Hailed as the “most beautiful ballroom in the West,” the Berthana has been revitalized to serve as a focal point for downtown Ogden.
The Berthana social and dance hall celebrated its public opening on May 26, 1915. The idea to create a gathering center for the young residents of Ogden is credited to Bertha Eccles and Anna T. Dee whose names became the name of the building. An article published in the Ogden Standard Examiner on the day following the opening night dubbed the social center as the “most beautiful ballroom in the West.”
The 600 guests invited to opening night were greeted with handsome decor, a professional and welcoming staff, and a large, lively orchestra. Part of the opening night festivities included a grand march led by William Spry, Utah’s governor at the time.
The main floor of the Berthana was designed for retail space; the second-floor ballroom was 120 feet long by 80 feet wide, built by the David Eccles Estate and the Thomas D. Dee Co. The Berthana maintained its status as a major gathering place for state conventions of the Utah Federation of Women’s Clubs, concerts, dances, company promotions, beauty pageants, and even boxing matches.
The ballroom was used for such activities until about 1940, when it was converted into a roller-skating rink. With the exception of a brief but unsuccessful attempt to reopen in the 1980s the ballroom has remained largely unused since the 1970s.
In 2012, life was breathed back into the former social hall in the form of a $750,000 renovation that transformed the Berthana into an entertainment venue that hosted businesses such as the Copper Club. Lynda Huddleston, the manager of the Copper Club, said, “if you come in here and stay still and just listen, you can almost hear the music that used to play here. We want to bring that feeling of excitement back to Ogden.” In 2016, The Union Grill left its location in Union Station and opened its doors in the Berthana.