LITTLE ROCK, Ark., Aug. 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- In late July construction began at the historic site, Taborian Hall, also known as the FlagandBanner.com building, on W. 9th St., Little Rock, Arkansas. On the top floor of this National Historic Site resides the beautiful Dreamland Ballroom. For years, this treasure of Little Rock's once thriving African American business district has been publicly inaccessible, primarily lacking an elevator. The Taborian Hall is over a century old. Original construction of the building began in 1916 and was completed in 1918. It had a strong military history as the building served as the USO Club for African American soldiers during World War I & II. The Dreamland Ballroom on the third floor became a popular stop on the famous Chitlin' Circuit where musical greats such as Ray Charles, B.B. King, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington performed among others.
Since its founding in 2009, the non-profit organization Friends of Dreamland's (FOD) main purpose has been to build the elevator addition. However, renovation of Dreamland Ballroom has long been underway. In 2012, the floors and balconies on the third floor were made sound enough to use. But, it's lack of compliancy with the Americans with Disabilities Act limited FOD's dream of revitalizing its legacy of historic events and performances.
In the spring of 2018, FOD was awarded an African American Civil Rights Preservation Grant from the National Parks Service. They were granted enough funding to start the Dreamland Ballroom Public Access Project.
The initial ground-breaking began on July 29, 2019! Construction began with a large hole, an even larger mound of dirt and a small concrete structure that will house the elevator mechanics. Soon, Little Rock residents will be able to view the brick elevator shaft rise from the ground as they drive down I-630.
Unfortunately, the construction won't be complete by FOD's November 15th fundraiser, Dancing into Dreamland. The projected completion of the addition will be in early 2020.
Friends of Dreamland Executive Director