later in the 1920s the Savoy Ballroom opened on Forty-Seventh. Home to the jazz that accompanied newcomers from New Orleans during the Great Migration, the dance halls also helped southern blacks adjust to urban, albeit segregated, patterns of entertainment.”

Savoy Ballroom in Chicago – Source: pinterest.com

Several of the sad examples of Jim Crow era segregation rules employed by certain ballrooms included:

  • As noted above, a number of the venues listed were open to whites-only, even if the performers were African-Americans. The term “refined dancing”was often used, especially in the early days of jazz.
  • Some venues only allowed African-Americans to attend performances by watching from the balconies, while in one case, the opposite was true.
  • Certain venues (including Sweet’s in Oakland, California) held unannounced and unpublicized concerts/dances for African-American fans the night following  a whites-only show.
  • In the 1920s, Royal/Lincoln Gardens in Chicago held a Midnight Ramble on Wednesday nights where they had an 8 pm show for African Americans, followed by an 11 pm show for whites-only.
  • One venue in particular (Topper Ballroom in Cincinnati), operated the ballroom under a different name (Graystone Ballroom) when African-American performers were playing at the facility.
  • Very few venues, such as the Savoy in Harlem, allowed the races to mix and enjoy the performances together at concerts/dances.

One of the strangest historical details identified while compiling this information is the ridiculous number of ballrooms that met their untimely or ultimate fate due to fires (23 ballrooms on the list below). It is not known whether faulting wiring, bad maintenance, or more suspicious causes led to these conflagrations, but at least a few were identified in online articles as arson related. Give the state of American race relations at the time, one has to wonder if that had anything to do with some of these fires.

Idora Park Ballroom fire – Source: ytownfiredept.tripod.com

Those that did not succumb to fire were often demolished in the name of urban renewal or highway construction – far too often aimed directly at then-vibrant historically black communities and neighborhoods.

Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa – Source: surfballroom.com

On a happier note, a good number of the venues that have survived are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. While this designation does not guarantee long-term survival, it is definitely helpful, particularly in increasing the chances of obtaining low-interest loans and grants for restoration and renovation.

Source: pinterest.com

One last interesting tidbit is the apparent lack of ballroom jazz venues in its birthplace — New Orleans. To date, a Jazz Age ballroom has yet to be identified in the city. This may be due to the popularity of the small clubs, juke joints, and similar venues in the Crescent City. It may also have had something to do with segregation, as well because there are comparatively few southern cities on the list provided below.

Source: nickcassway.com

Those ballroom venues where more information would be helpful are identified in italics with the phrase “more details needed.

Source: pinterest.com(

The list is presented with the city (neighborhood or suburb), state abbreviation: address (years in operation as primarily a jazz music venue) – and then details on the venue’s other names, its continued history, its preservation, and/or its demise are provided when known.

Any corrections, additions, suggestions, or clarifications are always most welcome.



Ballrooms from the Jazz Age:

