ABANDONED MICHIGAN: The Ruins of the Grande Ballroom
This is a sad one…..the remains of the once-great Grande (pronounced ‘grandee’) Ballroom in Detroit, where Michigan Rock’n Roll reigned. The MC5 were considered the house band, considering the tons of times they performed concerts there.
It was host to the greatest of the great 60’s bands & performers: Cream, Grateful Dead, Chambers Brothers, Tim Buckley, James Gang, Fugs, Moby Grape, Vanilla Fudge, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy Blues Band, Canned Heat, The Byrds, Big Brother & The Holding Company, Blood Sweat & Tears, Electric Prunes, The Who, Youngbloods, Eric Burdon & The Animals, Sly & The Family Stone, Troggs, Mothers of Invention, Traffic, Yardbirds, Procol Harum, Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Love, Blue Cheer, Jeff Beck Group, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Spirit, Steve Miller Blues Band, Country Joe & The Fish, Albert King, Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, Spooky Tooth, The McCoys, Ten Years After, John Mayall, Pacific Gas & Electric, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Moody Blues, Jefferson Airplane, Deep Purple, Lee Michaels, Iron Butterfly, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Savoy Brown, Three Dog Night, Steppenwolf, Van Morrison, Commander Cody, Velvet Underground, Chuck Berry, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Joe Cocker, Rush, Golden Earring, Dr. John, Bo Diddley, Johnny Winter, The Turtles, T-Rex, The Kinks, Elton John, J. Geils Band, King Crimson, Blue Oyster Cult and many others.
Also many of Michigan’s favorite bands graced the stage like Brownsville Station, Frijid Pink, Rare Earth, Amboy Dukes, The Frost, Woolies, Rationals, SRC, Stooges, The Up, Bob Seger & The Last Heard, Terry Knight & The Pack and many, many more.
It was originally a jazz dance hall in the 1920’s, a 1950’s dance club, a skating rink and a storage facility for mattresses; but the Grande finally earned it’s legendary status in the 1960’s when it became THE rock venue in the Detroit & Mid-Michigan area, opening in 1966.
When it closed for good in 1972, intruders entered and stole many fixtures; the surrounding neighborhood also still suffers to this day, becoming just as neglected and run down as the Grande. View the photo gallery below to see this once-awesome venue and how it looks decades later.
Wanna visit? Do so, but I suggest daylight hours only.
Located at: 8952 Grand River, Detroit (corner of Grand River & Beverly).