A glance again on the fireplace on the 1921 Strand Dansant dance corridor in Canton

“DANCERS FLEE BURNING HALL,” stated a front-page headline in The Sunday Repository on March 27, 1921. “ONE MAN HURT.”

Irwin Kessler was badly burned within the Dancing Strand fireplace in downtown Canton 100 years in the past. Kessler was the son of JD Kessler, the director of the affiliated Strand Theater on Market Avenue S in Second Road SW.

Kessler “suffered burns in his face and arms when he rushed down the steps in his effort to save lots of a theater-owned property that was in a room on the second flooring. The hearth began underneath the staircase “main up Second Road SW to the second and third flooring of the constructing,” in keeping with the article.

“Spontaneous combustion in a waste pile given because the trigger,” one other repository headline informed its readers.

“The conductor directs company from the corridor to the exits.”

The hearth made headlines within the metropolis as a result of dancing was all the trend within the Canton space a century in the past.

Commercials within the depot in 1921 offered details about the dances at many areas in Stark County, the Meyers Lake Amusement Park being probably the most notable of those.

However dancing there was in a spot within the park the place dancing was a facet exercise on the time, because the Moonlight Ballroom would not be constructed till the mid-Twenties.

“By 1920, dancing had grown from formal unique teams to most of the people in locations such because the Dancing Strand, Schlabach Pharmacy, and Meyers Lake Curler Rink,” wrote space historian ET Heald within the quantity IV, half III. The American Approach of Life, ”from his multi-volume story,“ The Stark County Story, ”printed within the Nineteen Fifties by the Stark County Historic Society.

Certainly, dancing was a preferred leisure exercise all through Ohio, in keeping with the “Encyclopedia of the Historical past of Cleveland” on the Case Western Reserve College web site.

“For a lot of the twentieth century, social dancing was one of many foremost leisure pursuits in industrial cities,” stated Historical past, which famous that Ohio cities equivalent to Cleveland and Canton had been crowded. factories and dance halls. “The dance craze of society, influenced by (nationally famend dance academics) Irene and Vernon Citadel, led through the WWI interval to a change in social mannequin. Previous to this time, the halls weren’t at all times thought-about appropriate venues for members of well mannered society; subsequently, the dances had been usually non-public occasions. Among the extra prosperous and distinguished residents constructed their properties with a ballroom. and a celebration room, normally on the third flooring, with entry by particular stairs or an elevator. “

The Strand’s Dancing in downtown Canton, whereas a way more public venue for dancers, was modeled on this conventional pattern of personal dance venues on the highest flooring. He was situated on the third flooring of his constructing within the Strand block of Market Avenue S.

Enjoyable contained in the Dancing Strand in Canton

The depot ran adverts all through 1921 that detailed dance exercise on the Dancing Strand.

An commercial printed on an inside web page of the identical version wherein the dance corridor fireplace was reported promoted an “Easter Particular Worth Celebration” for the next night time, Monday March 28, 1921.

The “typical Arduous Time Events (Previous Favorites’ Evening)” would additionally happen on Wednesday and Friday evenings, the announcement promised. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays evenings have been designated for dancing in keeping with the “park plan,” says the commercial.

“We reserve the suitable to refuse,” he stated, indicating, as evidenced by a narrative on vintagedancer.com, that dance halls of this period had been beginning to appeal to fun-loving folks and, to the time, doubtful folks within the “Roaring Twenties.”

“The dances of the Roaring Twenties had been loopy and carefree,” the dance historical past stated. “Beforehand, ballroom dancing, though ridiculous with ‘animal dances’, was structured and tame in comparison with the unbiased ‘Charleston’, ‘Black Backside’ and ‘Shimmy’ dances that took to bounce flooring within the Roaring Twenties. . Ballroom dancing continued with older, extra conservative folks till the Nineteen Thirties. The brand new dance follies had been for brand new ladies and men who valued excessive sports activities, frivolity, and extra versatile morality. A lot of the dances befell in nightclubs and group facilities. “

Le Dansant, as soon as promoted in an official play program for Canton Soccer Bulldogs because the “Canton Most important Dance Corridor”, has tried to keep up its ties with the precedent days of ballroom dancing, additionally offering classes. conventional dances such because the fox trot and waltz. like among the extra trendy phases.

