Historic Willowbrook Ballroom goes up in flames

SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - The historic Willowbrook Ballroom in southwest suburban Willow Springs was significantly damaged in a fire Friday.

About 2 p.m., a roof fire was reported at the Willowbrook Ballroom at 8900 Archer Ave., according to Fire Chief Daniel Niemeyer of the Tri-State Fire Protection District. Upon arriving, firefighters found smoke coming from the roof, which broke out in flames minutes later.

Firefighters made sure the building was evacuated and began to fight the fire, but were hampered by the building’s older architecture, poor water supply and access issues, Niemeyer said.

An investigation into the cause of the fire was ongoing, he said.

The fire was the second time a ballroom burned down at that location, Niemeyer said.

The original ballroom burned down in 1930, according to the ballroom’s website. It was rebuilt at a then staggering cost of $100,000, complete with a soda fountain, restaurant and flower shop. It also hosted some of the biggest bands of the day.

The ballroom celebrated its 90th birthday in August.

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