  • Allentown,PA: Empire Ballroom – Hanover Avenue – more details needed
  • Allentown (Rittersville), PA: Frolics Ballroom – 1411 Union Boulevard (ca. 1915-1941) – part of Central Park Amusement Park – destroyed by accidental fire in 1941. The entire park was eventually redeveloped as commercial uses.
  • Allentown, PA: Mealey’s Ballroom – 425 Hamilton Street (1910-1940) – converted to a roller rink in 1941. Operated as a roller skating rink k from 1941-1954 and then used as a warehouse until 1961 when it was torn down. Now the site of City Hall.
  • Appleton, WI: Cinderella Ballroom – 2215 S. Oneida Street (1920s-1981) – demolished in 1985.
  • Ashbury Park, NJ: State Ballroom – Springwood & Atkins – more details needed
  • Atlantic City, NJ: Steel Pier Ballroom – 1000 Boardwalk (1898-1960s) – unused for a number of years, but now mainly amusement rides.
  • Austin, MN: Terp Ballroom (a.k.a. Riverside Ballroom) – 210 Fourth Street NE (1938-1978) – destroyed by fire in 1945 and rebuilt.
  • Baltimore, MD: Alcazar Ballroom – 712 Cathedral Street (1924-1980) – located in the former Alcazar Hotel. Now a part of the Baltimore School of the Arts.
  • Baltimore, MD: Famous Ballroom more details needed
  • Boise, ID: Miramar Ballroom – (1930s-1963) – burned down in 1963.
  • Boston (Salem), MA: Charleshurst Ballroom – (1923 -?) – now known as the Willows Casino Arcade.
  • Boston (Cambridge), MA: Elk’s Ballroommore details needed
  • Boston (Marshfield), MA: Fieldstone Ballroom – (1925-1941) – more details needed
  • Boston (Foxboro), MA: Lakeview Ballroom – (1906-2014) – destroyed by a fire in 2014. Replacement pavilion built in 2015.
  • Boston (Dedham), MA: Moseley’s on the Charles Ballroom – 50 Bridge Street (1905-present) – Oldest continuously running ballroom in the country.
  • Boston (Waltham), MA: Nutting’s Ballroom – (1914-1961) – was originally a boathouse. Burned down in 1965.
  • Boston (Uptown), MA: Raymor-Playmor Ballroom – Huntington Avenue – more details needed
  • Boston (Back Bay), MA: Roseland State Ballroom – Commonwealth Avenue between Huntington and Columbus – Malcolm X worked here shining shoes when he was young.
  • Boston (Newton), MA: Totem Pole Ballroom – Norumbega Amusement Park (1930-1964) – a Marriott Hotel is on the site now.
  • Bridgeport (Black Rock), CT: Ritz Ballroom – Fairfield Avenue (1923-1962) – converted to a furniture store after closure, but burned down in 1970.
  • Brooklyn, NY: Rosemont Ballroom (previously Roseland Ballroom)- Fulton & Flatbush Avenue (?-1942)- destroyed by fire in 1942 – more details needed
  • Buckeye Lake, OH: Pier Ballroommore details needed
  • Buffalo, NY: Town Ballroom (originally Town Casino) – 681 Main Street (1940s-present) – renovated and used as a concert venue.
  • Canton, OH: Moonlight Ballroom (original) – Meyers Lake Park (1927-1979) – destroyed by fire in 1979.
  • Catalina Island, CA: Avalon Ballroom – (1929-present) – world’s largest circular ballroom. Continues to be used as performance
  • Cedar Rapids, IA: Danceland Ballroom – Third Street & A Avenue (1926-1968) – demolished for urban renewal.
  • Chicago (Uptown), IL: Aragon Ballroom – 1106 W. Lawrence (1926-present)
  • Chicago (Uptown), IL: Arcadia Ballroom – 4432 N. Broadway (1910-1933) – hosted primarily sporting events after 1933 until the buildings was destroyed by fire in 1959
  • Chicago (Woodlawn), IL: Cinderella’s Ballroom, a.k.a. The Grand Ballroom – 6351 S. Cottage Grove (1923-present).
  • Chicago, IL: Coconut Grove Ballroom – operated under a whites-only policy – more details needed
  • Chicago (Bronzeville), IL: Dreamland Ballroom – 1761 W. Van Buren Street (1915-ca. 1930) – closed after the death of its owner. I-290 passes through the site today. Operated exclusively for white audiences.
  • Chicago (Bronzeville), IL: Forum Hall Ballroom – 324 E. 43rd Street at Calumet Avenue (1889-present).
  • Chicago (Bronzeville), IL: Grand Terrace Ballroom – 313 E. 35th Street (1909-1940) – now a privately owned events center.
  • Chicago, IL: Marigold Ballroommore details needed
  • Chicago (North Riverside), IL: Melody Mill Ballroom – 2401 Des Plaines Avenue (1930-1984) – closed in 1984.
  • Chicago (Woodlawn), IL: Midway Gardens Ballroom – Cottage Grove & 60th Street (1914-1929) demolished in 1929.
  • Chicago, IL: Parkway Ballroom – 4455 S. King Drive (1940-1974).
  • Chicago (Woodlawn), IL: Pershing Ballroom – Cottage Gove and E. 64th Street – in the Pershing Hotel. More details needed.
  • Chicago, IL: Ritz Ballroom – Garfield Boulevard – more details needed
  • Chicago (Bronzeville), IL: Royal/Lincoln Gardens Ballroom – 459 E. 31st Street (1921-1927) – On Wednesday nights, the musicians played for African-American guests from 8-11 pm and then whites-only for the 11 pm show.
  • Chicago (Bronzeville), IL: Savoy Ballroom – 4733 S. MLK Boulevard (1927-1954) – demolished in the 1970s, but now the site of the Harold Washington Cultural Center.
  • Chicago (Woodlawn), IL: Trianon Ballroom – 6201 S. Cottage Grove (1922-1958) – demolished in 1967 for a low-income urban renewal project. During much of the Jazz Age it operated under a whites-only policy.
  • Chicago, IL: White City Ballroom (a.k.a. Amusement Park Ballroom)- Parkway & 63rd Street (1905-1950) – during much of the Jazz Age in operated under a whites-only policy – more details needed.
  • Chicago (Willow Springs), IL: Willowbrook Ballroom (a.k.a. O;Henry Ballroom) – 8900 Archer Avenue (1921-2016) – destroyed by fire in 2016.
  • Cincinnati, OH: Topper Ballroom [a.k.a. Greystone (1928-1936) and Trianon(1936)] – second floor of Cincinnati Music Hall (1928-1974) – would use the name Greystone Ballroom for African-American events after 1936.
  • Clear Lake IA: Surf Ballroom (original) – North Shore Drive (1934-1946) – destroyed by fire in 1946. New location built across the street.
  • Clear Lake, IA: Surf Ballroom (second) – 460 North Shore Drive (1948-1994) – Reopened for tours and as a concert and events venue in 1998.  Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011 and the Iowa Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
  • Cleveland, OH: Aragon Ballroom – 3179 W. 25th Street (1933-1989).
  • Cleveland, OH: Osters Ballroom – 2052 E. 105th Street (1925-?) – more details needed
  • Cleveland, OH: The Crystal Slipper, later the Trianon Ballroom – 9810 Euclid Avenue (1924-1950s) – razed for a parking lot
  • Columbus (King-Lincoln), OH: Lincoln Theatre Ballroom – 769 E. Long Street (1928-present) – Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.
  • Columbus, OH: Valley Dale Ballroom – 1590 Sunbury Road (1922-?) – remains in use as an event venue. Added to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Dallas, TX: Skylon Ballroommore details needed
  • Davenport, IA: The Col Ballroom – 1012 W. 4th Street (1914-2018) – on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Davenport,IA: Danceland Ballroom – 501 W. 4th (1920-?) now used as an events center.
  • Dayton, OH: Graystone Ballroommore details needed
  • Denver (Five Points), CO: Casino Cabaret/Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom – 2637 Welton Street (1930s-present) – remains a music venue today.
  • Denver, CO: El Patio Ballroom – Lakeside Amusement Park (1908-?)
  • Denver, CO: Orpheum Ballroom – 1425 Welton Street – more details needed
  • Des Moines, IA: Shelburn Gardens/Billiken Ballroom – 790 12th Street (1921-1960s) – later known as the 790 Club.
  • Des Moines, IA: Tromar Ballroom – 5th & Park Street – more details needed
  • Des Moines (West Des Moines), IA: Val-Air Ballroom – Ashworth & 63rd Street (1939-present) – continues to operate today as a live music and events venue.
  • Detroit, MI: Arcadia Ballroom “The Arc” – 3527 Woodward Avenue (1912-1923 and 1929-1941) – converted to a roller skating rink in 1941. Demolished in 1972 for senior housing.
