AFRO-AMERICAN MUSIC INSTITUTE CELEBRATES 36 YEARS
Pain Relief Beyond Belief
Pittsburgh Music History
Read about the Hill District church that was once a theater promoted as the "Palace of Pleasure". Part of T.O.B.A. circuit in the 1920s it presented 1920s shows by Ma Rainey, Ethel Waters, Bessie Smith, and Butterbeans and Susie. Converted into a large "Swanky" dance hall in 1933 it hosted Duke Ellington, Chick Webb, Fletcher Henderson, Ella and many more of the great 1930s swing bands. The Vern Stern Orchestra broadcast a daily live show on WWSW from the ballroom. On the opening of the ballroom in December of 1933 the Pittsburgh Courier called it "a thing of beauty and a joy forever". It closed in 1940 but the building still stands.