History of The Inwood Ballroom
On Sunday, February 9, 1919, a group of citizens of Spillville, Iowa, met at the A.B.C.S. Opera Hall in Spillville and organized the Civic Improvement Association (C.I.A.). They adopted the motto, "The Beautiful is as Useful as the Useful."
The purpose of the meeting was to find ways and means to secure and develop the public square in the heart of Spillville with a Memorial to the Soldiers and Sailors who served in World War I. The memorial in the town square was to be in the form of a music pavilion to be used for band concerts. (It was completed and dedicated July 4, 1921). Memberships to the C.I.A. were sold to raise funds for the project.
The C.I.A. was also planning a park. On February 7, 1920, G. F. Heuser, chairman of the C.I.A., purchased land from John Vana with the understanding that it be used to establish a park, now known as Riverside Park. In May, plans were made to build an open bowery on this land. This temporary structure had a wood floor, no roof and was enclosed with a railing and benches. A dance was held July 5, 1920, at the A.B.C.S. Opera Hall to raise funds for the bowery. On May 5, 1921, it was decided that a permanent bowery would be erected at Riverside Park. At this point more citizens subscribed to membership.
On August 3, 1921, the C.I.A. purchased the land from G. F. Heuser for $580, which was to be used to establish a park. The following year property was rented from Mike Kobliska for Riverside Golf Links. Golf fees were: $6.00 season, $2 month, $.50 day, $.15 game. This property was later purchased in 1928 for $245.
The permanent bowery/amusement pavilion, known as the Riverside Pavilion, was built and completed with the opening dance on May 10, 1922. It would include a ladies restroom and dining hall. Suitable playground equipment was soon installed. There were problems keeping cattle out of the premises. In August, 1923, G. F. Heuser built a cottage in Riverside Park which still stands.
In 1925, it was voted and passed that a ten-sided 76' x 76' (80' x 80' at the corners) annex to the pavilion be added, including a yellow pine dance floor with spectator rooms on the east and west side and fireplaces. This project was completed in 1929.
Other changes in the pavilion included changing the name to The Inwood (name chosen via contest).
The Inwood has had some big name performers over the years including Glenn Miller, Lawrence Welk, Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey, Bobby Goldsboro, The Byrds, Canned Heat, Comander Cody and more.
1925 - memorial to Dr. Antonin Dvorak was erected
1931 - C.I.A. was incorporated as a non-profit organization for fifty years
1932 - Mrs. Tillie Meyer offered the footbridge to the C.I.A. free-of-charge for its upkeep
1933 - major flooding
1934 - J.C. Wagner made small tables for the dining room
1934 - Wings were added beyond the fireplaces on the east and west
1935 - new 4,320 sq. ft. maple dance floor was installed
1935 - bandstand was built north of Inwood - where picnc shelter is now - no record of when it was removed
1936 - more land purchased
1937 - pump drilled by chain link and plastering of the lily pond
1937 - more land purchased
1938 - more land purchased, 12 acres
1938 - ball diamond graded
1938 - Japanese lanterns added to dance hall decor
1940 - Inwood was reshingled
1951 - Auxiliary light plant was installed
1954 - booths built on west side of dance floor
1954 - purchased popcorn machine, ice machine and a compressor
1955 - booths built on east side of dance floor
1955 - slogan "Dance and Stay Young" was adopted
1959 - more land purchased, now totaling 24 acres
1960 - first teen "hop"
1960 - major remodeling, oval island in center of dining room
1960 - east entrance was moved further north, booths built on east side
1976 - lights installed on ball diamond
1978 - major remodeling, oval island in dining room was removed, bar on west wall, kitchen on north
1979 - Dvorak memorial refurbished
1981 - articles of incorporation came up for renewal, were renewed in perpetuity
1982 - picnic shelter built north of Inwood
1985 - maple dance floor replaced
1988 - concession stand built near ballfield bleacher area
1990 - membership opened to anyone
1993 - major flooding
1994 - repaired roof
1994 - row of spruce trees planted north of ball diamond paralled to B-16
1995 - another row of spruce trees planted north of ball diamond, total of 52 trees
1995 - 4 day (July 13-16) celebration of 75 years
2008 - major flooding on Sunday, June 8
2013 - Handicap accessible bathroom and entrance added
2014 - dining room floor replaced
2016 - major flooding on Wednesday, August 24