  • Detroit (Eastpointe), MI: Eastwood Park Ballroommore details needed
  • Detroit, MI: Grande Ballroom – 8952 Grand River Avenue (1928-1972) – last performances in 1972. Vacant and deteriorating
  • Detroit, MI: Graystone Ballroom – 4237 Woodward Avenue (1922-1963)- demolished in 1980.
  • Detroit (Luna Pier), MI: Luna Pier Ballroom – 10721 Victory Road (1920s-?) – permanently closed.
  • Detroit (Jefferson-Chalmers), MI: Vanity Ballroom – 1024 Newport at Jefferson (1929-1988) – Jefferson East, Inc. is raising funds for its restoration. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
  • Dixon, IL: Armory Ballroommore details needed
  • Fall River (Westport), MA: Lincoln Park Ballroom – Lincoln Amusement Park (1894-1987 – gradually declined and abandoned.
  • Fargo. ND: Crystal Ballroom – First Avenue South & Broadway – more details needed
  • Fitchburg (Gardner), MA: Arcadia Ballroom – S. High Street – more details needed
  • Fort Lee, NJ: Mardi Gras Ballroommore details needed
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL: Trianon Ballroom – S. Andrews Avenue (1935-?) – more details needed
  • Gary-Hammond (Robertsdale), IN: Danceland Ballroom – Calumet Avenue & 114th Street (1929-1967) – destroyed by fire in 1967.
  • Gary-Hammond (Cedar Lake, IN: Midway Ballroom – destroyed by fire in 1987.
  • Gary-Hammond (Gary), IN: Miramar Ballroom – 14th & Madison – more details needed
  • Grand Island, NE: Glovera Ballroom – Fourth Street (1928-1956) – destroyed by fire in 1956.
  • Grand Forks (East Grand Forks), ND/MN: States Ballroom – (1935-1950) 1024 Demers Avenue – destroyed by fire in 1950.
  • Hamilton, ON – Pier Ballroom – Beach Boulevard
  • Harrisburg (Old Midtown), PA: Capitol Ballroom – 1110 N. Third Street – now part of the Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center.
  • Harrisburg, PA: Madrid Ballroom – 3rd & Chestnut Streets – more details needed
  • Hartford, CT: Crystal Ballroommore details needed
  • Houston, TX: Aragon Ballroom – destroyed by fire in 1945. More details needed.
  • Houston (Third Ward), TX – Eldorado Ballroom – 2310 Elgin Street (1939-early 1970s) – renovated in 2003 and received a Texas Historic Marker designation in 2011
  • Indianapolis (Indiana Avenue), IN: Sunset Terrace Ballroom – Indiana Avenue (1938-late 1950s) – eventually demolished.
  • Kansas City, MO: El Torreon Ballroom – 3101 Gilliam Plaza (1927-1936) – became a supper club in 1936. Used for various activities since and is now an events center. Catered to white-only audiences during the Jazz Age.
  • Kansas City, MO: La Fiesta Ballroom – 41st & Main – more details needed
  • Kansas City, MO: Paseo Ballroom (originally called Delaney’s) – 1414 Truman Road (then 15th Street) (1924-1945) – purchased in 1945 by St. Stephen Baptist Church. Catered to African-American audiences except for two years between 1933-1935.
  • Kansas City, MO: Pla Mor Ballroom – 3142 S. Main Street (1927-1951) – demolished in 1972 to make way for a car dealership. Catered to white-only audiences.
  • Lancaster, PA: Rocky Springs Ballroom – (1924-1987) – destroyed by fire in 1987.
  • Lawrence, MA: Recreation Ballroommore details needed
  • Lincoln, NE: Pla Mor Ballroom – 6600 West O Street (1929-present) – now used as an event center.
  • Lincoln, NE: Turnpike Ballroom – 14th Street (?-1976) – burned down in 1976.
  • Little Rock (The Line), AR: Dreamland Ballroom – 800 W. 9th Street (1918-present) – on the National Register of Historic Places since 1982 with preservation and restoration efforts ongoing.
  • Los Angeles (Santa Monica), CA – Aragon Ballroom (originally Bon Ton Ballroom) – Lick Pier (1922-1970) – destroyed by fire in 1970.
  • Los Angeles, CA: Avodon Ballroom – Main & Spring Streets – more details needed
  • Los Angeles (Culver City), CA: Casa Mañana Ballroom – 8781 Washington Boulevard – more details needed
  • Los Angeles, CA: Diana Ballroom – 4067 W. Pico Boulevard – more details needed
  • Los Angeles (Venice), CA: Fraser’s Ballroom/Pavilionmore details needed
  • Los Angeles (Santa Monica),CA: La Monica Ballroom – (1924-1954) – converted to a roller rink,but demolished in 1963.
  • Los Angeles, CA: Palomar Ballroom (a.k.a. the El Patio Ballroom and Rainbow Gardens)- Vermont Avenue (1925-1939) destroyed by fire in 1939.
  • Los Angeles (Boyle Heights), CA: Paramount Ballroom – 2708 E. Cesar Chavez Avenue  – restored and reopened in 2019.
  • Los Angeles(Hollywood), CA: Sunset Ballroom (upper level of Palladium Theatre) – 6215 Sunset Boulevard (1940-1955) – converted to primarily a Latin music ball room (1955-1976). Recently restored and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.
  • Los Angeles (South Gate), CA: Trianon Ballroom – Firestone Boulevard – more details needed
  • Los Angeles, CA: Vogue Ballroommore details needed
  • Louisville, KY: Madrid Ballroom – Third & Guthrie (1929-1952) – the building was renovated into offices after the ballroom closed.
  • Lowell, MA: Commodore Ballroom (first known as the Casino) – Thorndike Street (1924-1973) – demolished after a fire in 1983.
  • Manchester, NH: Arcadia Ballroommore details needed
  • Manchester, NH: Bedford Gardens Ballroommore details needed
  • Mankato, MN: Kato Ballroom – 200 Chestnut Street (1954-?)
  • Michigan City, IN: Oasis Ballroom – in Washington Park (early 1920s-1962) –  torn down in 1962.
  • Milwaukee, WI: Modernistic Ballroom – State Fairgrounds (1922-?) – more details needed
  • Milwaukee, WI: Wisconsin Roof Ballroom – 536 Wisconsin Avenue (1924-1958) – more details needed
  • Minneapolis, MN: Aragon Ballroom [previously Dreamland Ballroom (1909-1915) and Arcadia Ballroom (1915-1934)] – 315 S. 5th Street (1934- ?) – the building was demolished in 1961.
  • Minneapolis, MN: New Marigold Ballroom – Nicollet Avenue & Grant Street (1926-1975) – demolished in 1975-76 and replaced by a Hyatt Regency Hotel in 1979.
  • Minneapolis, MN: Pla-Mor Ballroom – 724 Fourth Avenue South (1925-?) – more details needed
  • Nashua, NH: Blackbird Ballroommore details needed
  • Newark (Cedar Grove), NJ: Meadowbrook Ballroom – Newark-Pompon Turnpike (1923-1959) – became a dinner theatre in 1959 which operated until 1973. Now part of an orthodox church.
  • New York City (Harlem), NY: Alhambra Ballroom – 126th Street & Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard (1929-?) – Ballroom added to the 1905 theatre in 1929. Converted into an events venue in 2003.
  • New York City (Coney Island), NY: Dreamland Ballroom – at the end of the Steel Pier (1904-1911) – destroyed along with most of the Dreamland Park in 1911.
  • New York City (Harlem), NY: Golden Gate Ballroom (previously State Palace Ballroom) – Lenox Avenue & 142nd Street (1939-1950).
  • New York City (Harlem), NY: Renaissance Ballroom – 7th Avenue & 138th Street (1921-1979) –  Abandoned, deteriorating, and in need of restoration.
  • New York City (Midtown), NY: Roseland Ballroom (original location) – 1658 Broadway (1919-1956) – demolished in 1956.
  • New York City, NY: Royal Windsor Ballroom more details needed
  • New York City (Harlem), NY: Savoy Ballroom – 596 Lenox Avenue (1926-1958) – demolished for a housing development in 1959. Likely the first integrated ballroom venue in America with a non-discrimination policy during segregation and the only one in New York City at the time.
  • Norfolk, VA: Palomar Ballroommore details needed
  • North Adams, MA: Meadowbrook Ballroommore details needed
  • Oakland, CA: Sweet’s Ballroom (a.k.a. McFadden Ballroon in 1930s and Sands Ballroom in the 1970s) – 1933 Broadway – now part of the Oakland School for the Arts. Unannounced dances for African-Americans when African-American bands were in town the following night after the show for whites. This stayed true through WW II.
  • Ogden, UT: White City Ballroom – 25th Street (1922-1979) – has since been torn down.
