Uline Arena (1941–1959)
|Location||1132, 1140, and 1146 3rd St. NE, Washington, District of Columbia|
|Area||3.9 acres (1.6 ha)|
|Architect||Kubitz & Koenig; et al.|
|Architectural style||Modern Movement|
|NRHP reference #||07000448|
|Added to NRHP||May 17, 2007|
|Washington Lions (AHL and EHL) (1941–1942 and 1944–1949)
Washington Capitols (BAA and NBA) (1946–1951)
Georgetown Hoyas (NCAA) (1946-1947 and 1949–1951)
Washington Presidents (EHL) (1957–1960)
Washington Tapers (ABL) (1961–1962)
Washington Caps (ABA) (1969–1970)
The Uline Arena also known as the Washington Coliseum was an indoor arena in Washington, D.C. located at 1132, 1140, and 1146 3rd Street, Northeast, Washington, D.C. It was the site of the first concert by The Beatles in the United States.
While later used as a parking facility, it once hosted the Basketball Association of America's Washington Capitols, coached by Red Auerbach from 1946 to 1949, and the American Basketball Association's Washington Caps in 1969–1970. It also was host to many performances and athletic events of varying types, including ice skating, martial arts, ballet, music, circuses, and speeches. As an arena, it held 7,000 to 9,000 people for events. Today, it has been renovated and houses offices and a REI store.
The 11,000-seat Uline Ice Arena, which opened in February 1941, was built by Migiel J. "Uncle Mike" Uline for his ice hockey team, the Washington Lions of the now defunct Eastern Amateur Hockey League. Uline built the arena next to his ice business, in which he had made his fortune. The first act at the new arena was Sonja Henie's Hollywood Ice Revue. Another of its earliest events was a pro-America rally in 1941 designed to promote U.S. entry into World War II, just weeks before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into the war on December 7, 1941. During the war, Uline repurposed the arena as a housing facility for U.S. service members.
After World War II ended in 1945, the arena was restored for use as an ice hockey and basketball venue. The Washington Capitols began play as a charter member of the Basketball Association of America in 1946 and became a charter member of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1949; during its five seasons of play, the team used Uline Arena as its home court. Earl Lloyd, the first African American athlete to play for an NBA team, played for the Capitols at Uline Arena on October 31, 1950. The team folded at the end of the 1950-1951 season. During the 1946-1947, 1949-1950, and 1950-1951 seasons, the Georgetown University Hoyas men's basketball team played its home games at Uline Arena.
One of President Dwight D. Eisenhower′s two inaugural balls in 1953 was held at Uline Arena. Retired boxer Joe Louis made his debut as a professional wrestler at Uline Arena on March 16, 1956, defeating Cowboy Rocky Lee.
Jewelry wholesaler Harry G. Lynn bought the arena in 1959 for $1 million. In 1959, Elijah Muhammad gave a speech there, and Malcolm X once spoke there as well. In 1960, Lynn renamed the building the Washington Coliseum.
On February 11, 1964, The Beatles played their first concert in the United States at the Washington Coliseum, less than 48 hours after the band's appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Tickets to the show at the Coliseum ranged from $2 to $4. There were 8,092 fans at the concert, which was opened by The Chiffons, The Caravelles, and Tommy Roe. The Beatles opened with "Roll Over Beethoven." In 2014, Roe reflected that "the marquee didn't say anything about the other acts. It just said 'The Beatles.' It was all about them. But I wasn't offended. That's just the way it worked. I was there to do my two songs and then get off the stage." The Beatles played for approximately 40 minutes.
Bob Dylan performed at the Washington Coliseum, and the photograph of Dylan on the cover of Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits was taken at a concert at the Coliseum on November 28, 1965. Chuck Brown also performed there. In 1967, after a riot during a performance by The Temptations, concerts were banned at the Coliseum.
The American Basketball Association's defending championship team, the Oakland Oaks, moved to Washington and played as the Washington Caps during the 1969–1970 season. The Oaks were owned by entertainer Pat Boone and had captured the ABA Championship in the 1968–69 season. However, Boone subsequently sold the team to Earl Foreman due to poor attendance in Oakland. Foreman relocated the franchise to Washington. Hall of Famers Rick Barry and Larry Brown played for the Caps, with Brown leading the league in assists and Barry averaging 27 points per game. The team finished 44–40 and was eliminated by the Denver Rockets in the playoffs. Plagued by poor attendance, the franchise relocated again and became the Virginia Squires following their one season in the Washington Coliseum.
The building fell into obscurity after the opening of the Capital Centre in suburban Landover, Maryland, in 1973, and it closed in 1986. In 1994, Waste Management, the company that handles trash disposal for the District of Columbia, purchased the building, and used it as a trash transfer station until 2003. Waste Management applied for a demolition permit on May 9, 2003, and the D.C. Preservation League responded by listing the building in its "Most Endangered Places for 2003". Waste Management sold the building to Douglas Development in 2004. In order to protect the building from efforts to raze it, it was added to the official protection list of the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board in November 2006. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, on May 17, 2007.
Formerly a popular spot for graffiti, the Coliseum also has been used as an indoor parking lot, with the adjacent ice house vacant. Billboards also have been mounted on the building. In 2009, the Coliseum was owned by Douglas Jemal.
The building still stands today near Union Station in the NoMa neighborhood. In 2015, outdoor retailer REI announced that it would develop the property into its fifth flagship store and first store in Washington, D.C. In addition to the 51,000-square-foot (4,738-square-meter) REI store, plans called for the fully redeveloped site also to house 146,200 square feet (13,582 square meters) of office space and an additional 17,000 square feet (1,579 square meters) of retail space for other users. The REI store opened on October 21, 2016, with a marching band  and other festivities, as the largest REI store on the United States East Coast. In April 2017 Spaces, a co-working brand based in Luxembourg, became the second tenant taking over 34,000 square feet of office space. Spaces Co-working is a subsidiary of Regus who is owned by International Workplace Group.
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