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MEMORIES OF THE COMMODORE BALLROOM
 
     Better than two generations of Americans who lived within 50 miles 
of Lowell between 1924 and 1972 have fond memories of the Commodore 
Ballroom, especially those who grew up in the days prior to TV when 
social dancing was a major form of recreation for both young people 
and adults.

     For 48 years, the Braun family ran one of the finest ballroom 
operations in the United States -  its dance floor was considered 
superb - and just about every top name band in the country graced its 
stage.

     The Braun saga, however, goes back further than the Commodore. It goes back to the turn-of-the century when an inn owner in Dusseldorf, Germany named Carl Ludwig Braun teamed up with a gentleman named Lewis Bopp to bring carousel (Merry Go Round) concessions to America.

     Old C.L., who allegedly played the cello, originally settled in Philadelphia where he ran a candy store and was a member of the Philly Philaharmonic Orchestra - along with the carousel enterprise.

     His amusement concession exploits eventually brought him to 
southern New Hampshire and Canobie Lake Park in Salem, where one of these historic German-built carousels is still in operation... having been refurbished just recently by Brian Buckler of Canobie. Braun 
also had other concession rides at Canobie.

     C.L.'s son Carl took over the reins of his father's business 
following his death, and eventually became a part owner of Canobie 
Lake Park. In 1924, he purchased what had been a roller skating rink 
on Thorndike Street, Lowell and turned it into what was to become a 
most famous ballroom - the Commodore.

     Moving to Lowell, Braun continued to lease the Canobie Lake Ballroom, Lakeview in Dracut, and other facilities during a period 
when "check dancing" was enormously popular. The Commodore and other top dancehalls attracted couples from as far away as Manchester, N.H. and Providence, R.I.

     Louie Armstrong, Count Basie and His Orchestra, and Duke Ellington all played the Braun-run ballrooms. So did Les Brown, Stan Kenton, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Woodv Herman, and Glen Miller.
 

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