The White City Ballroom in Ogden, Utah was considered Utah’s largest and most beautiful ballroom. Dances, performances, and special events made the space come alive for over half a century.
Built in 1922, the White City Ballroom was a popular dance hall in Ogden and attracted crowds “from as far south as Salt Lake City, as far east as Evanston, Wyoming, as far north as Idaho Falls, and as far west as the lake in Weber County,” with crowds of over one thousand people. The ballroom was located between Washington Avenue and Adams Avenue.
Before the White City Ballroom was built, in the same location, a dancing hall served the community. However, the building burnt down in 1921. Eventually, the White City Ballroom was built in its place, measuring “150 feet wide by 250 feet long in an oval position.” An open air dance floor was eventually created where dances could be held outside during the warmer months.
To help grow business, White City Ballroom held big drawings where items such as a two-door Chevrolet car would be given away to one lucky person. On these nights, attendance could reach up to 5,000 people. Tickets cost “fifty cents for the dance ticket on the night of the drawing, 35 cents each on the nights that attendance was accumulating toward the giving away of the car.”
The “King of O-Town,” Joe McQueen, played at the White City Ballroom and recalled a night when famous jazz band leader Duke Ellington performed at the dance hall. Other big band musicians such as Gene Krupa and Jan Garber also performed at the White City Ballroom. Saturday nights were eagerly anticipated by the town, especially youth, for White City's dances.
In the 1970s, the Square Dance Club of Ogden sponsored weekly dances. Part of the space became a bowling alley. However, the White City Ballroom closed in 1979 and was torn down a few years later. It’s still remembered fondly by older generations of the town who attended dances and events “the largest and most beautiful ballroom” around.