Our History

The Golden Glow Ballroom was built in 1924 by Bill and Lenora Golden and operated by their son John H. and his wife Libby as a restaurant in the first of three buildings constructed.

The 1920’s & 1930’s - In 1929 the second structure was built by the Goldens to be utilized as a roller skating rink and dance hall. In 1935 the Glow was issued Saginaw County’s 5th liquor license and saw its third addition constructed in 1939, which was a large dance floor and stage to accommodate the growing entertainment and statewide concerts and dances.

The 1940’s & 1950’s - The Goldens operated the state’s most popular destination for dances and live entertainment. Hosting popular bands like Nick and the Corn Huskers, Buck & the Buccaneers and Little Jimmy Dickens. Polkas were also very popular at the Glow with Frankie Yankovik and Lil' Wally drawing over 1,000 people to dance on the Glow’s dance floor, which was one of the largest, well known wood floor structures in the state.

The 1960’s - The Golden family continued to operate the Glow until they sold it in 1962 to Bonnie Firestein who established the Glow as one of the Midwest’s premier big band & entertainment venues. Famous entertainers performed here like Wayne Newton, Chubby Checker and Jan and Dean, to name a few.

The 1970’s - This decade brought tough times for the Glow as it was sold to several proprietors that utilized the facility as just a hall since the Glow no longer had a liquor license. In 1979 the Glow was subsequently sold to its current owner, Dan Whaley, the grandson of local restaurateurs John & Alice Chiesi. The Chiesi’s were one of the Tri-Cites most successful restaurateurs operating Gable Gardens and later Chiesi’s Fine Food from 1940 to 1972 after which they retired.

The 1980’s - In 1981 the Glow received a liquor license and Dan became one of the state’s youngest proprietors at the age of 23 as the family tradition continued with the facility getting its first of several renovations. The Glow hosted bingos, teen dances, big band jazz, concerts and wedding receptions all while Dan developed several properties as nightclubs and restaurants including the Fordney Hotel, Old Town Saloon, Jaspers Riverfront Saloon and Old City Hall located in Bay City.

The 1990’s - Saw the facility once again renovated and the ballroom became the area’s most popular wedding facility hosting thousands of guests for the area’s nicest and most elegant weddings. Throughout the 90’s the Glow also hosted hundreds of company Christmas parties and special events becoming very well known for its good food.

The 2000’s - The Glow’s facilities were again upgraded with the Whaley family’s 4th generation working in its newly opened restaurant in 2006 with family matriarch Joan Whaley, John and Alice Chiesi’s daughter, still greeting customers.

The 2010’s - In late September 2009 the historic building was destroyed by an electrical fire. Many memories were lost, but a new state of the art facility, seating up to 800, has been built in its place. During this decade the company added the Glow Garden for outdoor wedding ceremonies and purchased two neighboring homes for future expansion. The company also expanded into the rental business including tents, tables, chairs, luxury restroom trailers and much more to fully service offsite events.

The 2020’s - The Whaley family’s fifth generation will see the Golden Glow continue to expand the food and beverage operations. The family has privately held companies in financial services, technology, real estate and food and beverage with continued plans of investing in the Tri-Cities for years to come. During this decade, the Golden Glow's planned Phase II expansion of its Saginaw facilities began with the construction of the Glow Pavilion. The Pavilion includes an indoor and outdoor banquet/wedding space able to accommodate parties up to 175 people. The company also put a significant investment into the grounds with a new asphalt parking lot and infrastructure. Future expansion includes doubling its banquet space to 1,600 seats and the construction of a fifty-room boutique hotel. The Whaley family looks forward to serving the community for future generations!