Rainbow Ballroom up for sale in Downtown Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The iconic Rainbow Ballroom in Downtown Fresno will soon start a new chapter in its many lives.

"The Rainbow Ballroom is up for sale. It's the first time in over three decades that it's been available. The operator has operated the rainbow since the 60's and has decided to retire," said Jared Ennis, listing agent.

In a statement on Facebook, the owner Leo Valdivia's family said they've had to stop operations during the pandemic and have decided to explore the option of selling.

The 18,000 square foot building comes with a dance floor, multiple bars, kitchen and offices.

"It was built in 1918 as a pool. It was the largest indoor pool in all of the West Coast. I don't know when record was set, but it was for quite some time. Then eventually the building burned down in 1924, at which point it was built as a ballroom and it's been operated as a ballroom ever since," Ennis said.

These photos from the Pop Laval Foundation show the Fresno Natatorium when plunges were all the rage and many tried to escape the Valley heat.

The Fresno Historical Society says it housed a 40 by 100-foot pool with a high dive platform, 165 dressing rooms, a roof garden and walls of windows to light the three-story building.

We went inside the basement to see the remnants of the pool, which you can still see the walls of the pool to this day.

After the fire, the ballroom became a lively place for music and even during World War II, it served as a place for troops to dance the night away.

Later, the famous concert venue had many artists take the stage. Janis Joplin played there twice.

"The seller knows most of them. From what I know, Snopp Dogg, Fleetwood Mac," Ennis said.

Before the pandemic, music acts and parties were held at the space.

Music the owner hopes will play on.

"The Rainbow Ballroom is for sale for just under $4 million. Many are hoping whoever buys this property will keep a piece of Fresno history alive."
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