Lakeside Ballroom

2001 - Ballroom

A musical family with the need for a place for their children to enjoy and share their talent brought about the building of Lakeside ballroom at Guttenberg in 1927.

William Hubert "Bill" Kann and his wife Josephine, decided there needed to be a place for their children and local citizens to congregate, play music and have fun. The cost of construction was $27,000. Kann knew that his dance floor needed to be special. He enlisted the help of his friend Louis Bahls. The two would lean back in their arm chairs with feet braced against the pot belly stove in Kann's general merchandise store, discussing a good "floor plan". They wanted something so comfortable the dancers wouldn't get tired. The floor should give spring to their movements. They also took into consideration sound effects and lighting. A local carpenter, Louis Schroeder, did the actual construction on the lakeside.

A visionary, Kann knew his children, May, Edmund(sonny), Carl and Lee, had talent so he had their family band play at the intermission when the big bands were on break. he also knew the people would travel some distance to have fun.

No lock and dam system existed in Guttenberg at that time so his market area included Glen Haven and Cassville, Wisconsin. Kann purchased a river launch, traversed the river to the Wisconsin Towns, picked up the guests and delivered them to the Guttenberg side of the river behind his warehouse. There they were met by a driver with a Studebaker Limo to transport them to the Lakeside. All of this was free or included in the price of a night's ticket to the ballroom.

The extravagant floor Kann and Bahls spent so many nights discussing was a tremendous success. People loved to dance and never seemed to get tired.

Because of Sonny's enterprising methods, the Lakeside became a landmark. Sonny was in charge of food, beverage and maintenance at the Lakeside. His father purchased a surplus Hispana Suresa plane from the U.S. Navy so he could keep up with the demand for supplies. Sonny would land in the field north of the ballroom. They painted Lakeside in large letters on the roof of the building to use for aerial navigation. Pilots only had their sight to depend on for navigation in the early days of Lakeside.

Lindbergh and other pioneer aviators used Lakeside as a checkpoint flying from Minneapolis to Chicago and St. Louis. It was many, many years later before the letters were removed when a new roof was constructed on the Lakeside.

The big bands kept the sound of music filling the Lakeside until the '60s when rock and roll music impacted Iowa's entertainment scene. The ballroom with its wonderful dance floor and sterling reputation, provided a perfect venue for the music that would rock the nation for generations to come.

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Flickr Social Icon

Honoring achievements, educating youth, and inspiring artists.