  • Oklahoma City, OK: Ritz Ballroom – whites only ballroom – more details needed
  • Oklahoma City, OK: Trianon Ballroom (formerly Civic Theatre) – 501 W. California (1907-1960s) – Operated at the Trianon from 1938 to 1958 – torn down in the mid-1960s.
  • Old Orchard Beach, ME: Palace Ballroom – W. Grand Avenue & Staples Street (1934-1967).
  • Old Orchard Beach, ME: Pier Casino Ballroom – Old Orchard Beach Pier (1898-1970).
  • Olympia, WA: Evergreen Ballroom – Olympia-Tacoma Highway – more details needed
  • Omaha, NE: Chermot Ballroom – destroyed by fire in 1943 – more details needed
  • Omaha, NE: Dreamland Ballroom – 2221 N. 24th Street (1923-1965) – It is located on the second floor of the Jewell Building, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Dreamland Historical Project in the neighborhood is attempting to revive North Omaha’s as a jazz center.
  • Orange County, CA:Redondo Beach Ballroom more details needed
  • Orange County (Balboa), CA – Rendezvous Ballroom – (1928-1966) – destroyed by fire in 1966.
  • Orange County (Huntington Beach), CA – Pavalon Ballroom – (?-1966) – destroyed by fire in 1966.
  • Peoria (Edelstein), IL: Hub Ballroom – Main Street (1938-2009) – destroyed by fire in 2009.
  • Philadelphia, PA: Strand Ballroom – Broad & Bainbridge Streets – more details needed
  • Philadelphia (Pottstown), PA: Sunnybrook Ballroom – (1931-2005) – added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.
  • Philadelphia, PA: Trianon Ballroom more details needed
  • Pittsburgh (Hill District), PA: Savoy Ballroom (a.k.a.the Elmore Theatre) – 1923 (Elmore)/1933 (Savoy)-1940 – now a gospel music center for the Olivet Baptist Church
  • Pittsburgh (Hill District), PA: Pythian Temple/New Savoy Ballroom – (1928-1970s)
  • Portland, OR: Crystal Ballroom – 1332 W. Burnside (1914-present) – on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Portland, OR: McElroy’s Spanish Ballroom – SW 4th Avenue & Madison Street (1926-?)
  • Portland, OR: Uptown Ballroom – 21st & W. Burnside – more details needed
  • Pottsville, PA: Ritz Ballroom more details needed
  • Providence (Woonsocket), RI: Miami Ballroommore details needed
  • Reading, PA: Coconut Grove Ballroom – 1016 Penn Street – more details needed
  • Red Wing, MN: Skyline Ballroommore details needed
  • Reno, NV: El Patio Ballroom more details needed
  • Richmond, VA: Mosque Ballroom – 6 N. Laurel Street (1927-1940) – various uses during WWII. Reused as an events venue after WWII. Restored in 2013-14 and now named the Altria Theatre.
  • Richmond, VA: Tantilla Ballroom – 3817 W. Broad Street (1933-1969) – demolished in 1969.
  • Rochester, MN: Pla-Mor Ballroom – 2024 Hwy 14 East (1951-2006) – more details needed
  • Rochester, MN: Valencia Ballroom more details needed
  • Rochester (Edgerton), NY: Edgerton Stardust Ballroom – 41 Backus Street – more than 100 years old – more details needed
  • Sacramento, CA: Elks Tower Ballroom – 11th & J Streets (1922-present) – renovated in 2006.
  • Sacramento, CA: Sweet’s Ballroom more details needed
  • Salt Lake City, UT: Rainbow Rendezvous Ballroom – 47 E. Fifth Avenue South – more details needed
  • Salt Lake City, UT: Saltair II Ballroom – (1926-1942 and 1946-1958) – built after a fire decoyed Saltair I in 1925. Was closed during World War II and opened after the war, but closed again 1958. Destroyed by an arson fire in 1970. Altair III was built nearby.
  • San Diego, CA: Mission Beach Ballroommore details needed
  • San Diego, CA: Pacific Square Ballroom – 1375 Pacific Highway (1940-1988) – torn down in 1988.
  • San Francisco, CA: Trianon Ballroom – 1223 Fillmore – more details needed
  • Santa Cruz (Capitola), CA: Capitola Ballroommore details needed
  • Seattle, WA: Encore Ballroom – 1214 E. Pike Street -now a storage facility.
  • Seattle, WA: Parker’s Ballroom – Aurora Avenue (1930-1980) – converted to a supper club in 1980, then a sports bar, and later demolished in 2012.
  • Seattle (Belltown), WA: Trianon Ballroom – 2505 3rd Street (1926-1956) – converted to an office building.
  • Shreveport, LA: The Roof Garden – 975 Texas Avenue (1923-1940s). Located atop the Calanthean Temple. Hatori marker out front of the building.
  • Sioux City, IA: Skylon Ballroom (originally The Roof Garden) – 520 Nebraska Street (1921-1940s) – Located atop the Commerce Building which is in the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Sioux City, IA: Tomba Ballroom (originally Sioux City Auditorium) – 625 Douglas Street (1947-1956) – became the location of KCAU in 1956. Now the home of the Lamb Arts Regional Theatre.
  • Sioux Falls, SD: Arkota Ballroom – 13th Street & Phillips Avenue (1925-1980) – now owned and operated by the Shriners.
  • Sioux Falls, SD: Neptune Ballroommore details needed
  • Springfield, MA: Butterfly Ballroom more details needed
  • Springfield, MA: Riverside Park Ballroom – Riverside Park (1917-1948) – replaced with a racetrack in 1948.
  • St. Joseph (Coloma), MI: Crystal Palace Ballroom – on Paw Paw Lake (1925-1963) – destroyed by fire in 1965.
  • St. Joseph, MO: Frog Hop Ballroom – Pickett Road (1928-1945) – burned to the ground in 1945.
  • St. Louis (South Side), MO: Casa Loma Ballroom, since 1935 (previously known as Cinderella and Showboat Ballrooms) – 3354 Iowa Avenue (1927-present) – remains in use as an events center.
  • St. Louis, MO: Carioca Ballroom – Sarah & Finney – more details needed
  • St. Louis (Mill Creek Valley), MO: Castle Ballroom (known as Cave Ballroom prior to 1922) – 2839 Olive Avenue (1908-present) – last jazz shows in 1952. Vacant since 1950s. Later impacted by urban renewal projects in the surrounding area. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011, but demolished in 2014 due to roof collapse.
  • St. Paul, MN: Coliseum Ballroom – 449 Lexington Parkway at University (1920s-1958) – more details needed
  • St. Paul (Midway), MN: Prom Ballroom – 1190 University Avenue (1941-1987) – torn down in 1987.
  • Tacoma (Fife), WA: Century Ballroom – 1406 54th Avenue E. (1934-1956) – burned down in 1964.
  • Tacoma, WA: Oakes Ballroommore details needed
  • Tampa, FL: Apollo Ballroom – in the Pyramid/Rogers Hotel – more details needed
  • Taunton, MA: Rosalind Ballroom more details needed
  • Terre Haute, IN: Trianon Ballroom – 29th Street & Wabash Avenue (1923-late 1940s) – torn down in the 1960s for a Topp’s Discount Department Store. Does not appear to be part of the Trianon Ballroom chain.
  • Toledo, OH: Trianon Ballroom – Madison Avenue (1925-1954).
  • Topeka, KS : Meadow Acres Ballroom – 2950 S. Topeka Boulevard –
  • Toronto, ON – Queensway Ballroom (previously the Palace Pier Ballroom) – (1927-1963) – destroyed y an arsonist in 1963.
  • Tulsa, OK: Cain’s Ballroom – 423 N. Main Street (1924-present) – still used as a concert venue. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.
  • Twin Falls, ID: Radioland Ballroom – (1940-1950) – converted to roller skating.
  • Waterloo, IA: Electric Park Ballroommore details needed
  • Wichita, KA: Blue Moon Ballroom – 3401 S. Oliver (1940-1960) – in its latter years it was known as the Blue Note Ballroom.
  • Wichita, KS: Ritz Ballroom more details needed
  • Wichita KS: Trig Ballroom – opened 1953 – more details needed
  • Wildwood, NJ: Hunt’s Starlight Ballroom – Boardwalk at Oak Street (1943-1981) – converted to an arcade and shops in 1981, but burned down that same year.
  • Winona, MN: Wyattville Ballroommore details needed
  • Worcester, MA: Mohegan Ballroommore details needed
  • Yakima, WA: Fairmont Ballroommore details needed
  • York, PA: Valencia Ballroom (originally the Coliseum Ballroom) – 143 N. George Street (1911-present) – currently used as an event venue.
  • Youngstown, OH: Idora Ballroom – Idora Park (1899-1984) – destroyed by fire in 2001.
  • Youngstown, OH: The Elms Ballroom – 529 Elm Street (1929-1965) – razed in 1965.

