Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chimney Villa Dance Hall

Ad from Circa 1942
 Chimney Villa operated on Lee Highway between Falls Church and Merrifield during the thirties and forties. It was probably located near the intersection of West St. and Lee Highway 2 miles west of Falls Church. James G. Bennett opened the dance hall in early 1931 hosting the Chimney Villa Boys and according to an article at the time, it was “popular with the younger set.” The members of the Chimney Villa Boys are lost to history. The Chimney Villa Boys’ also performed on Mondays at 8pm on WJSV, a radio station located near Mt. Vernon with a transmitter in Potomac Yards. WJSV was started in 1929 by James S. Vance, a Grand Wizard of KKK and publisher the Fellowship Forum (a Klan front publication). During this same time, WJSV had become the local CBS affiliate, but CBS was shocked to learn they were in bed with the Klan and were in the process of buying the station. In the 1940s the station became WTOP in the 40s.

During prohibition, Chimney Villa was a site of regular liquor raids netting local residents with “ardent spirits.” In the early forties it advertised dancing on Wednesdays and Saturdays as well as groceries, gas, barbecue, drinks, and lunches. The dance hall was destroyed in a fire in April 1944. At 10 PM firefighters were called from Vienna and Falls Church and they extinguished the fire in the ceiling, but it was apparently still smoldering and reignited burning the building to the ground.

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