After more than 27 years, Pat’s Hall, the historic Fredericksburg, Texas dance hall is back! Officially opening July 14, 2012, Pat’s Hall will once again have people dancing under its amazing oak tree (estimated to be over 350 years old) on the outside dance floor, and in air-conditioned comfort in the hall. The Grand Re-Opening Dance is scheduled for July 28, and will feature Billy Mata and The Texas Tradition.
Pat’s Hall was founded as Seipp’s Dance Hall in late 1928 by Otto H. Seipp and his wife, Meta. They soon added a pavilion and baseball field, and the location became a very popular entertainment spot for Hill Country residents. However, tragedy struck on December 25, 1947, just before the big Christmas Day dance was about to begin. According to a newspaper account, two men were involved in a dispute, and the fire began soon thereafter from a leaking gas pipe line which had apparently been broken when the stove near a wall had been pushed or tampered with according to Sheriff Bob Loth. The wooded structure was quickly engulfed in flames. The fire also spread to the baseball grandstand. Mrs. Otto Seipp along with three others: Mr. and Mrs. Albert Petri, and Mrs. Benno Eckhardt, were killed in the horrific fire. The two men were later charged with arson.
Mr. Seipp soon rebuilt the hall from mostly non-combustible materials, but in 1953 leased it to John J. (Pat) Patranella, originally from Bryan, Texas, and his wife, the former Pauline Langehenning of Fredericksburg. They held their “grand opening dance” Sunday night, September 20, 1953 with the Longhorn Playboys providing the music. The complex was then renamed Pat’s Hall.
The Patranellas sold the hall in early 1979 to Norman and Fayejean Christian, who continued the operation of the hall until 1985. At that time, the hall was sold to Bill and Kathy Shearer, who purchased the property to house their growing book publishing company. Although publishing continues on this property, Pat’s Hall has reopened as an event center as well as a dance hall.
The building has been remodeled to include new wiring, air-conditioning and heating, newly built restrooms, a catering kitchen and ADA accessibility. But the historic feel of Pat’s Hall is still there – from the built-in concrete tables in the hall and pavilion to the original beer coolers.
Pat’s Hall will host an evening public dance once a month, as well as a Sunday afternoon dance. The bands will be selected for their ability to play music that will keep everyone dancing as long as they wish. In addition, the complex can be rented for private parties such as weddings, conferences, fund raisers, galas, rallies, and other types of events. The pavilion, hall or entire complex can be rented.
For information about the dances, rental, or Pat’s Hall merchandise, call 830.997.7574 or go to PatsHall.com.