Busy Days, Dreamy Nights: The Taborian Hall

The Taborian Hall and her history

Taborian-Hall-feature

Few people can remember “The Line” as it once was. During segregation, the part of Ninth Street west of Broadway was the cultural and economic hub of the African American community in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas. Now, the street is populated by vacant lots and relatively new businesses. None of the original buildings remain except for one.

The Line – also known as 9th Street “The Line” also known as West 9th Street

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Restoring the Forgotten Dreams of the Taborian Hall

Historically significant building, Taborian Hall saved from destruction

The Taborian Hall is more than monumental; it is a living monument. The grandiose, Classical-style structure was built in 1916. It was part of the African American business district on West Ninth Street in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas, and hosted legendary performers like B.B. King, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong.

The area declined in the 1970s, and most original buildings were torn down. The Taborian Hall was empty and neglected until a local woman resurrected it as headquarters for her business. By doing so, she saved both the building and a part of Little Rock’s history.

Saved by a Woman’s Love

Kerry McCoy in Taborian Hall

Kerry McCoy often passed the ruin and dreamed of running her business, Arkansas Flag and Banner, from such a grand building. Eventually,

she worked up the courage to go inside and made her way to the third floor Dreamland Ballroom. Birds chirped and sun streamed in through a hole in the roof, and, in a moment of euphoria, McCoy saw past the wreckage to the majesty that could resurface.

In 1991, she bought the building and began repairing the roof. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, McCoy opened the first floor to the public and expanded her business to sell patriotic gifts and decorations at Taborian Hall. Although the first two floors were functional, the third floor remained in shambles for a decade after Flag and Banner moved in. Although the Dreamland Ballroom was perhaps the most interesting and historically significant part of the building, the cost of its renovation was prohibitive.

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