The History of Webster Hall

  • The Beginning

    The Beginning
    Webster Hall was built in 1886 by Charles Rentz, who was inspired by the popular Queen Anne archetecture style that was in America at the time. He finished the hall with a French-styled Mansard roof that has two slopes and windows peeking from the top. The hall was built for Charles Goldstein as a public rental hall, though he and his family lived in the Annex.
  • Period: to

    The History of the Hall

  • A Meeting Place

    A Meeting Place
    Webster Hall became a popular meeting place for socialist, anarchist, and leftist groups. It hosted as a meeting place for rallies, protests, and labor unions as well as weddings, lectures, and dances. In 1916 the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union used the hall as a strike headquarters.
  • A String of Fires

    A String of Fires
    Webster Hall was the casualty of a string of fires that took place from 1902-1949. The fire in 1930 destroyed the building, the additions, and the roof, requiring a complete overhaul. This gave the hall the appearance it has today.
  • RCA Takeover

    RCA Takeover
    In 1953 RCA Records noticed the acoustics of the ballroom were perfect for recording and bought Webster. They used it as a recording space, primarily for albums of Broadway plays, until 1968. Here Carol Channing recorded Hello Dolly!, and other notable artists such as Julie Andrews, Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett, and Ray Charles, all recorded at Webster Hall.
  • The Ritz

    The Ritz
    The hall was mostly unused until 1980 when it was bought by Jerry Brandt and renamed The Ritz. For nine years The Ritz acted as a hip music venue that boasted big names in music such as Eric Clapton, Prince, Metallica, U2, along with others who recorded their live performances. The Ritz relocated in 1989.
  • A Restored Webster Hall

    A Restored Webster Hall
    In 1992 the Ballinger Brothers bought and restored Webster Hall to it's original interior color scheme but added new studio, sound, and lighting equipment. At this point the rooms were no longer just for concerts but also acted as a nightclub. The main hall was split into three floors. The Marlin Room, located next to the main building, allowed multiple events to happen at the same time.
  • Webster Hall Becomes a Landmark

    Webster Hall Becomes a Landmark
    The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation recognized Webster Hall as a building that needed to be protected and applied for the hall to become an official landmark in 2008. The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved and on Mar. 18th 2008, Webster Hall became an official landmark in New York City.
  • The Studio Opens

    The Studio Opens
    In Oct. 2008 The Studio at Webster Hall opened for the first time. The 400 capacity venue is located underneath the hall and the Marlin Room. Sometimes typical arena-level bands will play intimate shows for dedicated fans.