2015 - Venues/Ballrooms
The Hi-Way Gardens was a swinging venue for decades. The ballroom was located in Stanwood on the Lincoln Highway (Hwy. 30) and began operating in the early 1920’s.
The ballroom was built by Robert McClellan and Elwood Resewehr as an open-air dance pavilion. In 1936, McClellan bought out his partner and enclosed the dance floor. He added a lunch room and bar; serving alcoholic beverages for the first time. Robert and Grace McClellen ran Hi-Way Gardens for many years.
They featured many big bands and local groups, notably Wayne King, Tiny Hill, Guy Lombardo, Lawrence Welk, Hank Thompson and the Brazo Valley Boys, Jerry Lee Lewis, Conway Twitty.
The McClellans were very supportive of area musicians as they hired local bands including Leo Greco and the Pioneers, Tom Owen’s Cowboys, Kenny Hofer, The Escorts, Dale Thomas & the Bandera Boys, The Untouchables, Deliverance, the XL’s and many others.
The couple successfully operated the popular ballroom until January 1, 1967 when Grace was struck by a car walking home from the ballroom at the conclusion of the New Year’s Eve party. She died instantly. The driver was never found.
In 1979 George Bush appeared there when he was running for President of the United States.
Bob continued to own the ballroom until 1972 when he sold it to Dean and Mary Steckley and Jim Driscoll. The trio ran Hi-Way until selling to Deborah and Rick Wagner in 1976. A wrecking ball took the ballroom down in February of 2007.