Houston , 77004
Notes: Class of 2011, 11HR23; marker shipped 12-26-2012; marker not searchable by Keyword in THC Atlas, locate via marker search by County; consideration is being given to relocating the marker due to its current proxsimity to the street
Directions: From I-45 south on Dowling to Elgin, the building is on the southwest corner of the intersection across from Emancipation Park; the marker is on Elgin near the northwest building entrance/west side parking lot
Key Time Period: 1920 - 1940 Post-WW I & Depression
Marker Text: Between 1900 and 1920, a residential building boom fueled the establishment of a commercial district on Dowling Street, the Third Ward’s main artery. The bustling district included restaurants, shops, churches, stores, professional offices, movie theaters and nightclubs. Located at the corner of Elgin and Dowling Streets, the Eldorado Ballroom was designed by architect Lenard Gebart for the prominent philanthropists and business owners Clarence Arnold Dupree and his wife Anna Johnson Dupree. The ballroom opened in 1939 and was named for one of the social clubs to which the black community’s most prominent professionals and business people belonged.
The Eldorado Ballroom provided opportunities for members of the black middle and upper classes to demonstrate their wealth and sophistication. The ballroom launched the careers of musicians and band leaders such as Milton Larkin, Illinois Jacquet and Arnett Cobb. In the late 1950s, the Eldorado Ballroom hosted popular entertainment acts from nationally-known black artists in the blues and R&B genres.
By the 1960s, migration out of the inner city resulted in the relocation or closure of many businesses in the area. In addition, the declining importance of social clubs, inadequate parking, and competition from other venues cumulatively led to the ballroom’s closure in the 1970s. Following the deaths of the Duprees, oilman Hubert Finkelstein purchased the property in 1984 and 15 years later donated it to Project Row Houses, a community organization. The Eldorado Ballroom is one of the few historic buildings remaining in the third ward’s former commercial district.
175 Years of Texas Independence * 1836-2011
Marker is property of the State of Texas
Marker Type: Marker with Post
Historical Org: Texas Historical Commission (THC)
Key Map Information: 493 Y
GPS Coordinates: 29 44.078, 95 21.928
Precinct No: 1
Marker No: 17020