It wasn’t a nightclub, the place “dancing was usually blended with unlawful alcohol,” in keeping with the Dance Historical past web site. It was a dance corridor and educating studio that attempted to keep away from changing into, as the web site describes, “a giant drunken dance celebration.”

‘Park Plan’ dance

But as a preferred and public dance corridor, the Dancing Strand – “The strictest and up-to-the-minute dance corridor on the town” – nonetheless tried to maintain up with dance traits that had been rising in recognition within the metropolis. the Twenties.

Based on a landmark Library of Congress article titled “Native Legacies” on dancing within the village of Genève-sur-le-Lac, the “park plan” dance was “named for the amusement parks which have adopted the system of ten cents per dance ”.

In 1921, admission to dances on the Dancing Strand was 25 cents, plus an eight-cent “battle tax” to assist pay for the now-over World Struggle I.

The Moots Strand Dancing Orchestra – “the Six Aces of Syncopation,” offering “Pep Jazz and the very newest dance music” – performed the stumps the dancers strutted via, famous an advert positioned within the repository in April 1921. The week the advert appeared within the newspaper, the band’s music can be the backdrop to the “Ye Previous Favorites Dance” – “Mommies’ Favourite Dance” – wherein tunes can be performed on demand.

The “Keno”, “Sweet” and “Silk Hose” dances had been different occasions of the Dansant program at the moment, in keeping with further commercials.

“In the event you do not dance, are available in and make preparations with our dance teacher for lessons or non-public classes,” instructed a 1921 advert, whereas one other recognized the teacher as “Mr. Walton ”. This newest advert, within the repository shortly earlier than the dance studio fireplace, informed would-be readers that there was “a brand new class being shaped.”

Escape the Dancing Strand Fireplace

The hearth on the Dancing Strand – Canton’s “greatest ventilated dance corridor”, in keeping with commercials – might have been extra tragic than it turned out.

The newspaper reported that longtime Canton Fireplace Chief Robert Mesnar decided the blaze was attributable to spontaneous combustion in a garbage heap underneath the steps. The hearth chief had instructed staff to take away the trash a number of days earlier than the blaze, he stated.

“Harry Moots, conductor, who carried out for the dance on the third flooring of the constructing, prevented panic among the many dancers when enormous clouds of smoke started to roll into the dance corridor,” reported the Repository.

“Because the smoke started to filter via the corridor, Moots stopped his band and introduced to the dancers that there was a small fireplace within the constructing, however warned them that there was no hazard and informed them. directed in the direction of the emergency exits.

“Many left their scarves and hats within the locker rooms till the hearth was extinguished. A girl, whose title was not realized by firefighters, handed out however was revived after being transported to Bender’s restaurant.

The hearth induced minimal injury “due to the fast and environment friendly work of the firefighters”.

“There was a whole lot of smoke and the warmth was intense,” the depot reported. “The doorways and window frames and the woodwork within the hallway and staircase resulting in the third flooring had been burnt. The glass on the second story home windows and doorways was shattered within the warmth.

“As soon as Kessler reached the second flooring, he discovered the warmth so intense that he was compelled to make his technique to the third flooring. He was discovered mendacity unconscious on the dance flooring by Fireman Decker, and was taken to the emergency exit. “

Kessler obtained assist at Bender’s, then taken to Mercy Hospital on Market Avenue N for remedy.

“The hearth didn’t injury the theater,” the newspaper stated. “The theater was closed when the hearth broke out, having been emptied quarter-hour earlier than the alarm went off.”


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