If this topic interests you, here are a couple of reading resources available through Amazon.*

http://        http://

*A small commission is earned by us from purchases that are made using these links to Amazon.


Posted in adaptive reuse, architecture, art, cities, civics, Civil Rights, civility, culture, demographics, diversity, entertainment, geography, historic preservation, history, humanity, injustice, land use, music, placemaking, politics, racism, Radio, revitalization, third places, urban planning | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

It all ends up in the lake…or the bay…or the stream


Stormwater runoff – Source: cityofmustang.org

When you live near the Great Lakes as we do, or any body of water, it is a fact of life that storm water runoff from your yard, roof, garden, building, parking lot, factory, or farm is going to eventually end up in that water feature because it is downstream from you. Unfortunately, the often cavalier manner in which fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, sealants, paints, stains, strippers, and an assortment of other harsh chemicals are applied, you’d think society lived in a sealed and protected vacuum.  These actions are why the green algae blooms on are becoming more common and more pronounced in many locations in the United States. And they are why some bodies of water, such as the Gulf of Mexico, have dead zones.

Source: palmettobay-fl.gov

The indiscriminate application of nasty stuff isn’t the sole cause of water pollution that you and I can control. Not cleaning up after your pet properly, feeding waterfowl so they congregate, and not maintaining your septic system can have dramatically negative impacts on water resources, as well. As the map below show, this is not a local problem, but a national problem.

