Texas promoter Edwin Cabaniss with Kessler Presents has announced plans to restore Dallas’ Longhorn Ballroom. The infamous nightclub was once owned by Chicago mob associate Jack Ruby, who famously shot and killed John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald as he left Dallas police headquarters on Nov. 23, 1963.
The Longhorn opened in the 1950s as singer Bob Wills’ Ranch House. It was later run by recording artist and record company executive Dewey Groom through the 60s and 70s, hosting concerts by Night King Cole, Patsy ClineT-Bone Walker and many more.
Cabaniss plans to incorporate the venue’s long history when it reopens this spring, in part with the original museum-style display cases built into the walls. The venue has changed hands several times in recent years and closed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These cases include everything from Tex Ritter‘s suit to James Brown‘s mantle; an extraordinary collection of guitars from artists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Waylon Jennings, Tammy Wynetteand BB King,” according to a news release announcing the reopening plans.
“As a 5th generation Texan, I know how important the return of the Longhorn Ballroom is to Texas in general and to Dallas specifically,” says Cabanis. “The lore is real. The floors have secrets and the walls have memories. And we’re excited to tell those stories with every show we present.”
Cabannis previously restored The Kessler Theater in Dallas and The Heights Theater in Houston.
In a statement, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson added that the venue is “a monument to our city’s rich musical history,” calling the project “a wonderful opportunity to help preserve a piece of our past.”