Location  1024 Newport St., Detroit, Michigan
Historic District Jefferson Chalmers local (City of Detroit) historic district
Website <website>



Owner LeRoy and Rosemary Burgess

To Do

  • Information from this page needs to be cross checked with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanity_Ballroom_Building - Material that could be moved to the Wiki should be and then deleted from this page. The goal should be to keep this page as a space for local activism around the building.


The Vanity Ballroom was opened in 1929 after the stock market had crashed and it was opened due to the Great Depression.  The architect was Charles N. Agree and his style was Aztec themes. The Vanity was known for the “floating” floor (which was on a spring that made the floor bounce) and they also had a revolving chandelier that reflected off of the mirrors in the Vanity. The ballroom had many performers visit such as Duke Ellington, Berry Goodman, Louis Prima, Jimmy Tommy decay and Cab Calloway.  During the 1930s-1940s, other performers played at the Vanity, such as the Herman Orchestra, Tony Pastor and Claude Thornhill. The person who ran the Vanity for thirty years was Edward J. Strata. His partner, Edward J Davis, built the Grande Ballroom 1927. There were stores that were inside the Vanity Ballroom. These stores were the Cunningham Drugstore, Friedberger Jewelry Store, and Harry Surfin Burn Shoes, which was on the second floor of the Vanity Ballroom.  

The first time it closed was in 1958 and it was not reopened until 1964. The owner passed away a year after they reopen and was taken over by LeRoy B Macally. The Vanity Ballroom was considered a recreation center during the second time it was open.   During the Detroit riots in 1967, the Vanity Ballroom’s life was declining. The Vanity ballroom was later sold to the Van Mineff Corp. investors in 1971. After being sold, some big time bands played at the Vanity. These bands were MC5, Ted Nugent, Amboy Dukes, the Stooges and other performers who played at the Grande Ballroom.  Another band that would play at the Vanity was the Velvet Underground in June 18, 1971 and September 3, 1971.

In the 1980s, twin brothers Ronald and Donald Murphy bought the Vanity from Van Mineff for $200,000. They envisioned the ballroom to have Jazz, disco and parties.  The Vanity was the last of the rock venues. Since the city was struggling, the twin brother could not hold the Vanity much longer and folded the venue. The Vanity was reopened in 1983. In 1986, the Vanity was home to the Huge Borde’s Trinidad Tripoli Band on Friday nights. 1987, the Vanity Ballroom hosted the MC5 former front man Ron T’s birthday party. The Vanity closed down in 1988 and was on the top ten list of endangered buildings by then Preservation Wayne.

Works Cited


Recent Walk Through 2014