The Grande Ballroom, Detroit: Four Decades of Music History in Ruins

Author(s): Krysta Ryzewski

Year: 2018


This paper discusses the archaeological and historical survey of the Grande Ballroom, an epicenter of entertainment and socializing for generations of musicians and young adult music fans in Detroit, from the time of its opening as a big band-era dance hall in 1928 until it closed as a rock club in 1972. The Grande lies in ruin today, but archaeology demonstrates how its extant material traces and historical transformations over the course of four decades charts the course of popular music evolution in ways that mirror broader issues in Detroit (and in the U.S.). The Grande is cherished as a club that catered to the counterculture scene and hosted popular local, national and international acts between 1968-1972. But the earlier history of the Ballroom remains underappreciated, owing to deep nostalgia among the baby boomer generation for the rock-era Grande. Tensions between different preservation agendas make the Grande Ballroom’s future uncertain. 

Cite this Record

The Grande Ballroom, Detroit: Four Decades of Music History in Ruins. Krysta Ryzewski. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, New Orleans, Louisiana. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441116)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 604