“Where East Texas dances”: the Cooper Club of Henderson, Rusk County, and popular dance bands, 1932-1942.
A historical study of the Cooper Club in Henderson, Texas, which was open from 1932 to 1942, uncovers an exciting period in both American and East Texas history. Nationally, dance orchestras embarked on tours of the United States, playing one-night stands in small towns. Locally, the nightclub existed during the great East Texas oil boom. Under the management of owner Hugh Cooper, the Cooper Club became a staple for music lovers in East Texas who appreciated its elegant atmosphere and high caliber of entertainment. Local, regional, and national dance bands played one-night stands and brought to the oil field the latest in popular sweet music, swing, and jazz. The Cooper Club has significance and is deserving of scholarly research, for it shines light on the social and cultural history of Henderson, Texas, from 1932 to 1942, as well as the excitement of famous orchestras coming to a small town.