From The Oak Clearing Files
Evergreen Temperance Resort
One of Racine’s old dance halls was Evergreen Hall, an alcohol-free pavilion built on the far south side about 1899. Dancing parties and picnics were held almost every day and night during summer months.
In 1904, the Milwaukee Sentinel stated that at least 1,000 Temperance people from Racine, Milwaukee and Kenosha visited Evergreen Hall daily.
The proprietors of Evergreen were Henry Clinton Case and Frank D. Case. The dance hall was Henry’s idea he wanted to build a resort where “neither the beers of the Germans nor the stronger drinks of the Yankees would offend the sight or smell of the Temperance people.” The hall was named after the early pioneer Evergreen cemetery the was also on the lakeshore just north of it.
In June 1900, Henry wrote a letter to the Racine Weekly Journal describing his intent in opening the hall. ” He declared in the newspaper. “A good, clean, cheerful place where both young and old may find either recreation or rest during the warm weather of summer … An ideal place for picnics and private parties which shall be free from intoxicating beverages and the attending evils”. “All sober people are welcome and all interested in temperance reform and the welfare of the community are cordially invited to call and inspect the place.”
The original building was constructed by J.I. Case, to serve as training stables for his select racing horses.
The building was located in Lakeside area near the east end of 24th Street (Roosevelt Park) and burned to the ground in 1930.
The Racine Weekly Journal, Thursday July 27, 1899
Very Pleasant Summer Resort
Just Completed by Clinton H. Case South of the College
It Is Named Evergreen Hall
Building is 40×80 and Has a Dance Hall and Every Accommodation – Admirably Located – No Intoxicants Allowed on Grounds
Clinton H. Case has just completed a very handsome and commodious summer club house at the Evergreen farm, located on the lake shore road, a short distance south of Racine college, and adjoining the Doolittle farm. The building is 40×80 and will be known as Evergreen hall. It is certainly the finest place of its kind in Racine county. The location is admirable, being on the bank of the lake where it is always cool and delightful. The building is surrounded by spacious grounds, with plenty of shade trees and seats arranged for all. On every side of the house are large and spacious verandas, up and down stairs, where hundreds of people can sit on a hot summer day or night and enjoy the cool and invigorating breezes from the grand old Lake Michigan. There are racks along the sides of the lower veranda for at least several hundred wheels. The lower part of the building will be used for lunch and ice cream parlors and temperance drinks of every kind, no intoxicating beverages being allowed on the premises. On the second floor is a spacious dancing hall with hard wood floor and doors lead out on the verandas. Throughout the hall is excellently ventilated. Steps have been built leading down to the lake and boats will be kept for use when the lake is quiet. There is certainly not a more convenient and perfect summer resort in this section of the country, and Mr. Case proposes to conduct it on first class lines. The opening will take place on Saturday evening of next week to which the public is cordially invited. There will be music and those who desire to dance can do so. Refreshments will also be served. The time for keeping the place open at night will be limited until 12 o’clock. Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Bartlett of New York state have been engaged to superintend the hall and grounds, and the people of Racine and surrounding country will find them polite and affable in every particular. It might be well to state that the resort is on the direct route of the Kenosha and Racine bicycle path and no doubt bicycle riders will find it a nice convenient place to stop and rest and partake of refreshments and lunch. Mr. Case states that he will make it a special object for church picnics, socials and private parties. Such enterprise certainly deserves encouragement by the people of Racine.