Sad day in the arena world: Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena, one of the most unique facilities ever built, is being demolished after an appeals court refused to preserve iconic the structure.
Demolition began this morning at 6 a.m., with a backhoe taking down the concrete interior of the arena. There will not be any grand fireworks when the structure comes completely down; instead, the arena will be taken down piece by piece.
On Friday a two-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a motion by Preserve Pittsburgh to issue an emergency injunction blocking demolition of facility. The 28-acre site is slated for development, with the Pittsburgh Penguins owning the rights.
Civic Arena opened in 1961 and was instantly the most advanced arena ever built, complete with a retractable roof and a cutting-edge design that served opera patrons and hockey fans equally well. Virtually every big name in Pittsburgh history since the 1950s — including Edgar Kaufmann, the department-store magnate who commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design Fallingwater — was involved in the planning of the arena. Pittsburghhockey.net has a nice history of the facility.
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