A little Coliseum History.
The location where we dance has a lot of history behind it.
The Coliseum was erected as a tribute to the men of Vanderburgh County who fought in the American Civil War and Spanish-American War. After several old buildings were torn down, the cornerstone of the 66,000-square-foot facility was laid May 9, 1916. Construction concluded in March 1917 and the Coliseum was formally dedicated April 18, 1917 right around the time the United States was joining World War I. The original construction cost $180,000.
The neoclassical coliseum was designed by Shopbell & Company and provided the community with its first modern facility for conventions and other public gatherings. The ceremonial aspect of the building was heightened by placing the structure directly on an axis with Fourth Street. Rockport native George H. Honig created two heroic monuments that flank the entrance. The Spirit of 1865, on the left, represents victory for the Union. The Spirit of 1916, on the right, shows the reflective elderly veterans of the Civil War.
Once considered the premier location for events in Evansville, the Coliseum was seen as dated and small when Roberts Municipal Stadium was built in the mid 1950s. When a push for "urban renewal" involving demolitions occurred in the city, the Coliseum was threatened. A "Save the Coliseum" campaign was developed and the same organization that helped save the Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse stepped in.
In 1919 a 4,000 pipe concert organ was installed as a memorial to Prof. Milton Z. Tinker, for years supervisor of music in the local public schools. At the time of its installation it was among the largest municipal pipe organs in the world. In 2013, the University of Evansville purchased the pipe organ, dismantled it, and put it into storage. The University hopes to restore it to full operating condition sometime in the future.
During the Habitat dance I attached a mirror ball to the bottom of the big box light that now hangs in the center of the room. (Photo below) I wondered if the Coliseum ever had a mirror ball in it before as I was installing it.
One of the old photos I found of the Coliseum was really amazing to me. Little did I know that the chain that now holds the big box light was originally installed to hold..........A Mirror Ball.