Community comes together after Willowbrook Ballroom fire

WILLOW SPRINGS, Ill. (WLS) -- Members of a suburban community gathered together on Sunday to keep the Willowbrook Ballrooms's past alive, after a fire-the second devastating fire in the ballroom's 95 year history.

"We have lots of us around to say goodbye to this wonderful place that we love so much," one of the community residents said.

There were hugs, tears and dancing.

The Willowbrook Ballroom has been an institution in Chicago's southwest suburbs for nearly a century. Many know it as the site that sparked the legend Of Resurrection Mary.

When it burned down Friday, it took with it a part of Chicago's history and countless memories going back generations.

"My dad when he was in college played here. They had a small combo group. He played the piano. At that time it was Oh Henry's," Charmaine Zarzycki said. "My daughter was married here five years ago. My older daughter was supposed to be married here in May."

Since the fire a nearly non-stop stream of people have come to pay their respects by taking pictures and exchanging stories. On Sunday, it was the dancers turn to take one last spin around a place that was so much more than just a building.

"It's hard to believe we're not going to dance again," Jose Osornio said.

"I come here and all the thoughts in your head, you feel like you're five and it's recess. You're dancing just to pure joy and happiness," Nancy Hudson said.

While everyone ABC 7 spoke to is clamoring for the ballroom to be rebuilt, it's not clear that will happen. The owner said she's not yet made any decisions about the future.
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