CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - The Surf Ballroom is an icon in the history of rock 'n' roll music, being the final venue played by Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper, and has drawn people from across the country and around the world each year.
Now, the fabled North Iowa gem is under consideration to be a National Historical Landmark.
While the site has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2011, the venue's staff applied for landmark status about 9 years ago. If granted, it could help in receiving preservation grants, as well as technical grants from the National Park Service.
U.S. Department of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt toured the Surf with local, state and national individuals on Thursday, his first time at the venue. He feels it's important to preserve these kind of historic places, to showcase what makes up part of American culture.
"All of these places together create a beautiful tapestry that tells America's story, and it's a rich story, a diverse story."
He adds that we shouldn't take for granted the people and sites that play a part in our history.
"We can't do that if we lose sight of all the accomplishments, whether they're music or philosophy, and I think that's important."
The Surf's application is set to be reviewed November 5 during a landmarks committee meeting. If the designation is approved, it would join 26 other such landmarks across the Hawkeye State, including the Amana Colonies, the Herbert Hoover Birthplace in West Branch, and the Old Capitol in Iowa City.
Later that afternoon, Bernhardt visited the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Bloomington for an announcement on the recovery of the gray wolf, and the species' removal from the endangered species list.