According to the website Found Ampersands, the Trowel & Square Ballroom “was operated by the Order of Eastern Star, the Female part of the Masons.” Looking to the right of the ballroom’s sign, you can see the Mason’s sign for Queen Esther, Grand Chapter.
Some searches also reveal that up until December 2012, some hip-hop events were advertised on Facebook that were hosted at the ballroom.
Also at Scouting NY, are some great interior shots of the ballroom, within what is now the Salvation Army thriftstore, which has apparently lost its lease.
- The Mystery Ballroom on East 125th Street – Scouting NY – Nov 4, 2013
One of the oddest things I found about the ballroom was a reference in an April 2011 online article about child adoption in UK’s The Spectator called Harlem Renaissance:
The first thing I see is a glimmer of Harlem’s happy past: a painted sign for the Trowel and Square Ballroom, a remnant from the days of Billie Holiday, Bojangles and 80 per cent employment.
Happy past? Count the assumptions in this quote.
- An Interview with Boo Ski and Keith KC of Master Don’s Def Committee MC’s – Old School Hip Hop – March 13, 2012