Historical Highlight: From Sanctuary to Dance Hall
In the mid-1970s if you were driving on 69 Highway at the north end of town, you would have seen a very interesting building with the name Floyd Shelman Realtor on the side. It was an unusual looking building with three big gables on the front. It certainly drew one’s attention if you hadn’t seen it before. The building sat next to Hawkins store in what is now the parking lot at The Cameron Market.
Years ago, my dentist mentioned that it had originated as something completely different and that one of his ancestors had been involved in its original building at a different location. His comments peaked my curiosity. After doing some research and talking to folks on social media, I came up with some interesting facts about this one of a kind building.
In the 1930s it had been moved from its original location to the spot on Highway 69 just north of town. The May 26, 1932 Cameron Sun Newspaper reported the building this way. “NEW BUILDING PROJECT. A commodious two story building is soon to be completed at the north end of the Y on the west side of highway 69 by Attorney Elton T. Harris. Plans call for a structure modern and attractive, with two stories to be used for a service station, lunch room and recreation purposes.”
The building became a very popular café, truck stop and dance hall called Green Gables. Several people on social media remember family members going there to eat and dance. Stories from the 30s, 40s & 50s range from family dining to beer drinking and dancing on weekends. I can’t think that the original builders would have ever imagined it becoming what it had.
Who were the original builders and what was it originally? It was originally built as a house of worship for the local Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS). It was named the Delano Church and was located next to the Delano Cemetery just north of town on what is now Frost Road between EE and 69. According to the DeKalb County History books it served the congregation for many years until they started attending the newer church on Main street in Cameron.
The distinct looking building is gone now, but it still stands out in the minds of those that saw it. If only the walls could’ve talked. The stories it would have told about the wide variety of people and events it had hosted as it went from Sanctuary to Dance Hall.