Reported by: Sandra Kirk, Fox 16, KLRT
October 7, 2009
LITTLE ROCK, AR – A group wants to bring back the history and the party in downtown Little Rock. Friends of the Dreamland Ballroom are gathering support to restore the third floor of the flag and banner building.
Sounds of the past fill Eugene Porter’s memories. “Cab Calloway, B.B. King, Ella Fitzgerald, all played on this stage. We were here, we were listening to the music, some of the best that we had in relation to jazz, blues, and it was really tremendous,” Porter said. “The favorite ones that I saw were Ray Charles, and B.B. King, those were the traditional ones.”
And tradition is what the group, Friends of Dreamland Ballroom, wants to restore.
“Committed to bringing back the history, the music, and the party to Dreamland Ballroom,” Chairman Kerry McCoy said.
The ballroom is located on the third floor of the now Flag and Banner building in downtown Little Rock. The vision is to make it a hot spot for events including weddings, parties and also a museum to share the buildings history.
“It was the key to society as far as Little Rock was concerned. This was our street,” McCoy said. “It needs to tell the story of 9th Street which was Little Rock’s Little Harlem. This is the last building left from that era. This is all the original moldings, the orange and turquoise moldings went around the stage,” he said.
Now the group needs money to restore the space. “You know this place has great bones.”
“To be a part of restoring this back to its proper place, to the culture and social scene in Little Rock how could you say no,” McCoy said.
Porter hopes he’ll get a chance to see more greats perform on this stage. “This is wonderful. The city needs this, the city of Little Rock needs this.”
Friends of Dreamland Ballroom is a non profit organization. The group held its first open house and fundraiser September 28th.
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