2011 - Ballrooms/Venue
The TAHO (Teen Age Hang Out) Club in Spirit Lake is arguably responsible for giving more Northwest Iowa bands their start than any other venue.
The Club came about in 1962 when Vance and Lois Myler approached the Spirit Lake city fathers with the idea of creating a safe place for local teenagers to gather and dance. Originally the TAHO set up quarters in the VFW Hall; but quickly found a permanent home in the unused basement of the City Hall next door to the police station.
Vance, Lois and their teenage children cleaned up the room, painted the walls, brought in donated, mismatched tables and chairs and built a concession stand to sell soft drinks. At first, teens danced to music on a jukebox, but soon the Mylers were booking bands that were looking for their first public place to play as well as their first paying gig.
Many Northwest Iowa rock bands and musicians got their start at the TAHO. Several of them are Iowa Rock ‘N Roll Music Association Hall of Fame Inductees including, Bob York, Vicki Lutes, The Dentairs, Dee Jay & the Runaways, The Koats of Male, Billy Rat & the Finks, The Scavengers and The Sticks N Stones. In addition to these Hall of Famers, dozens of other artists and popular area bands played the TAHO in their early days. Among them are, Monty Baker, The Rhythm Tones, The Torkays, The Rhythm Aces, The Castells, the Chevelles and Lord Calvert & the Extras.
Vance and Lois believed that up-and-coming bands deserved a chance to perform for a live audience of their peers, but they never played favorites. Nearly every band that asked for a gig at the TAHO was given one. Whether they were invited back depended on their ability to play dance music, how much the audience liked them and how well they behaved.
By 1966 the TAHO had outgrown its original space in the Spirit Lake City Hall next to the “Cop Shop” and moved down the street to a much larger upstairs space. Vance and Lois turned over its management to others and the name changed from the TAHO Club to the Spirit Lake Community Recreation Center . However, the kids continued to call it by its original name.
More space equated to bigger crowds and every weekend during the school year teens came from Spirit Lake and the surrounding towns to dance and have fun. One might think that with so many kids from so many different towns, that there might have been trouble, but such was never the case. Everyone got along. Many forged lifelong friendships and even a few met their future spouses at the TAHO.
Sadly Vance Myler passed away in 1994, but Lois fondly remembers the “TAHO Days” as do many Northwest Iowa natives – especially the musicians who may never have had an opportunity to play “professionally” had it not been for the TAHO Club. It is with humble pride the TAHO Club joins the IRRMA Hall of Fame Class of 2011.