Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Photos of Uline Arena in Washington

The Hidden Side of Washington - SlideShow - Washington Post
David "Deal, a Washington portrait and sports photographer, has recently been braving cobwebs, dark stairs and hardened functionaries to see the cloaked, the abandoned and the restricted spaces of D.C."

If you are an architecture fan at all, or of top-notch b&w photography, you'll enjoy this slideshow from the Washington Post. The Uline Arena shots are #18 & 19. These are the best shots I've seen to get a sense of what the inside of Uline Arena, later known as Washington Coliseum, looked like.

From A Short Pictorial History of Uline Arena: "The story of the building itself begins in of all places, Hershey Pennsylvania. In the spring of 1936, the 7,286-seat Hershey Sports Arena was constructed. It was at the time the largest monolithic structure in the United States in which not a single seat suffered from an obstructed view. Its unparalleled construction was to due to the unique and innovative use of concrete. The Sports Arena is composed of a barrel vault roof, then known as the Zeiss-Dywidag or Z-D type. The concrete shell is only 3 1/2 inches thick at the upper most part, and is stiffened at 39 foot intervals by massive two-hinged arch ribs. The roof crown is 100 feet above the floor, and the shell was constructed as five separate units, with expansion joints between each unit. In 1941 Miguel L. "Uncle Mike" Uline had started a successful ice making business. He had also purchased a hockey team, the Washington Lions, and needed a building for to them to play in. Wanting an arena much like the Hershey structure he contracted with the Lone Star Cement of company of Texas to build a similar facility. When it was done "Uline Arena" could seat close to 7,000 fans."
Here's a shot of a beer-league game courtesy National Brewers Hockey at Uline back in the late 60s. No that's not the historically impossible Knoxville Knights vs. the Washington Lions matchup that one e-Bay seller would have you believe it is.

Further reading: The Story of Uline Arena from Wizards Magazine, which I blogged back in March.

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