MUSIC - Born in the U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band
Photographed in 1991, 2002 and 2005 using film.
Convention Hall - Opened in 1931 and closed in 1996. Demolished in 2005, the site is now The Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine.
Known as Municipal Auditorium 1930 - 1948, Philadelphia Convention Hall 1948 - 1996.
Location - Convention Hall, 3400 Civic Center Blvd. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania -- Bounded by South St., Convention Ave.
Convention hall was home to two versions of the NBA in Philadelphia. First it was the home floor for the Philadelphia Warriors from 1952 thru the 1962 season. After that season, the Warriors headed west and relocated to San Francisco. The second NBA team to call the hall home was the 76ers. They used Convention hall from 1963 thru 1967 before moving down Broad Street to the new Spectrum.
Convention hall was built in 1931 and started out being known as the Municipal Auditorium. It was located at 3400 Civic Center Blvd., on the edge of the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. It was also 2 blocks west of Franklin Field. The building was also part of the Philadelphia Civic Center complex, a series of buildings dating back to the National Export Exhibition in 1899. The only two buildings to survive till the new millennium were the Convention hall and the Commercial museum.
Convention hall did see it's share of political conventions. Starting in 1936 and again in 1948, it hosted the Democratic National Conventions, and as the Republican Conventions in 1940 and 1948. That's how it earned it's name "Convention Hall".
The hall saw Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King speak there, as well as the fab 4 play under the roof. It's most famous tenants were the Warriors and 76ers of the NBA. The Warriors also played some home games at the nearby Philadelphia Arena. Once the Spectrum opened in 1967, Convention Hall became somewhat obsolete. The building did house the nearby La Salle University Explorers men's basketball team from 1981 thru 1996. The Explorers then moved into an on campus arena in 1998.
Hockey also came to Convention hall in the form of the WHA. The upstart league had placed the Miami Screaming Eagles in Philadelphia after money problems forced the team to move before they played a game. Their fortunes weren't much better in Philadelphia. Despite signing Derek Sanderson away from the Boston Bruins, the Blazers lasted only one season in Philadelphia and Convention hall. The team moved to Vancouver for the 1973 season. Minor league hockey used the hall for 6 years between 1974 and 1979. The Philadelphia Firebirds of the NAHL and AHL skated inside the art deco building.
All three nearby Universities (Pennsylvania, La Salle, and Drexel) used Convention hall for commencements during its tenure. It was much larger than the Palestra on the campus of Penn.
The end of an era came in 1996 when the Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball tournament was the last event to be held at Convention Hall. It served as a soundstage for movies and a TV show called Hack at the end of the century.
The building was finally demolished during the spring of 2005. The last piece of the Civic Center was imploded on March 5, 2007. The site was not vacant for long. The Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine was built on the site and opened in 2008.
Convention hall is now closed awating demolition. 6/02
Convention hall from Franklin field. 9/91
The front of Convention Hall from Civic Center Drive. 9/91
Inside the halls of the building. 9/91
The main lobby of Convention hall. 9/91
The floor where Wilt Chamberlain played for the Warriors. Inside Convention hall. 9/91
The old locker room of the Philadelphia Warriors and 76ers. In 1991 it was used by the La Salle Explorers. 9/91
A view of the south end of the building with the stage. This building reminds me a lot of the old Minneapolis Auditorium, the home of the Lakers. 9/91
One final look at Convention hall as a living, breathing arena. 9/91
Convention hall is closed now and 3 years away from demolition. 6/02
The western side of the building is now sealed up. 6/02
One last look at Convention hall. The Commercial museum is to the left, and is now also closed. 6/02
Convention hall with half the roof gone. Demolition has begun. 5/05
Sections of the arena come down. This is the northern part of Convention hall. 5/05
Convention hall from the west. 5/05
The eastern side of Convention hall slowly disappears. 5/05
All the rubble of a once great buliding litter the site. 5/05
All the seats are gone, and so is most of the barrel shaped roof. 5/05
Inside what is left of old Convention hall. 5/05
The massive jaws do their dirty work in ripping down huge pieces of the old building. 5/05