To many, the Surf Ballroom is an American cultural icon as well as an important historical landmark. The original Surf Ballroom was built in 1933 and destroyed by fire in 1947. The Surf Ballroom was rebuilt in 1948, across the street from the original location.
The Surf Ballroom has a capacity of 2,100 and accomodates visitors with 30,000 square feet of entertainment area, including a 6,300 square foot dance floor. It is often filled to capacity with the music of internationally known performers.
The Surf got its name (and motif) from the desire of the original owners to create a ballroom that resembled an ocean beach club. The murals on the back walls were hand-painted to depict pounding surf, swaying palm trees, sailboats and lighthouses. The furnishings were bamboo and rattan and the ambience that of a south sea island. The stage is surrounded by palm trees and the clouds overhead make it seem as if you were dancing outside under the stars.
On January 27, 2009, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (Cleveland, Ohio) dedicated the Surf Ballroom as a historic rock and roll landmark as part of the Museum's ongoing Landmark Series, which identifies locations in America that are significant to the origins and development of rock and roll.
The plaque reads: "There are few buildings in existence today that represent a complete shift in our musical history. As the last concert venue for Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, the Surf is the bedrock of where the sound and attitude of rock and roll changed forever."