April 22, 1913
What Was Life Like?
Danville’s Social and Fraternal Hall Opened with a Party
By Beverly Lane
Our holiday parties have nothing on special parties in the past. In 1913 the event of the season took place on Front Street in Danville. The new Social and Fraternal Hall opened with a grand march, inaugural speeches and a Dedication Ball on November 28.
A lengthy newspaper article described the event:
“All Danville and the folks throughout the countryside for miles around are furbishing up their finest feathers for tomorrow night’s grand ball. The fine new social and fraternal hall, just completed at a cost far in excess of $10,000, will throw open its portals to the public for the first time, and before the grand march, brief inaugural addresses will be delivered by the grand officers of the Grange and of the Odd Fellows’ lodges as well as by others who aided the fraternity members in the work of providing their pleasant home town with a center where all might meet for mutual betterment and friendly relaxation.
Another very important epoch in Danville history, the extension of the electric line to the lovely inland city, is also to be signalized and joyously celebrated at the Thanksgiving ball. If possible a special train will be run over the almost complete line for the conveyance of guests from Alamo, LaFayette and Walnut Creek.
The spacious and elegant hall has been lavishly decorated in anticipation of the great event. The blooming gardens for which Danville is famous have been stripped of their fairest flowers to provide garlands for the adornment of the newly opened shrine of friendship, and all loyal townspeople are working as one man to make the occasion memorable in the annals of Contra Costa.
Music for the dancers will be furnished by the well known Merzbach orchestra from San Francisco, whose admirable programs form real concerts in themselves. The floor managers will be Ralph Dobson, C. G. Goold and C.J. Wood, the grand march being led by A. F. Bray and his charming bride. The dances will be those only which are approved by good taste and established social custom, interspersed with reels and square dances, in which those whose hearts and young, however many their years, will show the belles and beaux of today that those of yesterday are as well versed as they are in the art of portraying the poetry of motion.
During the evening a real Danville supper will be served -- why say more? Perhaps some of the guests may dance themselves tired, but none will go hungry.
In addition to the floor committee already mentioned, good work has also been done by the invitation committee, composed of B. W. Stone, chairman, Miss Elizabeth Wood, B. W. Bennett, Rodger Podva and Mrs. E. F. Williams. The affair is under the general supervision of the directorate of the Danville Fraternal and Social Hall Association, composed of B. W. Stone, president; Ralph Dobson, vice-president; F. E. Stelling, secretary; John Hartz, treasurer; C. G. Goold and C. J. Wood.
Choose your partners, then, and lose not time; for the fiddlers are even now tuning up, and none of us can afford to miss the Danville Thanksgiving ball.”
Readers may wonder just what happen to the new Hall and, for that, they have not far to go. The Social and Fraternal Hall is now the Village Theatre at 233 Front Street.
Sources: museum archives, newspaper article copied from a scrapbook clipping kept by the Wood family (probably Charlotte Wood)
Originally in the Danville Weekly column, Presenting the Past, December 19, 2008