A local treasure has received national recognition.
A plaque designating the Surf Ballroom’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places was unveiled Wednesday in conjunction with the start of the annual Winter Dance Party at The Surf. As the final performance venue for Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, The Surf Ballroom’s association with events that have made a significant contribution to history, as well as persons significant in the past, made it a viable candidate for inclusion on the National Registry.
Dale Snyder, whose family purchased the Surf in 1994, thanked previous owners for their commitment to preserving the Surf and its history.
“The baton was passed in 1994 and while we were confident we could save and restore it, we were not so sure from there on,” said Dale, president of Dean Snyder Construction. Creation of the non-profit group to take over operation of the Surf in 2007 has been vital to its success, he noted.
“We look forward to the music and memories that are still to come,” said Jeff Nicholas, president of the North Iowa Cultural Center & Museum following the unveiling of the Historic Registry plaque. The impressive plaque will be permanently displayed outside the Surf later this year.
The present Surf Ballroom was constructed in 1948 following a tragedy that struck the original lakeside venue in the early morning hours of April 20, 1947 when fire destroyed the building. The Surf has maintained its historic function and stands today very much as it did when it re-opened to the public on July 1, 1948.
Nicholas’ eyes filled with tears as he pointed to the unique features of the Surf -- from clouds dancing on its arched ceiling to palm trees aside the stage-- and local “heroes who came along side her in her time of need.”
Dedicated employees, scores of volunteers, the City, Chamber and public have offered great support through the years to keep the music playing at the Surf, he said.
“It’s a blessing to count on City leaders for their strong support and vision,” added Surf Executive Director Laurie Lietz. “
Alexa McDowell, a historic preservation consultant from Boone, helped the Surf make an application to the National Register. She noted the Surf now joins an elite group to achieve National Registry status. Just eight percent of the 13,000 historic properties listed in the state have been named to the- Read More Via e-Edition