The Val Air Ballroom opened June, 1939 - the builder & operated was Tom Archer who arrived in Des Moines in 1936. Archer (1895-1963) was a pioneer in the ballroom business.
The Val Air was truly an open-air ballroom, a perfect example of the concept. All on one level, with a roof only over the hardwood dance floor, the stage & service areas such as the checkroom, bars & restrooms. All the rest was covered by big 'drop' sides which were lowered to keep out rain, but were raised for summer evenings of dancing & entertainment. At the west end of the maple dance floor was a polished concrete dance floor which enabled everyone to 'dance under the stars.' Everyone could begin dancing on the 8,000 square foot hardwood dance floor & swing right outside on the concrete dance floor.