May 3, 2006

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The Pavilion theater
The Sans Souci at The Pavilion

The Pavilion dock entrance

The Pavilion dock


August 1945 – the world had changed. The war and the great depression were over. The “greatest generation” was ready to enjoy hard won peace and the heady prosperity of the ‘50s. Writing in the SDHS publication “OFF THE RECORD a pictorial history of Saugatuck in the ‘40s and ’50”, James Schmiechen had it so right: "[After the war] … unknown at the time, the practice of leisure would never be the same. The next season, styles and freedoms had somehow changed. When the young men returned, the over 21 group preferred the light-heartedness and the combo [music] of ‘The Dock’ [bar] to the ‘Cokes’ and stately beat of the ballroom above. From then on, the ballroom was like a Victorian belle who, though she had lost her popularity, kept trying to keep up her appearances.”

The movies, roller skating, wrestling, the annual Arts Ball, the hospital fund raiser - fifteen years slipped by and she was still there - still huge, still red. The 1960 season weeks away. A massive dance hall with flags, pennants, steeples on the waterfront.

But the thrills, the music, first love on the ballroom floor, the big dances were of another time, another place, priceless glamour gone, never to return. The final Big Pavilion event would last but a few hours – stay tuned.                     by Jack Sheridan

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