Mapping Algae Blooms – Source: agemanagementboston.com

It is time for all of us to take responsibility for our actions and decisions. Just recently, my wife and I had our deck re-stained. Unfortunately, the wrong mixture was applied. Instead of using a harsh chemical stain stripper to have the incorrect stain removed and subsequently washed off into our yard, we instead decided to leave the wrongly applied stain and let it naturally wear away.

Toxic algae bloom – Source: uses.gov

A perfectly green lawn free of any and all weeds and insects is not a requirement of citizenship nor of good lawn care. Instead, they’re a false utopian image perpetuated by lawn care firms to have you “keep up with the Jones,” so to speak.

Here are ten ways we all can help protect our precious water bodies:

  • Pull the weeds by hand, instead of applying herbicides.
  • Use organic fertilizers or water your lawn regularly instead.
  • Purchase and plant natural materials that help dissuade insects and weeds.
  • Pick up after your pet immediately and do not feed waterfowl if you live near a water body.
  • Wash you car at a carwash that employs proper mechanisms for collecting runoff instead of  draining it down your driveway.
  • Properly dispose of harmful materials such as chemicals, paints, sealants, motor oil, and similar items at recycling centers and drop-off locations. NEVER pour them down your drain or a street drain!
  • Advocate for stricter laws in your community that protect water resources.
  • NEVER utilize coal tar-based sealants, nor hire firms that do.
  • Have your septic system regularly inspected and maintained and insist that your community and/or state require such inspections when properties are sold.
  • Install rain barrels to capture rooftop runoff for watering gardens and yards.
Posted in cities, civics, civility, climate change, ecosystems, environment, government, health, humanity, infrastructure, land use, landscape architecture, nature, Pets, planning, pollution, recycling, rivers/watersheds, sustainability, urban planning, zoning | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Geography of the Jazz Age in North America

Club Mardi Gras in Kansas City, MO – Source: flickr.com

The Jazz Age represented the musical form’s peak period of popularity between 1920 and 1960. While New Orleans, Kansas City, Chicago, and New York were and remain the preeminent epicenters of jazz, in many other cities across the country, vibrant jazz scenes developed along specific corridors, primarily within or close to historically black neighborhoods. Often, these jazz venues, along with those that specialized in blues music, were among the first places in the community where blacks and whites could safely congregate together and socialize.

Maison Bourbon Jazz Club in New Orleans – Source: maisonbourbon.com

To fully analyze the geography of jazz across North America, one also has to analyze the reasons(s) for its demise in some cities. Sadly, America’s racial injustice and bigotry played a part through redlining, urban renewal, interstate highway construction, and other policies/actions in destroying and/or displacing many historically black neighborhoods. In many cases, the local jazz music scene never recovered. Today, many of these cities would love to have the historic jazz music scene that they once sought to destroy.

The Cotton Club in Harlem – Source: soundbeat.org

On a more positive note regarding race relations, desegregation/integration efforts in the 1960s allowed African-Americans many more choices on where to live. An indirect result of this was dispersal of the jazz music fan base, eventually leading to movement from and/or closure of venues in the historically black neighborhoods. Individual business decisions and a gradual decline in jazz’s popularity were factors, as well.

Paradise Theater in Detroit – Source: hourdetroit.com

The following city neighborhoods once had vibrant, concentrated jazz scenes that were largely destroyed and/or displaced through urban renewal, interstate highway construction, or other similar actions.

  • Akron, OH: Howard Street – destroyed and displaced by the State Hwy. 59 Freeway
  • Chicago, IL: “The Stroll” (S. State Street) in Bronzeville – destroyed/displaced by urban renewal
  • Chicago, IL: Hyde Park (55th Street), South Shore, and Woodlawn (63rd Street) – expansion of the University of Chicago and urban renewal – (Updated 8/7/19)
  • Cincinnati, OH: West End – destroyed/displaced by construction of I-75, Union Terminal, and urban renewal
  • Columbus, OH: Mount Vernon Avenue (near East Side) – destroyed/displaced by I-71 and urban renewal projects
  • Dallas, TX: Deep Ellum – disrupted by the US 75/Central Expressway (Added 8/7/19)
  • Des Moines, IA: Center Street – replaced by parking lots, industrial parks, and I-235
  • Detroit, MI: Hastings Avenue (Black Bottom and Paradise Valley) – destroyed/displaced by construction of I-75 and I-375
  • Indianapolis, IN: Indiana Avenue – destroyed/displaced through urban renewal
  • Jacksonville, FL: West Ashley Street (LaVilla) – now parking lots and largely vacant buildings
  • Milwaukee, WI: Walnut Street (Bronzeville) – destroyed and displayed by interstate highways and urban renewal
  • New Orleans, LA: Back o’ Town – much was demolished for urban renewal and the Superdome  (Added 8/9/19)
  • New Orleans, LA: Storyville – most was demolished in the 1940s for public housing (Added 8/9/19)
  • Oakland, CA: West Seventh Avenue – decimated by the Cypress Freeway, BART, and urban renewal
    Oklahoma City, OK: NE Second Street (Deep Deuce) – construction of I-235 and more recently gentrification
  • Pittsburgh, PA: Lower Hill District – destroyed by construction of Civic Arena
  • Portland, OR: Williams Avenue – destroyed by I-5, Memorial Coliseum, and Rose Garden
  • San Francisco, CA: The Fillmore District – fractured by redevelopment and renewal efforts
  • Savannah, GA: West Broad Street (Frogtown) – construction of I-16 (Added 8/7/19)
  • Tampa, FL: Central Avenue – construction of I-275
  • Tulsa, OK: Greenwood District – construction of I-244

The following city neighborhoods had once-vibrant concentrated jazz scenes that gradually disappeared or diminished over time for a mix of reasons, including, but not limited to decline in jazz popularity, desegregation, relocation, business decisions, etc.

