Dean, the co-founder of
"I really feel that it's important that these dance halls remain alive -- it's family," Dean said. "I want to help this place stay alive."
Dean was pivotal in reviving Sengelmann Hall in
"The first thing a young boy wants to do is dance with a young girl; dance halls are the best way to do that," Dean said. "When you've taken away the dance hall and the dance music and the dancing, nobody is going to dance. You've got to save the dance halls, the dance music and save the dancing."
Perhaps the biggest thing that will change about the hall is its tag line.
Dean, an expert in
The first dance at the present
Back then, the hall was lit with lanterns. Throughout the years, owners added air conditioning and new wooden tables.
Aside from correcting history, Dean plans to start an outdoor music festival, secure a liquor license, bring in new country artists and make the venue smoke-free.
"I don't want people burning the hall down or putting their cigarettes out on the dance floor," Dean said.
There's one thing he wanted to make clear, given the new owner's business background: "I am not going to bring in bikini babes," Dean said.
She wanted to sell to somebody who loved dance halls as much as she does.
"Jack and I have loved that place, and we are so honored to have run it as long as we did," Kleinecke said. "It's a beautiful dance hall. Love it, go dance in it and just enjoy it."
This isn't the first time the hall has changed hands. Throughout the years, it was owned by
Dance halls were pillars of culture and heritage for Czech and German immigrants who passed their music down through the generations.
While Schroeder is known as a family venue, its past is speckled with colorful stories that have been passed down through the years.
Drunk off hooch and jealousy, a young man at the dance hall became the subject of one of those stories.
Inside the hall, as his sweetheart danced with someone else, he could no longer contain his rage.
He mounted his horse and rode into the hall, knife and gun in hand. People scattered and screamed as he grabbed a guitar from the musician and cut its strings before shooting out the lights and riding out into the darkness.
The night Tammy Wynette and
Country music legend
"They were great-sounding places, and people would just be packed in there to hear some real country music," Watson said. "When I was first starting out, if it hadn't been for those dance halls all over Texas, I probably wouldn't be where I am today."
He made history in his own career at Schroeder when he recorded a live album from the dance hall in 2004 and opened for
He said the responsibility to keep the dances going depends more on the community than the owners.
"It's only as good as the people who attend it," Birmingham said. "As long as we continue to be a part of it, then there'll always be a Schroeder Hall."
He considers the sale more of a "passing of the baton."
"It has ambiance, and it has history that other places don't," Birmingham said. "You can't buy and sell history."
For some Schroeder supporters, the sale to a man who trademarked the word "breastaurant" is anxiety inducing.
She started going to shows at the hall in 1999 and said she feels like she's grown up with the musicians who played there, including
"It's not just a bar; you can go out there and dance, enjoy the music, talk to your friends," she said. "It's always fun and has a family atmosphere."
She and her friends don't want that atmosphere and quality to change but hopes the new owner brings in new Texas country and Red Dirt artists.
There's potential to keep the hall heading in a positive direction, she said.
"If you don't go to shows, places close down," Arnold said. "You hear of venues in
Dean said his goal is to continue Schroeder's tradition.
"Tons of people are rediscovering dance," Dean said. "It's fun; it's a great social thing; it's healthy, and once you dance in a real historic dance hall, there's nothing else like it."
(c)2014 Victoria Advocate (Victoria, Texas)
Visit Victoria Advocate (Victoria, Texas) at www.victoriaadvocate.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services