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A Brief History of the Washington Coliseum/Uline Arena


Happy Beatles Day, D.C.! Even people who are abysmal with dates and miserable at remembering things like birthdays and anniversaries ought to have that one down by the end of the day. Today, February 11th, marks the fiftieth anniversary of the first full concert that the Fab Four played in the United States. That famed concert happened right here in NoMa at the Washington Coliseum. The Coliseum has held more graffiti, trash and billboards for Italian restaurants in recent years than foot stomping concerts, but that Beatles show 50 years ago is only a part of the building's storied (and occasionally sad) history. Check out the brief timeline after the jump.

1941: Miguel Uline opens the coliseum, as Uline Arena, naturally. The original purpose of the building was as a hockey rink for the Washington Lions.

1950: The arena now houses basketball team The Washington Capitols. Their first African-American player, Earl Lloyd made his debut in the stadium in October. The Georgetown Hoyas also use this as their home stadium.

1953: President Dwight D. Eisenhower hosts one of his two inaugural balls at the arena.

1956: Boxing champion Joe Louis makes his professional wrestling debut.

1959: The arena is sold for $1 million and renamed the Washington Coliseum. The sports team of the time to call the arena home? It's another hockey team, the Washington Presidents.

February 11th 1964: Ladies and gentlemen, THE BEATLES! Two days after their appearance on the Ed Sullivan show, the Fab Four played their first American concert for over 8,000 people. To give a sense of perspective, that's over twice the capacity of DAR Constitution Hall.

1965: Bob Dylan plays at the Coliseum. A photo from the show later graces the cover of Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits.

1967: Concerts are banned from the venue because a riot happens outside a show by, get ready for it, The Temptations. The Temptations??

1969: The final professional sports franchise to call the stadium home, the Washington Caps (then a basketball team) spends its one and only season in the arena.

1971: Washington Coliseum is used as a temporary prison for 1200 protestors of the Vietnam War.

1994: The Coliseum takes on another unsavory new life as a trash transfer station.

2003: The battle begins to preserve this site. Waste Management applies to get the place demolished and the D.C. Preservation League adds it to its Most Endangered Places list for that year.

2007: The Washington Coliseum joins the National Register of Historic Places.

2013: Douglas Development announces its intent to turn the arena into an office space.
· Washington Coliseum [Wikipedia]
· Historic Uline Arena will become offices, retail and parking [GGW]
· All Uline Arena Posts [CDC]

Uline Arena

1140 3rd Street Northeast, , DC 20002 Visit Website