  • Asbury Park, NJ: Springwood Avenue
  • Atlantic City, NJ: Kentucky Avenue (Northside)
  • Baltimore, MD: Pennsylvania Avenue
  • Buffalo, NY: “Jazz Triangle” around Broadway & Michigan (Added 8/7/19)
  • Denver, CO: Five Points
  • Detroit, MI: Jefferson-Chalmers (Added 8/9/19)
  • Harrisburg, PA: 7th Ward
  • Hartford, CT: North End
  • Idlewild, MI: Summer resort community
  • Las Vegas, NV: “The Strip” (post-WWII) (Added 8/7/19)
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN: Mendota
  • New Haven, CT: Dixwell neighborhood (Added 8/7/19)
  • New York City, NY: “Swing Street” (52nd Avenue)
  • Omaha, NE: North 24th Street
  • Philadelphia, PA: South Broad Street (South Philly) and Columbia Avenue/”the Golden Strip” (North Philly)
  • Sacramento, CA: West K Street (West End)
  • San Francisco, CA: Tenderloin District
  • Seattle, WA: Jackson Street
  • St. Louis, MO: DeBaliviere Strip (late 19502 and 1960s)
  • St. Louis, MO: Gaslight Square (1940s and most of the 1950s)
  • Toronto, ON: near West Side
  • Vancouver, BC: Granville Street (particularly during prohibition) (Added 8/7/19)
  • Washington, DC: U Street and 14th Street Corridors
  • Wilmington, DE: Eastside (Added 8/7/19)
  • Worcester, MA: Summer and Mains Streets in Downtown (Added 8/7/19)

“The Golden Strip” in North Philadelphia- Source: phillyjazz.us

The following cities continue to have vibrant jazz communities, though not as concentrated as they once were – the neighborhoods listed are historic jazz districts. While venues may still be found in some of these neighborhoods, the jazz club scene tends to be more dispersed than they were during the Jazz Age of 1920-1960.

  • Austin, TX: East 11th and 12th Streets (East Side)
  • Boston, MA: Columbus Avenue (South End)
  • Chicago, IL: Uptown, Loop, and South Side neighborhoods listed above
  • Havana, Cuba: Vedado neighborhood
  • Kansas City, MO: 18th & Vine and 12th Street
  • Los Angeles, CA: Central Avenue (“the Avenue”)
  • Montreal, QC: Little Burgundy
  • Newark, NJ:”The Coast” (a.k.a. the Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District)
  • New Orleans, LA: The French Quarter, Algiers, Black Pearl, Central City, and Gerttown, as well as the neighborhoods mentioned above (Updated 8/9/19)
  • New York City, NY: neighborhoods listed above, as well as Harlem and Greenwich Village

Source: popspotsnyc.com

Several other cities, including Cleveland, Durham, Louisville, and Toledo had active jazz music scenes during the Jazz Age, as well, but they were not concentrated in one area. While we always try to be comprehensive in our listings, if there are any additions, corrections, or suggestions to improve this post, please feel free to pass them along.

Louis Armstrong – Source: theculturetrip.com

If you are interested in learning more about jazz, here are several general history resources available through Amazon.*

http://        http://        http://

Here are also some local jazz histories to consider.*

http://    http://        http://

*A small commission is earned by us from purchases that are made using these links to Amazon.


Posted in art, cities, Communications, culture, diversity, economic development, entertainment, gentrification, geography, government, historic preservation, history, inclusiveness, land use, Maps, music, music reviews, North America, placemaking, planning, politics, racism, Radio, social equity, songs, theaters, third places, tourism, transportation, Travel, urban planning, zoning | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ten Planning Lessons from Detroit’s Corktown Neighborhood

Some planning lessons learned from one of my favorite neighborhoods in all of Detroit.

  • A city’s oldest neighborhood can also be a leader in its revival.
  • The historic site of a former major league stadium (Tiger Stadium) can enjoy a second life and become a successful neighborhood focal point by building upon the location’s rich sports heritage using community-based athletic programs at the The Corner Ballpark.
  • Detroit and much of Michigan still have far too many lanes on its major urban streets (Michigan Avenue in this case) that need to go on a road diet to become more people-friendly.
  • Corktown has amazing bones (infrastructure), residents, and cultural heritage to build upon.
  • Colorful and artistic murals can bring a welcome splash of local pride to a gritty urban environment.
  • Even small incremental investments in down-trodden neighborhoods can help rebuild a sense of hope while creating a catalyst for even greater investment in the community.
  • It is sad to imagine how much of the original urban fabric of Corktown specifically and Detroit in general have been lost to ill-advised and poorly planned transportation, urban renewal, and economic development projects.
  • Many cities would love to have close to the amount of cultural and historical gravitas that can be found just in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood.
  • The best recipe for long-term success of Detroit’s revival can be found in nurturing its amazing neighborhoods like Corktown.
  • Residents and businesses who have weathered the hard times should be afforded first priority to participate in the good times through grants, zero interest loans, property tax abatements, rent control, and other low or no cost mechanisms to honor their loyalty and commitment to the Corktown neighborhood.

Lastly, a side note. As the long-term epicenter of baseball in Michigan, Corktown SHOULD BE the home of both the Michigan Baseball Hall of Fame and the Detroit Tigers Museum, not the places where they are currently located.

The Corner Ballpark – Source: jobbiecrew.com

The Corner Condos/Apts (under construction) overlooking The Corner Ballpark outfield – Source: detroit.curbed.com

Posted in adaptive reuse, architecture, art, branding, business, cities, civics, culture, economic development, economic gardening, education, fun, geography, historic preservation, history, infrastructure, land use, new urbanism, placemaking, planning, politics, revitalization, Small business, spatial design, sports, third places, tourism, Trade, transportation, Travel, urban planning, zoning | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crafting a Perfect Brewery Name, Logo, and Slogan

Favorite craft brewery names/logos/slogans and why they are so good:


Stormcloud Brewing of Frankfort, MI – This is my all time favorite name for a brewery and they have a great logo, as well.  If you’ve ever seen a fierce Lake Michigan storm coming ashore, you know why this is such an awesome name for a brewery that no one should ever forget. The name has just the right mix of local flavor, with an eclectic and memorable brand name. Their logo is an excellent representation of the name.

I love Stormcloud, particularly its original location in downtown Frankfort and the fact that they give so much back to the community. The owner bought adjacent Garden Theater and has had it restored. Stormcloud has even installed an outdoor, full-size competitive curling sheet next to their downtown brewpub for lessons, leagues, and parties.

