MUSIC - You can still rock in America by Night Ranger
Photographed in 1987 and 1994 using film.
Market Square Arena - Opened in 1974 and demolished in 2001, the site is now a parking lot.
Location - 300 E. Market Street Indianapolis, Indiana.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING!
Market Square arena in downtown Indianapolis saw the final public appearance of the king. On June 26, 1977, Elvis Presley gave his last ever concert under the roof of Market Square. No one at the time knew of course that this would be his farewell show. The final song Elvis would sing was "Can't help falling in love." Less than 7 weeks later, Elvis would be dead at the age of 42.
Market Square arena was at 300 E. Market Street, just east of downtown Indianapolis. The mushroom like building opened on September 15, 1974, with a Glen Campbell concert. Market Square arena was host to most major concert acts during the buildings lifetime. It was also home to the Indianapolis Ice of the IHL, and the Indianapolis Racers of the WHA. The 1978 - 1979 season saw the Indianapolis Racers debut a 17 year old phenom named Wayne Gretzky. After 8 games of the 1979-1980 season, Gretzky was sold to the Edmonton Oilers, and the rest is hockey history. Along with Gretzky, the Racers also had another young player named Mark Messier. Messier was released by Indianapolis after playing only 5 games.
Market Square arena hosted the 1980 men's NCAA basketball final four. Iowa, Purdue, UCLA and Louisville met in the finals. UCLA took on Louisville in the finals but lost 59-54. The most outstanding player was Louisville's Darrell Griffith.
Indiana is a hotbed for basketball, and the ABA established roots in Indianapolis in 1967. One of the more successful teams in the upstart league was the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers started out playing most of their games at the old State Fair coliseum. During those first seven years at the coliseum, the Pacers won 3 ABA titles. Stars like Jimmy Rayl, Mel Daniels. George McGinnis, Bob Netolicky, Rick Mount and Roger Brown kept the Pacers near the top of the ABA. In all, the Pacers appeared in the ABA finals 5 times during the league's 9 year run. In 1974, the Pacers moved out of the old dank coliseum to the new Market Square arena. The first ever basketball game at the arena was a pre season game against the NBA Milwaukee Bucks. The first regular season ABA game was held on October 18, 1974. The Pacers played the San Antonio Spurs and lost in double overtime 129 - 121. A sparse crowd of 7,473 witnessed the first game. The Pacers won their final ABA game at the arena with a 109 - 95 victory against the Kentucky Colonels. The Pacers lasted one more game, losing to Kentucky in the playoffs and thus ending their tenure in the ABA. The Pacers were one of the four teams absorbed into the NBA after the 1976 season. The Pacers struggled their first few years in the NBA. Gradually, the Pacers got better, mostly led by Reggie Miller. The final Pacers game at Market Square was an exhibition game on October 23, 1999, against the Utah Jazz. The Pacers moved into the brand new Conseco field house a few weeks later.
One month later, the city of Indianapolis announced plans to demolish the old arena. Like most political moves, demolition was not swift. It took nearly 2 years for all the hurdles to be met. Finally in April of 2001, demolition began. The parking garages were leveled, the inside gutted, and holes were ripped into the sides. Three months later on July 8, 2001, the final show began. At 7 am, a charge was set off and 12 seconds later the arena was reduced to rubble.
Market Square arena had a relatively short shelf life, but it did have a rich one. From basketball to hockey to concerts to the final show by a king, Market Square had a place in Indianapolis history.
The exterior of Market Square arena. 10/94
Inside the concourse of the arena. 10/87
One final look at the old Market Square arena. Rest in peace. 10/94