Portland’s Crystal Ballroom turns 106


The Crystal opened its doors as a ballroom in 1914 as World War I began

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland’s Crystal Ballroom, a renowned Northwest landmark, celebrates its 106th birthday on Sunday.

The building first opened as Cotillion Hall in 1914 and served as dance hall. For the next 50 years, the venue evolved into hosting a number of different events including live music, movie screenings and readings.

Cotillion Hall pictured in 1918 (photo courtesy National Park Service)

By the 1960s, The Crystal Ballroom had established itself as a premier spot for rock and roll concerts. Mainstays like the Grateful Dead, Buffalo Springfield and Ike & Tina Turner held sold-out shows regularly.

From the early 1970s through the mid-1990s, the ballroom stopped putting on public events and fell into the hands of squatters, artists and bohemians who used the room as studio space. During that time the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Portland’s McMenamins reopened the venue in 1997, retrofitting it with a new dance floor and a bar and restaurant inside. Since the revamp, the venue has hosted a wide variety of artists such as George Clinton, Dick Dale, James Brown, Liz Phair, Steve Earle, Nick Cave, the Indigo Girls and Ween.

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