Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Beatles 50th anniversary and DC

The Weekend Section of the Washington Post highlights the 50th anniversary of The Beatles coming to the US, and their first concert, at the Washington Coliseum on February 12th, 1964 ("50th anniversary concert reenacts Beatles' first US show at the Washington Coliseum").

In honor of the event, there is a 50th anniversary concert at the building, also called Uline Arena, this Tuesday night, sponsored by the DC Preservation League and the owner of the building, Douglas Development Corporation. 

Tickets are still available.

While The Beatles get attention for the building, it was the site of many other important events in the city's sports, cultural, and social history, and the year long campaign in 1956-1947 to have the owner ensure that all events held at the then Uline Arena would be integrated is a key event in the city's civil rights history.

FWIW, I led the campaign and process to get the building designated as a historic landmark.  The then owner, a division of Waste Management, wanted to demolish the building because they believed it would make the site more marketable and valuable for selling.  (It would have...)

Lone Star Cement ad, Engineering News-Record (1941), discussing the Uline Arena construction process.

The process was significantly helped by the assistance of a National Park Service researcher at the Historic American Building Survey, Justine Christianson, who discovered that the building's construction represented advances in concrete construction techniques which enabled construction without pillars to hold up the building's roof (instead there are concrete "trusses"). 

Alan Kimber, who no longer lives DC was also key to effort.  Of course a number of other people contributed, we got press coverage, etc.

Waste Management dropped opposition to the demolition permit when they contracted to sell the building to Douglas Development Corp.  The hearing for the landmark nomination came around in 2006 I believe, although we filed in 2003.

Note that over the years I've thought it would have been great to bring the Uline back as a concert facility, perhaps in conjunction with XM Satellite Radio, which is located a few blocks away.  Now that the building is served by a Metro station less than one block away, it is well situated for such events.  Sadly, the owner was never into the idea although he had been approached multiple times by IMP (owners of the 9:30 Club), and they have since moved on. 

See "Speaking of creative asset utilization," "Rocking Revitalization," and "The length of time it takes for others to take up an idea: music edition."

Labels: , , , ,


At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

my sister and cousin went to the Beatles concert at the Colloseum in 1964

At 10:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The DC Music Salon has a free event on Feb. 12 at the Shaw library, 7th & R, NW from 7-9pm, showing the entire Beatles 1964 concert at the Washington Coliseum then a discussion after with a number of attendees of the show, as well as Beatles memorabilia, articles and photos from the Washington Star newspaper, etc. Details here.

DC Music Salon is always free. Spread the word.

At 12:57 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

your music salon event sounds very cool. I don't think I'll be able to go.

How about trying to repeat it...


Post a Comment

<< Home