The Oak Ballroom continues to inspire

Published: Dec. 1, 2020 at 5:33 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A unique building in Schuyler is a landmark in town, and its name comes from the natural wood beams that you can see inside.

We talked with Sandi Bourn, who is the manger of the Oak Ballroom. She says the building project was started back in August of 1935, and opening day was in May of 1937.

“This was a WPA project,” Bourn said. “Below the fireplace you can see a plaque that says WPA. It was brought about by the fact that there was an old dance pavilion in town, and they wanted to winterize it. A doctor in town approached the city council about building a new recreation center. An architect was hired, and this was done with the money received from the WPA. The architect used the most durable and readily available materials to built it. By that, they’d had an old grain mill burn down in town. Many of the bricks around the circumference of the building are from that mill. The stone on the outside came from the Shell Creek area, they gathered that all up. And the oak trees that you see in here came from the Linwood area, north of Schuyler, and from Yankton, South Dakota.”

The Oak Ballroom was a state-of-the-art facility at the time it was built.

“At the time, it was considered the best west of Chicago,” Bourn said. “There was room enough to hold 2,000 people at the time before the booths were put in, and just for a bit of history, the opening dance held here was the Lawrence Welk Orchestra. We’ve had other musicians here through the years, including Guy Lombardo, and many rock musicians as well.”

Bourn says many weddings and anniversaries happen at the ballroom.

“The school prom is held here pretty much every year,” Bourn said. “A lot of people use this venue. A lot of them come because it’s almost a family tradition, where you’ve had grandparents meet here, get married here, have their anniversaries here, there kids got married here, and now their grandchildren are using it.”

For more information, contact the ballroom at (402) 352-9972, or by Email at

Copyright 2020 KOLN. All rights reserved.