President Shaw
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Ad for Battle of the Bands, Paseo Hall courtesy Chuck Haddix

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Paseo Hall

Paseo Hall, located on the bustling corner of 15th and Paseo, opened in March 1924. Bennie Moten had been playing for white audiences at the hall, then known as Dehoney's, for several years. An astute businessman, Moten took over management of the hall and opened it to African American patronage. The eight-piece Moten band played the hall Thursday and Saturday nights, and Moten rented it out other nights for fifty dollars. Patrons thronged through the broad double doors facing 15th Street. Inside the spacious ball room, dancers two-stepped across the immense, polished, wood dance floor. A popular gathering spot for the community, Paseo Hall hosted Thanksgiving dances and other annual celebrations. Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington and other bands on tour rounded out their schedules with Monday night dates at Paseo Hall. The eastern bands brought a highly arranged, polished style of orchestration that influenced Moten, Lee and the other Kansas City bands. With few interruptions, Paseo Hall remained at the center of the social swirl in the 18th and Vine community until 1941, when St. Stephen Baptist Church bought the building and converted the ball room into an auditorium.

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