Gruene Hall: One of Texas’ Oldest Dance Halls Celebrates 140th Birthday This Year

By  | 
Tony Maples Photography


Gruene Hall is set to celebrate its 140th year of being the oldest continually operating and most famous dance hall in Texas. The Hall, built in 1878, is a symbol of Texas. Not much has physically changed since the Hall was first built.

The 6,000 square foot dance hall was built by Henry (Heinrich) D. Gruene in 1878. With its high pitched tin roof, the Hall still has the original layout with side flaps for open-air dancing, a bar in the front, a small lighted stage in the back and a huge outdoor garden. Advertisement signs from the 1930s and 40s still hang in the old hall and around the stage.

A Hub of the Community Then and Now

Gruene Hall 1800's

Photo: Facebook/gruenehalltx

In the 1800s, Gruene Hall held weekly dances and played host to everything from traveling salesmen to high school graduations to badger fights. Today, the Hall continues to be a center for the Gruene and Central Texas social and entertainment scene, and the activities are just as varied. In any given week, locals hold court in the front bar after work talking over their day’s activities, a friend’s passing, the weather or the state of the economy. Possibly at the same time, the filming of a movie or commercial or preparation for a festival, fundraiser, or a major corporation’s private party may be taking place in the main hall or beer garden.

Many Famous Musicians Got Their Start at the Hall

Gruene Hall

Photo: Facebook/gruenehalltx

In more recent years, Gruene Hall has become internationally recognized as a destination tourist attraction and major music venue for up-and-coming as well as established artists. Since 1975, the Hall has played host to hundreds of celebrities whose pictures adorn the walls. The owner’s focus on booking singer-songwriters and artists who play original material has provided a fertile proving ground for many former “new talents” such as George Strait, Hal Ketchum, and Lyle Lovett.