Join members and friends of the DC Preservation League at the Historic Uline Arena to celebrate its crucial role as the leading advocate for the preservation and protection of the irreplaceable historic resources in the District of Columbia. Revenue raised from tickets and sponsorships bolster DCPL’s advocacy efforts to protect Washington’s historic and cultural resources from demolition or ill-advised alteration, and help underwrite outreach and educational programming throughout our community.
The Uline Arena was built in 1939-40 and was hailed as “a triumph in concrete” when complete, the arena was the first thin-shell concrete building erected in Washington and one of the first in the country. Roberts & Schaefer, a Chicago engineering firm, designed the structure, using its exclusive U.S. patent rights to the innovative German “Zeiss-Dywidag” system of reinforced concrete roofing. The vaulted roof allowed for a 140- by 270-foot unobstructed interior space that accommodated the largest indoor hockey rink in the country. Built for ice sports, it was immediately adapted for boxing and musical events, and then also for professional basketball, tennis, wrestling, and even midget auto racing. Like many other public accommodations in Washington at the time, the arena’s events were racially segregated, except for matches involving black boxers. During World War II, local chapters of the NAACP encouraged a boycott of the arena and after the war resumed the campaign for nearly a year, until Uline relented in 1948. Ironically, as Washington Coliseum, the arena subsequently became an important venue for African-American cultural and political events. Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad and his disciple, Malcolm X, spoke there in 1959 and 1961. And in the 1980s, it was most notable as home to performances of Washington’s indigenous Go-Go music. It is also remembered as the site of the first United States concert of The Beatles. The arena was designated a DC Landmark in 2006.
Sponsors (as of 3/09)
Dentons US LLP
The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company
David T. Haresign, FAIA
Darwina Neal, FASLA
Evelyn and Bob Wrin