By Jolene Hawkins
Looking back to the good ole days, when we all went out to twist and turn on the dance floor and hear some good music on a Friday or Saturday night, and you will see the Woodside Inn was a popular place to go.
The 40-by-100-foot pavilion’s construction started in 1900 and finished by 1901. It is probably the most remembered building that was located on the Woodside farm. On the lower floor of this two-story pavilion was the recreational room, dining facilities, a library and a bathroom.
The recreational rooms were equipped with a bowling alley and shuffleboard that was located in the rear along with a pool and billiard table. The dining facilities consisted of a number of tables and chairs with a bar located to the right of the library, providing a serving area for food and beverages.
The bathroom was mainly for the female guests and had a large powder room area. There was a large fireplace that was located in one of the corners, providing adequate heat. A library full of reading materials and books on shelves was found in the center of the lower floor.
On the upper floor designed for dancing were two corners cloakrooms. A stage that was 24-by-12 feet provided an area for entertainers to perform. Remember Archie Warner, the fiddler? Yep, he played there a lot with his group. I can just hear him now.
On both sides of the stage were dressing rooms. Two wide stairways provided an entrance to the inlaid floor for dancing. Extending from each floor were porches that provided an additional feature, a place to sit and cool off after dancing and listening to the band playing. Perhaps to sit and talk to friends. Can’t you just see it?
The exterior of the building was constructed of wood painted brick red. As with the house, the pavilion contained fireplaces that extended from the ground floor to the roof. In weather of 20 below zero, the bricks for these six fireplaces were laid. Each of the three columns included two fireplaces, one for each floor.
Like the fireplace located in the house, they had marble mantels and on the upper floor, there were three-by-four-foot mirrors that were hung above them. During the evenings of dancing, they provided a special effect on the dance floor. Around the dance floor, wooden benches were placed. A generator was located in the dirt basement to provide the power to the light the carbide light chandeliers.
Soon, various organizations began holding meetings and conventions there. One of these, the Farm Institute, held a convention. In order to accommodate its members, it was necessary to build another 16 rooms to the original house. The local Grange also held their meetings there and would use the stage to present skits.
On July 7, 1991, a Historical marker to honor the Woodside Farm was erected. At a ceremony that day, over 50 people were present. Jeremiah Richardson’s daughter-in-law is best known for the building of the Woodside Dance Hall. It burned on August 17, 1958. Two of the three original chimneys are all that remains.
The marker that is erected reads: “Woodside Farms, Jeremiah Richardson, 1795 – 1879 Pioneer settler town of Concord about 1816, near Morton’s Comers, cleared much land, establishing farms that his son David and grandson Arthur enlarged. Davis built a home and recreation hall on Woodside Road. It later became known as the Woodside Dance Hall, a popular nightspot for many year until it burned to the ground in 1958.”
We would love to hear your stories about the Dance Hall. I never had the joy of seeing it, but have heard it was really a grand place to go. Stop by the Lucy Bensley Center, bring photos if you have them and we will scan them and return them to you. We are open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., call us at 569-0094 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking for something to do Thursday evenings? The Mercantile band, a bunch of good ole boys play at the Mercantile starting at 7 p.m. Might even sound like the bands that use to play at the Woodside Dance Hall!