Pat Molak, frustrated with big-city life and in search of a true Texas dance hall, purchased Gruene Hall in 1975. A few unavoidable repairs were made to the Hall, but little else was necessary. Left uncorrupted, the 6,000 square-foot, open-air dance hall became a virtual magnet, a starting point for many of Texas’ up-and-coming performers, and once again, the heart of Gruene.
With the help of his friend Mary Jane Nalley, he worked to preserve the authentic, turn-of-the-century look and feel of Gruene by purchasing and repairing several of the town’s most notable structures and transforming them into thriving businesses. These developments seemed to rekindle the spark of Gruene, and soon the town’s familiar charm began to shine again.
Gruene itself has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, and many of the buildings that were rescued by Molak and Nalley have been awarded a Texas medallion from the Texas Historical Commission. It has also been recognized by the Texas travel industry as a premiere attraction for visitors, which is no surprise to its merchants and guests.
Even with the remarkable growth of this once sleepy little town, the main focus of Gruene is, and continues to be, bona fide Texas. Everything from the wares they sell to the music they play speaks to Molak and Nalley’s commitment to preserving the authenticity of Gruene and providing its guests with an experience that has the signature seal of the Lone Star State.