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Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro NC

(Photo by Dick Bourne, April 1988)
 

Vintage Postcard

(Photo submitted by Brian Rogers)

 

The original War Memorial Complex in Greensboro after completion in 1959.

Image from www.GreensboroColiseum.com (About Us)

 

The interior of the Greensboro Coliseum as it looked after it was first built in 1959, before the expansion that added an upper deck in 1972.

Imagine a wrestling ring in the center of this photo instead of all that ice!

(Photo submitted by Christopher Curry)

 

If you have photos of the Coliseum as it looked during the 60s, 70s, and 80s, please share them with us or point us in the right direction. Thanks!

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Greensboro Coliseum History

by Jim Schlosser (Original Article)

When local boosters boast that the ACC Men's Tournament has been played at the Greensboro Coliseum more than anywhere else, they're right. But! Which coliseum do they mean?

There have been three, all in the same spot, but each with a different personality and look. The first time the ACC came here in 1967, it was played in the original coliseum. It opened in 1959, with a Quonset hut style roof and a seating capacity of about 9,000. To find out what it was like to play in the building, seek out a dinosaur who played there in '67 - former UNC star Dick Grubar, now a Greensboro real estate broker. He'll be hanging around the Carolina bench during this week's ACC tournament at the new, new coliseum.

A few years after Greensboro's initial ACC, to keep the event coming back, the city raised the coliseum's roof, adding a second deck and a flat roof. That doubled capacity to about 16,000. The city also added an exhibition hall that provided space for ACC entertainment. The jump in coliseum seats caused Charlotte's original coliseum, which had opened in the 1950s with about 11,000 seats, to become outdated. But it was 1987 before Charlotte built a new coliseum on a different site and with a capacity of nearly 23,000.

Greensboro felt threatened. After an emotional political campaign, voters in the late 1980s approved raising the roof of the coliseum again and the seating capacity to 23,000. The old exhibition hall was torn down, replaced by the Special Events Center, which provided more and nicer space for tournament dinners and entertainment. Later, the Pavilion was added in the parking lot for FanFest, where spectators and children can go between games to have fun.

Greensboro's expansion made Charlotte's new coliseum obsolete. It had capacity but poor sight lines compared to Greensboro's building. It also lacked auxiliary structures for entertainment. The coliseum staff erected large tents in the parking lot. When the wind blew, the tents shook. Finally, Charlotte decided the new coliseum had to go, not just to lure the ACC tournament but to please the NBA, whose team the Hornets had fled Charlotte partly out of disgust with the coliseum.

The city got a new franchise, the Bobcats after promising to build a new arena. The new new Charlotte Coliseum is downtown and built to NBA specifications, which calls for a slightly smaller arenas. The Charlotte building seats 18,000 to 19,000, but has loads of luxury boxes where big money people can watch the games in privacy, drink and eat catered food. Charlotte wisely built auxiliary buildings to accommodate the needs of the ACC.

The tournament returns to the Queen City in 2009. Meanwhile, the second Charlotte Coliseum is scheduled for demolition only 18 years after opening. Greensboro probably won't have to make more changes anytime soon. The complex looks up to date with everything the ACC needs. The are no bad seats among the 23,000. Those with seats in the last row of the upper deck are closer to the floor than those in the last row in the second deck of the Charlotte Coliseum. For building archaeologists to see something that remains of the orginal 1959 building, a press pass will be needed during this week's ACC Men's Tournament. Portions of the narrow concourse left from the original building run below the first level of seats. Only reporters, players, cheerleaders and arriving pep bands use it. Part of the old concourse has been been turned into a press room.

Meanwhile, in Charlotte, the 1950s old, old coliseum survives and thrives as Cricket Arena, formerly known as Independence Arena. Shows and sports events are held there. The building was the sight of the 1999 Women's ACC Tournament, which moved to the Greensboro Coliseum the next year and has been here ever since.

Posted by Jim Schlosser at March 8, 2006

http://blog.news-record.com/staff/architecture/archives/2006/03/when_local_boos.html

Image from www.consultwebs.com


The Greensboro Coliseum complex today.

Image from www.GreensboroColiseum.com (About Us)

 

Main Coliseum entrance today.

Image from Destination 360

 

Image from www.GreensboroColiseum.com (Sponsorships)

 


"Classic Venues" is a collection of features edited by Dick Bourne

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