Stagecoach Ballroom, 2516 E Belknap St, Ft. Worth, has had several locations. According to the history on their website, it originally opened October 1961. Ray Chaney was the original owner and called it the Stagecoach Inn. It was housed in the old Stagecoach Hotel on Main street. In 1963, the club was moved into the old Crystal Springs Ballroom on Settlement Road. This building was destroyed in a fire in 1967. April 1967, Chaney leased an old Safeway store on Belknap and that’s where you can find it today. Before you step inside, look to your right and you can see downtown Ft. Worth lit up.
Ray Chaney was killed in an automobile accident in August of 1972. His wife ran the Stagecoach until 1974 when she sold it to Bruno Czajkowski and Milton Trojacek. They renamed it the Stagecoach Ballroom, and called the house band the Stagecoach Express. Bruno’s daughter, Jean bought out Milton’s interest in the ballroom in 1984 and partnered with her parents until 1999 when she and her husband, Kiren, took over the ownership and operations of the dance hall. The house band is now called The Coachmen and they play every Sunday at 4 p.m.
In 1986 Rob Lowe, Wynona Ryder, Jane Alexander, Jason Robards, and Trace Adkins who played a member in the “Bayou Band,” filmed “Square Dance” at the Stagecoach. The film later appeared as an NBC movie of the week under the title “Home Is Where The Heart Is.” October 1994, TBS filmed a segment of it’s series: “America’s Music: The Roots of Country” that was released in 1996 as a three-part, six episode documentary. In 1997 it was an Emmy nominee for “Outstanding Achievement In Informational Programming.” From 1990 to 1992, the Stagecoach was “Ft. Worth’s home to wrestling” on Monday nights.
Currently, Friday nights the doors open at 6 p.m. and 8 to midnight local and upcoming bands play. Saturday the doors open at 7 pm. with bigger concert name bands starting at 8:30 and going until 1 a.m. Sunday the doors open at 1:30 with a dance lesson offered from 2 to 3:30. The Coachmen play from 4 to 9 p.m. Cover charge is usually $7, unless a name band is playing. Ticket information and upcoming bands are on their website.
You can bring in snacks, and we noticed many people had food. There were plenty of tables, but since we didn’t know anything about the venue before we arrived, I called and reserved one. The bar is the length of the interior, so if you can’t get a drink – it isn’t their fault! Very friendly bar staff do circulate around the tables if you prefer to order from your seat. Parking is along the sides and back of the building.
The venue boasts vintage lighting and a 3,500 sq foot dance floor and is family friendly. The night we went the crowd was on the older side of 30, with a small group of under 21 who came with parents or other friends. If you have an event coming up, the ballroom is available for rent.
Jeff Woolsey & The Dancehall Kings were playing the night we went. They showed up on stage in pressed white shirts and black cowboy hats. They kept the floor filled and dancing. We enjoyed watching the other dancers. Very few people wore something other than boots. Many men and women sported felt cowboy hats (black for the most part) and lots of bling on the belts. If the ladies weren’t wearing sparkly, studded jeans, they had short, fringy skirts or dresses. I watched one young couple take what may have been their first date dance on the floor, grinning and holding on to each other as they shuffled what we call, the teen two step. Three quick steps at a diagonal and a slow step forward.
There are ceiling fans (operating) over the tables and cold air conditioning blowing on the floor, so it kept the dancers from getting too sweaty. The only issue I found was with the bathroom stalls. They are VERY narrow front to back. But they were clean and well stocked!
We had a very enjoyable time. We especially appreciated the hotel suggestions on their website. La Quinta (who has been taken over by Wyndam) was a straight shot nine minutes down Sylvania. It was wonderful not to have to travel on the highway to get to the dance floor and back!
Hope to see you on a dance floor!