Standing next to the pool, Indianola's other most prominent feature was the pavilion. The pavilion is the only part of Indianola Park that still stands today.
Dance Pavilion by Moonlight

The first floor, accessible from the pool area, held lockers, showers, and changing rooms for swimmers. The pumps and filters for the pool were there also.

The second floor was the location of the park's dance floor and orchestra. It was accessed from a separate entrance on the north side of the building or by stairs from the changing area.

The hardwood floored dancing area was very large--20,000 square feet.

Two levels of balconies and promenades on the west side of the building overlooked the pool and offered space for dining or getting a breath of fresh air.

At night, the pavilion was beautifully garlanded with electric lights.

Dancing at Indianola and parks like it was on a per dance basis in the 1900s and 1910s. Tickets cost about 5¢ each.

Couples would buy tickets at the beginning of the evening. On presentation of a ticket, the couple would be admitted to the floor. The band or orchestra would strike up a song and the couples would dance. At the song's end, approximately three to five minutes later, they'd clear the floor and start again.

In later years, this changed to an easier-to-manage flat fee of 25ยข (1920s) to $1 (1930s) per couple.

A battery of ceiling fans kept the dancers cool and snacks and refreshments were available.


Right: Dancers c. 1916.

Below: Description of the dance pavilion from Indianola: the elite summer amusement resort (1908)

Bottom: Advertisement extolling Indianola's dancing facilities from the mid-1920s.



Dancers were strictly policed to ensure that nothing coarse or improper occurred. Certain dances were forbidden and there was a strict dress and conduct code. Dancers who violated the rules were ejected.

Unescorted males were usually not welcome.

There was a reason for this. Dance halls in the early 20th Century had a bad reputation. They were commonly fronts for prostitution and associated vices. They were frequented by bad men and loose women. Robberies, assaults, fights, and murders often occurred there.

Amusement parks like Indianola took great pains to stress that their dance halls were nothing at all like those other dance halls.