♦ Ray Charles
♦ Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra
♦ B. B. King, The Blues Boy
♦ Lloyd Armon and Swingsters
♦ Duke Ellington
♦ Jimmy Witherspoon
♦ Blind Al Hibbler
♦ Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzie Gillespie
♦ Etta “Wallflower” James
♦ "Tear Drop Girl" Ruth Brown
♦ Nat “King” Cole and His Trio
♦ Louis Jordan
This property has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior, Arkansas Historic Preservation Society.The FlagandBanner.com headquarters and storefront resides in the same building as the historic Taborian Hall and the Dreamland Ballroom that once showcased legendary musicians of the 1930’s.
Stately Taborian Hall, located on the corner of Ninth and State Streets, is the only remaining historic building on West Ninth, a testimony to the street’s former vibrancy and glory days as Little Rock’s “Little Harlem.” Once known as Taborian Temple, it was built for the African American fraternal insurance organization, the Knights and Daughters of the Tabor. Construction began on the Classical building in 1916 by local black contractor, Simeon Johnson, and was completed in 1918. Over 1,500 fraternal members attended the dedication of Taborian Temple in that year. Additionally, in August, 1918, a Negro Soldiers Club opened informally on the ground floor, providing a recreational center for African American soldiers stationed at nearby Camp Pike.Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Taborian Temple housed many commercial endeavors including professional offices for Dr. J. V. Jordan, dentist, and Dr. W. B. Black, physician, the Gem Pharmacy, the Ritz Beer Garden, and the Dreamland Grill.
By 1937, the Dreamland Ballroom was firmly established on Taborian’s third floor. The popular dancehall with its famous “swing floor” was a hotbed for big bands, jazz, and blues, and the scene for dances, socials, and basketball games. It was a regular stop for the “Chittlin’ Circuit,” a national touring company of professional black entertainers, revues, and stage shows.With the advent of World War II, the United Service Club, USO, bought the building and turned the first to the third floors into a club that served thousands of black soldiers from Camp Robinson (formerly Camp Pike) and the Stuttgart Air Base. The Dreamland ripped and rollicked during those war years and beyond with legendary musical artists including “Fatha” Earl Hines, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, and Ella Fitzgerald, and comedians Redd Foxx and Sammie Davis. Local stars cut their musical teeth in the Dreamland too including Blind Al Hibbler, Louis Jordan, the Yellowjackets, and Lloyd Armon and his Orchestra.In 1954, the Temple became known as Taborian Hall, and housed three nightclubs: Twin City Club was in the basement; the Waiters Club was located on the second floor; and the Dreamland had morphed into Club Morocco, with an emphasis on “rock.” During the 1950s, “The Blues Boy” B.B. King brought his “Three O’Clock Blues” to the premier night spot along with “Famous Blind Singing Star” Ray Charles who sang “Little Rockers” into hysterics with “Midnight Hour,” and “Roll With My Baby.” Throughout the early 1960s, Taborian Hall’s musical legacy remained strong, but by 1970 had ended.
In 1991, Kerry McCoy, purchased Taborian Hall as a new home for her business, Arkansas Flag and Banner. Through Ms. McCoy’s efforts, the building has been preserved. She is now in the preliminary stages of renovating the legendary Dreamland Ballroom, an effort to save and to share this magnificent auditorium with the community. The million dollar renovation project is expected to break ground in 2011, with completion targeted for 2012. The New Dreamland Ballroom will reopen as an event center and be available to rent in late 2012. Local architectural firm, Heiple & Wiedower, is leading restoration efforts on Dreamland Ballroom.