By Bethany Wolf

Texas Dance Hall Preservation, Inc. (TDHP) is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2007 with a mission to preserve and promote Texas dance halls. These dance halls are not just historic buildings; they are cultural treasures that have played a significant role in shaping the social, economic, and cultural fabric of rural communities across Texas. Through our efforts, TDHP has been able to make a tremendous impact on these communities, ensuring that dance halls remain an important part of the state’s history and identity.

One of the most significant impacts of TDHP’s work has been the preservation of Texas dance halls. Many halls, which were once the center of social activity in rural communities, have been threatened by neglect, abandonment, and development. Many of the halls have fallen into disrepair or been destroyed, and their loss would mean the erasure of an important part of Texas history. TDHP has worked tirelessly to prevent this from happening by advocating for the preservation of these buildings, providing funding for their restoration, and raising awareness of their historical significance.

In addition to preservation efforts, TDHP has also worked to promote Texas dance halls as important cultural institutions. Our organization hosts events and educational programs that celebrate the history and significance of these halls, including the Swing Into dance event, bringing attention to the vital role halls played in the development of Texas culture. Through our efforts, TDHP has helped to ensure that future generations will recognize the value of these historic buildings and the culture they represent.

The impact of TDHP’s work extends beyond preservation and promotion. Texas dance halls are also important economic engines in rural communities. They bring people together for social events, provide jobs to local people, and serve as a venue for live music, which is a significant part of Texas culture. TDHP has recognized the economic importance of these halls and has worked to support their continued operation. In 2020, TDHP raised $250,000 to assist dance halls that were closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, through our Preservation Fund Grant Program, TDHP has been able to provide more than $50,000 in funding for repairs and renovations to ensure that the halls remain viable economic assets for their communities.

Perhaps most importantly, TDHP’s work has helped to strengthen the sense of community in rural Texas. Dance halls have always been places where people come together to socialize, dance, and celebrate. By preserving these halls and promoting their cultural significance, TDHP has helped to foster a sense of pride and belonging in rural communities across Texas. The halls are a tangible reminder of the state’s rich history and culture, and they serve as a source of connection and identity for those who live in these communities.

TDHP’s work has made a significant impact in rural communities across Texas. Through our efforts to preserve, promote, and support Texas dance halls, TDHP has helped to ensure that these cultural treasures remain an important part of the state’s identity. By doing so, TDHP has strengthened the sense of community in rural Texas, supported the economic viability of these communities, and ensured that future generations will be able to appreciate the significance of these historic buildings.