Crystal Ballroom (above), originally built as Cotillion Hall, is a historic building in
Portland, Oregon. Cotillion Hall was built January 21, 1914 as a ballroom, and
dance revivals were held there through the Great Depression. Starting in the
1960s, the hall has also been host to many popular pop, rock, folk, blues and
jazz artists, as well as beat poetry and other entertainment.
It was originally owned by Montrose Ringler who lost the ballroom in the early
1920s. Dad Watson then bought the building in the mid-1920s, when mostly
square dances were held during that time. After Watson’s death in the 1930s,
Ralph Farrier bought the ballroom and renamed it the Crystal Ballroom. The
venue continued hosting square dances through the 1950s.
In 1967, largely psychedelic acts such as the Grateful Dead performed in the
ballroom. This was cut short in 1968, due to concerns about what such music
was doing to the youth of Portland.
From the 1970s through the mid-1990s, the ballroom was not used for any public
events. In 1979, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places
as Cotillion Hall.