Lakeside to be inducted in the MAMA Hall of Fame

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An old postcard reflects the beauty and glamour of Guttenberg's historic Lakeside Ballroom. The dance hall will be inducted into the Midwest All Music Association (MAMA) on Saturday, Oct. 5. The event will take place at the Ponderosa Ballroom in Waldorf.

By Caroline Rosacker

Historic Lakeside Ballroom in Guttenberg is scheduled to be inducted into the Midwest All Music Association (MAMA) Hall of Fame. The event is set for Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Ponderosa Ballroom in Walford. 

Historic Lakeside Ballroom

Lakeside Ballroom was built in 1927 by William H. Kann and Sons for a cost of $27,000. The 50 by 160 feet dance floor was a popular spot during Prohibition. The famous dance floor was built with one-and-a-quarter-inch hardwood maple on springs, so people wouldn't get tired legs while they danced.  

 

The word LAKESIDE, in large letters, was put on the roof of the ballroom to use for aerial dead-reckoning navigation, the only method of navigation at the time. Lindberg and other pioneer aviators used Lakeside as a checkpoint when flying from Minneapolis to Chicago and St. Louis.

 

In 1935 Del Morley and Ed Eberhard purchased the Ballroom from Kann and Sons. The two businessmen added a barroom measuring 20 by 80 feet. Russ Reinitz managed Lakeside for Mrs. Del Morley after the passing of her husband. As manager, Reinitz was always on the run on dance night making sure everything was running smoothly. His jovial manner and quick wit always earned him respect, as he made the rounds sharing his sense of humor with the crowd. It was through Reinitz's hard work and dedication that Lakeside Ballroom became one of the most popular places in Northeast Iowa.  

 

During Lakeside's heyday, it was stage to a wide variety of music genres and performers, including big bands like Jan Garber, Russ Morgan, Dick Jurgens, Eddy Howard, Griff Williams and Leo Pieper. Big entertainers such as Lawrence Welk, Leo Greco and his Pioneers, Johnny Kettleson, Johnny Cash, Brenda Lee, Tommy Overstreet, Guy Lombardo, Herman’s Hermits, Hank Thompson, Mickey Gilley, The Grassroots, Tommy James and the Shondells, Head East, Willie Nelson and Ray Price all played under the hanging lights at Lakeside. 

Flood of 1965 

Lakeside was nearly lost in the flood of 1965. The ballroom had five feet of water covering the dance floor. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers loaded it with dynamite for demolition, in case it floated into the Lock and Dam.

Current Ownership

In 2006 Lakeside was purchased by the Lakeside Preservation Committee, LLC. The landmark Ballroom is currently owned by Jeff and Kari Friedlein and Ross and Mary Abbott. "Our goal is to restore the building back to near-original condition, and bring back the lifestyle of its yester-years," said preservation committee members. 

 

Lakeside is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. "Originally there were 200 ballrooms in the State of Iowa. Lakeside is one of a handful that still remain open," they said.

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