East Market Gardens was a dancehall that started as a roller rink in 1915. It featured live music, including Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, and many other prominent African American performers. It was a favorite place to dance the “Charleston” and other popular dances in the 1920s but seems to have been largely or exclusively white at that time. A 2004 article noted that by the late 1930s, “change was in the air,” and the “crowds just weren’t what they used to be.” The timing aligns roughly with when the venue began to appear frequently in the Call & Post, suggesting that the “change” may have meant rising patronage by African Americans. East Market Gardens closed in 1951.
Additional information coming soon.
- “Brawl After Dance Brings Arrests.” Akron Beacon Journal. September 5, 1934.
- “871 Attend Dance.” Call & Post. September 5, 1935.
- “Joy Boys Change from East Market Gardens.” Call & Post. November 12, 1936.
- Price, Mark J. “East Market Gardens.” Akron Beacon Journal. April 26, 2004.
- “Swing King Comes to Akron.” Call & Post. July 9, 1936.