PAWHUSKA’S “WHITING HALL” A FAVORITE MEMORY
In the ’50s & ’60s, with windows open, music filled the streets in downtown Pawhuska as many big bands and western swing bands would play at Whiting Hall. Tenants of the Whiting apartments, that sit across Kihekah from the Whiting Building, would dance up and down the balcony. It is a favorite memory for many Pawhuska citizens. Whiting Hall was on the 3rd floor of the Whiting Building located on the corner of 7th and Kihekah. It is another one of the historic buildings built by Vernon Whiting “Town Builder”. At one time, the U.S. Post Office was located on the bottom two floors of the building. On the weekends, many would come from all over Osage County and surrounding counties to listen and dance to the big bands and western swing bands. Some big-named bands played at Whiting Hall, like “Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys” and “The Kingsmen”. Another lesser-known big band that played at Whiting Hall in the ’60s was the “Shadow Lake 8”. It was a time of social gathering and dancing the night away.
Pawhuska boys and girls that took dance lessons from the Evelyn Whitsitt Dance Studio on Kihekah Ave., near Louie’s Hat Shop, would have to attend an annual dance at Whiting Hall to complete their dance lessons. Her students learned how to do simple box steps, side steps, spins, and dips, they would always be anticipating that annual dance. Ms. Whitsitt would also teach her students how to be gentlemen or ladies. For this dance, they were to behave like adults. This night was like prom night, boys in their white sports coats with dates in hand. Of course, the boys, encouraged by Ms. Whitsitt, would have purchased a corsage for their date and would travel to Whiting Hall. This was their big night to show off what they had learned.