On a side note, we actually went to Stormcloud the evening of our wedding day back in 2014 and were applauded by the crowd (we hadn’t changed  out of our wedding clothes yet) and were given a free flight of beers by the staff.

  • Here’s a sample flight of some other well-crafted brewery names (listed alphabetically):

Akronym Brewing of Akron, OH – Here’s an example of using your city’s name in a catchy and amusing way without just saying, “Akron Brewing.”

Ancient City Brewing of St. Augustine, FL – A name that highlights the long history of St. Augustine and subtly hints that they have been in business for a long time.

Bathtub Row Brewing Co-op of Los Alamos, NM – The name alone gets your attention. Curiosity about the name and the interesting history of the vicinity where they are located helps draw you in. Then, it is up to the quality of the beers and the customer service. I am looking forward to visiting this brewery in September.

Brewery Vivant of Grand Rapids, MI – If you have ever visited Brewery Vivant, you would know why this name is perfect – its located in the historic chapel of a former funeral home and they only brew Belgian style beers. You literally feel like you are in Europe when you are in the brewpub. Have visited here several times and have taken their tour.

Cannonball Creek Brewing of Golden CO – If that name does at least catch your attention, nothing will.

Canuck Empire Brewing of Abbotsford, BC – With this globally recognizable name, this brewer likely intends to go places and not just be a micro-brewer.

Flagship Brewing of Staten Island, NY – great name for a product in a community with a seafaring past and the term “Flagship” relates to it being a leading product.

Flying Bison Brewing of Buffalo, NY – What else goes better with Buffalo Wings than a Flying Bison? Great name and product linkage!

Great Dane Pub and Brewing of Madison, WI – If you didn’t know better, you would think this name only relates to the dog breed, but lovely Madison, Wisconsin is located in Dane County, so there is a nice local tie-in too, without directly referencing the county in their name.

High Ground Brewing of Terra Alta, WV – The name doesn’t sound too intriguing until you see where they are located. “Terra Alta” translates to “High Ground.” The term “high ground” can also be interpreted as they have high standards too. Nice double meaning, though I am not a big fan of the logo. It looks too much an Anheuser-Busch logo.

Kaktus Brewing of Bernalillo, NM – Cute play on the word cactus. Also, I love their logo – it may be my all-time favorite. I am also looking forward to visiting they brewery located just north of Albuquerque in September and likely buying some swag.

Liquid Riot Bottling/Brewing of Portland, ME – Anyone who loves beer should love this name, but let’s spice up the logo some, eh?

Lager Heads Brewing of Medina, OH – Love the pun. Would probably be better suited to a place with a logging industry past or where Loggerhead turtles nest, but the name is memorable. The logo is my least favorite on this list – what the heck does an angry wart-hog have to do with lager or logger?

Lost Coast Brewery of Eureka, CA – just mysterious and localized enough to be intriguing and certainly fits with the mystique of the Northern California coastline. Visited here in 2012 – love their Tangerine Wheat!

Mad Anthony Brewing of Fort Wayne, IN – terrific name for a brewpub based on the nickname of the general for whom the city of Fort Wayne is named – General “Mad” Anthony Wayne.

Mother Road Brewing of Flagstaff, AZ – Actually a great double entendre – Mother Road can refer to Route 66 or it can relate to this place being the route to great beers. Tried to visit here in May, but they are closed on Mondays,  I did enjoy one of their beers (Kolsch) at Relic Road (see below) in Winslow.

Ore Dock Brewing of Marquette, MI – Great name for a brewery/brewpub in a great town, where the ore docks are definitely iconic. Their logo is another one of my favorites.

Prairie Sun Brewery of Saskatoon, SK – To me, this is a very refreshing and inspiring name that harkens of good times, fun in the sun, and other great images.

Relic Road Brewing of Winslow, AZ – Great name for a place that fronts on Route 66 itself. Visited the brewpub after standing on a corner in Winslow, AZ. It was such fine place to be. Only downer is that I could not find a logo online to include.

Whiprsnapr Brewing of Ottawa, ON – Fun name that plays on generational differences. They have a terrific logo too.

BEST LOGO (links provided to those not linked to above):

  1. Kaktus Brewing of Bernalillo, NM
  2. Ore Dock Brewing of Marquette, MI
  3. Stormcloud Brewing 0f Frankfort, MI
  4. Whiprsnapr Brewing of Ottawa, ON
  5. Daredevil Brewing of Indianapolis, IN (Rad helmet and tie-in with the Indy 500)
  6. Bathtub Row Brewing of Los Alamos, NM
  7. Flying Bison Brewing of Buffalo, NY
  8. Night Shift Brewing of Everett, MA (Cool owl)
  9. Baffin Brewing of St. Clair Shores, MI (Cute and fun-loving dog who the brand is named after.)
  10. South/Norte Beer of San Diego, CA (nice design and juxtaposition of shapes and wording)

BEST SLOGAN (not all craft brewers have one/links provided to new ones):

  • “Don’t Float The Mainstream” – SweetWater Brewing of Atlanta, GA – Great way to say craft beers are better than the national brands without being snarky.
  • “Love It Madly”  – Mad Anthony Brewing of Fort Wayne, IN – Terrific adaptation of The Doors famous song title.
  • “Superior Sourced” – Ore Dock Brewing of Marquette, MI – Simple and memorable, while also noting its great water and taste source.
  • “Beer Speaks, People Mumble” – Lagunitas Brewing of Petaluma, CA – Funny and memorable.

If there are other brewery names, logos, or slogans that you think should be on this list, feel free to pass them along. While the lists are not meant to be comprehensive, we are always happy to hear about new, innovative and fun names. Cheers!

Here are a couple of books that are available through Amazon* that may be helpful when deciding whether to start a craft beer business:

http://                                       http://

* A small commission is earned by us from purchases that are made using these links to Amazon.


Posted in advertising, beer, branding, brewpubs, business, Canada, cities, commerce, Communications, consumerism, Cuisine, culture, economic development, economic gardening, entertainment, entrepreneurship, geography, historic preservation, history, land use, marketing, place names, placemaking, planning, product design, third places, tourism, Trade, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment