From its simple dance hall beginnings, to its rise as one of America's "SWINGINGEST" meccas - the legendary Willowbrook Ballroom has touched the lives of millions for decades. From the high-energy sounds of Count Basie and the oscillating rhythms of Benny Goodman, to the infectious dance tempos of modern-day swing groups like Brian Setzer Orchestra and the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Willowbrook has been 'home' to many a famous band.
Whether dancing the night away on the ballroom's sweeping dance floor, or toasting life's celebrations in its series of private Banquet Rooms, yet another generation has become smitten with the romance and history of the Willowbrook Ballroom.
Founded in 1921 by John Verderbar, as an outdoor dance hall known as Oh Henry Park, the establishment came to grow and flourish through the 1920's, until 1930, when disaster struck and the complex burned to ground-level ruins.
Out of the ashes rose the Oh Henry Ballroom, built at the then staggering cost of $100,000. The 1930's and 40's found hundreds of thousands in the mood to swing, as the ballroom became home to the biggest and best bands of the day, complete with its own restaurant, soda fountain and flower shop.
By the 1950's a series of additional lounges and restaurants were added, including the elegant 200-seat Willowbrook Room. Soon, confusion would mount between the Of Henry Ballroom and its popular Wllowbrook Room. Eventually, the entire complex simply become known as the Willowbrook.
The 77-year legacy of the Verderbar family's ownership of the historic Willowbrook Ballroom has now been transferred to yet another family - the Jodwalis family, who will continue to carry on the ballroom tradition that have remained in place for decades.
We celebrated our 90th Anniversary from August 9th to 14th, 2011. Thanks to all our dancers, friends and to our patrons for honoring the Willowbrook and spending this unforgettable week together.