Friday, August 16, 2013

Indiana Coliseum: They don't make them like they used to.

There are times in history when civilizations construct buildings to last for generations to come.  The cathedrals of Europe, the Parthenon, and the Lincoln Memorial are all great examples. But on a much smaller scale, we are surrounded by great buildings constructed by people who built them not just for themselves, but for their grandchildren.  After recent tour of the Indiana Fairgrounds Coliseum, which is undergoing renovation that exposes its core structure, I was left with that impression.

Originally opened in 1939 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Indiana Coliseum is an art deco monument.  It has stood the test of time, hosting countless agricultural events at the Indiana State Fairgrounds (and lesser known events like a Beatles concert and John F. Kennedy speech).  Livestock shows love it for its grand appearance and wide open arena.  The Coliseum is currently undergoing a $50+ million renovation so that it can host events for another 75 years.

I've pasted my photos of the renovation progress below.  Anyone whose ever built a barn, house, or shed will appreciate how well constructed the Coliseum was in 1939.  Just look at those rivets!

Looking west.  Original glass block is being restored to let in natural light.

Note "livestock wall" that stays true to original designs.

For more on the renovation progress, go the the Indiana State Fair website.

By Todd Janzen

1 comment:

  1. There are also some fantastic old gymnasiums in Indiana.


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