Music The caves of Altamira by Steely Dan
Photographed in 1991 using film.
Washington Coliseum - Opened in 1941, closed in 1986 but is still standing. In October of 2016, REI opened a flagship store in the remodeled old arena. Office and retail space will be at the site too.
Known as Uline Ice Arena 1941 - 1960, Washington Coliseum 1960 - 1986. In the Swampoodle section of DC.
Location - 1140 3rd St., NE 3rd and M Streets, Washington, D.C. Just northeast of Union Station in the Swampoodle (now NoMa) section of Washington, D.C.
The barrel shaped arena can be seen from Union Station. The Coliseum was built in 1941 by "Uncle Mike" Uline. He built it for his Eastern Amateur Hockey League team, the Washington Lions. From its beginning in 1941 thru 1959, the building was known as the Uline Arena. Harry Lynn bought the building in 1959 and renamed it the Washington Coliseum.
The Washington Coliseum has a very brief history in the world of professional sports. For one season (1969-1970), it was the home to the Washington Caps of the old ABA. Rick Barry has said it is the worst place he has ever played. Red Auerbach and his old Washington Capitols of the BAA and NBA played there from 1946 thru 1951. The Washington Presidents of the Eastern Hockey league used the arena from 1957 - 1960. It was also home to the Georgetown Hoyas from 1949-1951.
Its biggest claim to fame was with music. On February 11, 1964, John, Paul, George and Ringo..the Beatles, played their first concert in the United States at the Coliseum. The fab four opened the show with the old Chuck Berry classic, Roll over Beethoven. The concert also featured opening acts, the Chiffons and Tommy Roe. Ticket prices were a staggering 2 to 4 dollars. The show was witnessed by 8,092 screaming fans (mostly teen aged girls).
Bob Dylan used a photo from inside the arena for the cover of his "Bob Dylan's greatest hits album." The photo was from a concert at the Coliseum in 1965. In 1967, the Temptations had a show at the Coliseum. A riot ensued and concerts were banned after that.
After the ABA Caps left, the building fell into disuse. For a time it was used as a church, a trash transfer station and lately an indoor parking lot. When I saw the Coliseum for the first time in 1991, the seats were still in the building, as well as the old scoreboard. From later photos, the building has been pretty much gutted. It would be hard to envision any sort of sports event or concert going on under the barrel shaped roof.
The D.C. Preservation League has the building listed on its most endangered places. It has since been added to t he official protected list of the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board.
Unfortunately, there are not a lot of photos of the old arena.
What the interior looked like before it was gutted. 9/91
Aerial showing the Coliseum.
Another aerial of the old Washington Coliseum.
The Coliseum is the barrel shaped building in the center of the photo. 9/91
The main entrance to the Coliseum.
Similar shot of the previous photo about 20 years later. 2011
The back of the Coliseum.
The old gondola scoreboard. 9/91
Half the arena (the south side) was set up for the church. 9/91
Entrance doors to the arena seating area. 9/91
Hard to believe the Beatles and Rick Barry played here. 9/91
A blurry shot of the main arena. I apologize for the blurred shot. 9/91
The former Miracle Faith church entrance. This would have been the main entrance to the Coliseum. 9/91
The south end of the arena from 3rd Street NE. 9/91
Similar shot to previous, about 20 years later. 2011
The rear entrance and players parking lot from M St. NE and Deleware Ave/2nd St NE. 9/91
The west side or Deleware Ave / 2nd Ave NE side. 9/91
Same shot as previous picture about 20 years later. 2011
A great shot of the back of the arena and the players parking lot from M St. NE. 9/91
Another shot of the players parking lot and the back of the arena. 9/91
The Beatles playing inside the Coliseum. Photo from internet.
Inside the Coliseum today. Photo from internet.
The roof of the Coliseum with graffiti. From internet.
A pretty much decrepit interior shot. From internet.
A gutted Washington Coliseum, now a storage area. From internet.
Falling apart. From the internet.
Hard to believe the Beatles and the ABA Caps played inside this building. From internet.
The lower seating bowl has been removed. From internet.
You can see the old broadcast booth at the top right of this shot.
More Beatles photos from the Coliseum show. Photo from internet.
The old arena today, now an REI flagship store.
One last look at a semi filled Uline arena / Washington Coliseum. 9/91