Over the next several generations, Windsor residents accepted dancing as a valid mode of expression and entertainment. Ads for dancing schools began to appear in the Connecticut Courant by 1793, and by 1795, Windsor had its own dancing school. Classes took place at Sill’s Tavern, which once stood where the parking lot for First Church is now. At this time, Windsor’s dance students would have been taught fashionable English country dances alongside the dances of the French royal court.
By the first few decades of the 1800s, local attitudes toward dancing had loosened enough that public balls were held regularly. The existence of the ball rooms and halls in which these dances were held suggests that large, public dances were much more common at this time. By the late 1800s, dancing was accepted enough that balls could be held in a civic building: town hall.
Since the 1800s, school dances have been a key feature of adolescent social life in Windsor. The Campbell School for Girls on Broad Street not only included dance in its curriculum, but also made a Victrola available to its students during their free time. Student Marjorie Nye remembered the fun of the 1917 term, writing in the local newspaper:
“Our living room is very large and we have a Victrola with a heap of records and we dance to our hearts’ content. Then we have a huge veranda and here we dance all year, even in the coldest weather.”
Dancing to the Victrola was one of Nye’s fondest memories of her school days.
During World War II, longtime Windsor resident and Historical Society volunteer Elizabeth Parker remembered dances being a big part of her social life as a teenager. Some dances were sponsored by the high school, and others by the churches. In an oral history interview, she said:
“One of the typical things was we had the Junior Prom at John Fitch [Windsor High School]. Then in our gowns and tuxes walked up to the (because nobody had any cars), walked up to the Cosy Corner […]And then the Methodist Church, which was then on the confluence of Poquonock and Bloomfield Avenues […] we had dances there every other Saturday night which some people are shocked at. But my mother played the music. Other parents were chaperones. And Bradley Field opened up and a lot of the fellows came down from Bradley Field. There were two or three marriages.”