The Troy Street Observer

Did Wallflowers Grow at Horticultural Hall?

Wallflowers are generally spotted along the sidelines at dances, but were wallflowers ever spotted at staid Horticultural Hall? The answer is, rarely.

In the peak years of the big band/dance scene, Horticultural Hall had a prime location across the street from Symphony Hall, and a 5,000-square-foot ballroom. It seems inevitable that big bands would find their way into that space, but I can find only one instance when one actually did so.

For whatever reason, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society wasn’t interested in renting its ballroom, but somehow Charlie Shribman convinced the Society to rent it to him for this night. And so the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra played, and presumably the Society collected its rent, and there were no stories of disturbances in the papers to indicate the night ended badly. But there were no more shows. Perhaps the horticulturists thought that the African rhythms might harm the New England flora.

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