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Youth Build students from Perham High School work to repair the aging roof of Perham's Grand View Heights Ballroom. The newly shingled structure will host a concert with the Unbelievable Uglies on Friday, June 25 after the Turtle Fest parade.

Historic Grand View Heights Ballroom gets new roof

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The Grand View Heights Ballroom is the embodiment of charmed history. Built around 1921, it was home to music and memories for more than 50 years.

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Saved in its eleventh hour from a proposed burn by the fire department, it found its new home at Perham's Pioneer Village Park in 1987. The structure was moved by the East Otter Tail County Historical Society, with the help of individual members, and the community.

Thanks to the foresight and efforts of society members Elmer and LaVonne Seedorf, and Lawrence and MaryAnn Guck, the "granddaddy of dance halls" was donated and moved in two parts, at a cost of $5,000. It was set on a brand new foundation. The building was rejoined and the sagging roof repaired, having suffered from snow load and old age over its long and colorful history.

The roofline of the ballroom has always been a blessing and a curse. The dancehall holds approximately 4,900 square feet of entertainment space. The low roofline makes a very low impact on the natural surroundings. Its exceptionally shallow slope, however, does not effectively shed water or snow.

Over the last 20 years of life in its new home, old maladies began to resurface. Action needed to be taken to once again save the historic treasure.

The new board of the East Otter Tail County Historical Society reached out to the community, and found willing hands to restore the roof. Youth Build students from Perham High School offered their assistance. Under the instruction of Jon Skow, the students raised sagging roof joints, replaced rotting boards, and entirely re-shingled the dancehall. Once again the Grand View Heights Ballroom stands ready to continue its 89-year tradition of music, dancing and charm.

The restoration is still ongoing, and the recent roofing has yet to be paid for. Costing much more than the original $5,000 it took to move the building, the Historical Society is once again working closely with individuals and local organizations to raise the necessary funds for the roof project. Support from the community will be critical to ensure the continued preservation of this truly grand structure.

On Friday, June 25 the East Otter Tail County Historical Society invites guests of all ages to dance the night away in the newly shingled Grand View Heights Ballroom. Following the Turtle Fest parade, the Unbelievable Uglies return to the ballroom stage at 8 p.m. and will rock 'til midnight. Tickets are $15 at the door, kids 12 and under are admitted free.

The Historical Society can be reached at 218-841-EOT3 or 218-841-3683. Donations may be mailed to Historical Society, P.O. Box 32, Perham, MN 56573.

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