Floyd Paul was born in 1903 in Elgin, NE. He married
Hansen of Neligh in 1933. Floyd sold cars and farm equipment
and was in the restaurant business in the early days in Scottsbluff,
NE, Lyman, NE and Sterling, CO. where his son,
Gene was born in 1940.
Moving back to Nebraska, Floyd began operating The Arlington
Ballroom in Arlington, NE located on the Washington CO Fairgrounds
in 1944, while still selling farm equipment in Fremont.
Coming from a musical family, Floyd was an accomplished
and saxophone player. He was also a dance instruction. In 1951,
business was booming at The Arlington Ballroom, and Floyd took
on the position of manager on a full time basis.
In the early 1950’s – many name entertainers performed
at the Ballroom, including Lawrence Welk, Louis “Satchmo”
Armstrong & Clifford Keyes. Floyd formed his own version of
The Radio City Music Hall “Rockettes” with talented high school
dancers from Arlington that performed throughout the state.
With the advent of “Rock & Roll” in the Mid-1950’s
– Floyd was
a pioneer in booking both local and national rock performers to
play in Arlington, alternating nights with “big bands” like The
Dick Wickman Orchestra & The Von Seggern Bros. Bands.
Early groups to play for Floyd included Buddy Knox &
Rhythm Orchids, Johnny & The Hurricanes, Bill Black’s Combo,
The Champs, The Big Beats, & The Preston Love Orchestra.
Floyd was one of the first to give a break to fledgling
bands, giving them the opportunity to play for live dances for the
first time. Many regional bands played on a regular basis at
The Arlington Ballroom, including The Nomads, Don Sohl & The
Roadrunners, Little Joe & The Ramrods, The Strollers, The
Velaires, Johnny Ray Gomez, & The Impacts.
It is said that Floyd managed tours for the late Buddy
a time, and possibly even owned the rights to Knox’s Million-Seller
“Party Doll” – however, this has not been confirmed. Floyd
passed away in 1972 at the age of 68. The Arlington Ballroom
burned down years ago & all that is left is memories of a legendary
Ballroom & the man that made it “the place to go for dancing” for
over 25 years – Floyd Paul.