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Neal's Pavilion (dance hall) quilt square
#13 on Map

Melanie Elsner DraperMelanie Elsner Draper was the daughter of Des Moines pioneer Max Elsner, former owner of the oldest continuous business in Des Moines, and the wife of Vernon Draper, whose grandparents Herman and Annie Draper owned and operated the Children’s Industrial Home and Training School. She was a leader of the Des Moines Historical Society and, in 1975, wrote and published the first history of Des Moines: Timber, Tides, and Tales: a History of the Des Moines Area. Melanie made the quilt square depicting Neal’s Pavilion.

Neal’s Pavilion (dance hall)

Built in 1915 or 1916 next to a sawmill started on the site of the old Van Gasken mill at the mouth of Des Moines Creek, the building which became Neal’s Pavilion, a dance hall run by the Neal brothers, was supposed to be a creosote plant but was never used. Even after the mill was finally finished, this building remained a dance hall until 1929 or 1930, when it was torn down to make way for a new dance hall. The newer building was destroyed by fire in 1954.

—paraphrased from One Hundred Years of the “Waterland” Community: A History of Des Moines, Washington

Neal's Mill photo


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