In the middle of a show at Cain’s Ballroom — when the maple floorboards are trembling, the neon star in the ceiling is gleaming and a high guitar note is bending toward bliss — you might suspect that the room was never intended for this.
You’d be right.
In 1924, before Bob Wills played his first dance at Cain’s, before Sid Vicious punched a hole in the wall, before artsy millennials started haunting the neighborhood, this broad brick building was supposed to be a garage or car dealership, owned by W. Tate Brady, a Tulsa founding father.
But Brady died. A dance instructor took over. The Depression hit. And the space was reborn as Cain’s — a great American music venue whose history of hope and hell-raising makes it a treasure.
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By Christopher Reynolds