By Mrs. Audrey Wilson, Lehi, Utah
My Grandfather James Blundell Smuin, Jr. had an Orchestra, a family organization, which played all over the country. As there was no hall in Lehi, Grandfather thought of building one and the school and church agreed to lend their support. They started construction of The Smuin Dance Academy in 1912.
Uncle Jay, James‘ oldest son mixed all the mortar and Chase Featherstone laid the brick. Most of the carpentry work was completed by my husband Lyall‘s uncle, Monroe Wilson.
The dance hall had a spring floor, the third hall in the State with this type of dance floor construction, the other two being the Odeon Dance Hall in Salt Lake and the Apollo in American Fork.
The band stand or stage was at the north end of the hall with benches along the east and west walls with about a five foot walk between the wall and the dance floor. The main entrance was on the south with ticket office, check room, rest rooms, concession booth and stairs leading to a gallery and balcony around the west, south and east sides.
The first dance held in the hall was in November 1913 and the Smuin family ran the dance hall, and the Smuin Orchestra provided the music at the dances. Special trains on the D. & R.G.W and the U.P. Railways brought patrons from Salt Lake City and communities along the way to attend dances at The Smuin Dance Academy in Lehi. When they arrived at Lehi, Uncle Din would meet the train and escort the people to the Hall. The train would then wait on the siding until the dance ended, then and return to Salt Lake. The railroads required a guarantee of $200.00 in fares to operate the excursion trains.
Many community functions were held in this hall through the years. The High School held their proms, Senior Hops there as well as basketball games as late as 1937. The Old Folks Dinner was held in the Tabernacle, across the street east of the hall and in the evening their dance was held in the Smuin Dance Academy. When any young man or woman was called on a Mission, a dance was held with the proceeds going to help their missionary work. There was an attendant for the ladies room and a floor manager was always in attendance at the dances to see that no one danced too close together.
With the changing times the popularity of the hall declined and a Mr. Wolley leased the building to run a skating rink during the summer months for a couple of years. Then my Uncle Jay Smuin and my mother bought skates and managed the rink. After Grandfather died in 1939 the Dance Hall was repossessed by the bank and during the war it was purchased and remodeled into an apartment.