Historic Willowbrook Ballroom destroyed in fire

SHARE Historic Willowbrook Ballroom destroyed in fire

A fire destroyed a historic ballroom in Willowbrook. / ABC-7 photo

Just days before Halloween, a building at the center of one the Chicago area’s most well-known ghost stories burned to the ground.

About 2 p.m., a roof fire was reported at the Willowbrook Ballroom at 8900 Archer Ave., according to Fire Chief Daniel Niemeyer of the Tri-State Fire Protection District. Upon arriving, firefighters found smokecoming from the roof, which broke out in flames minutes later.

According to legend, that is where the teen girl spent her last evening in 1927 before she was killed in crash on her way home. From then on, there were numerous accounts of “Resurrection Mary” sightings in and around the ballroom, dressed in a white gown and slippers.

Those sightings were particularly common around Halloween.

The typical story involves a young man who dances with a pallid girl at the ballroom and then offers her a ride home, which involves driving about 3.5 miles northeast on Archer Avenue past Resurrection Cemetery in Justice.

When the vehicle passes the cemetery gates, the girl either jumps out and disappears into the gate, or vanishes from the car.

Friday’s fire at the Willowbrook was deemed “a total loss” and the cause remained under investigation, officials said.

The original ballroom burned down in 1930, according to the ballroom’s website. It was rebuilt at a then-staggering cost of $100,000, complete with a soda fountain, restaurant and flower shop. It also hosted some of the biggest bands of the day.

The ballroom celebrated its 90th birthday in August.

The Latest
A modern blimp requires no pilot, little or no fuel, creates no noise, and can hold multiple cameras capable of independently tracking carjackers and criminals.
Morel hit a two-run homer in the victory against the Reds on Wednesday after Cubs manager David Ross moved him to the bottom of the batting order.
It’s unclear if Griffin will continue his heavy spending in Illinois politics after he and his Citadel hedge fund have packed up and left for Miami. But what was obvious was that his latest big bet on elections in this state was a big failure, up and down the ballot.
Kopech gave up two runs in the first on Mike Trout’s RBI double and his own error covering first base trying to finish a double play, allowing Trout to score. Two more runs on Luis Renfigo’s homer made it 4-0.