Washington Coliseum

Washington Coliseum

Washington Coliseum
Uline Arena (1941–1959)
Washington Coliseum is located in Washington, D.C.
Washington Coliseum
Location 1132, 1140, and 1146 3rd St. NE, Washington, District of Columbia
Area 3.9 acres (1.6 ha)
Built 1941
Architectural style Modern Movement
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 07000448[1]
Added to NRHP May 17, 2007
Washington Coliseum
Washington Lions (AHL and EHL) (1941–1942 and 1944–1949)
Washington Capitols (BAA and NBA) (1946–1951)
NCAA) (1949–1951)
Washington Presidents (EHL) (1957–1960)
Washington Tapers (ABL) (1961–1962)
Washington Caps (ABA) (1969–1970)

The Washington Coliseum, formerly Uline Arena, is an indoor arena in Washington, D.C. located at 1132, 1140, and 1146 3rd Street, Northeast, Washington, D.C. It was the site of the first concert by The Beatles in the United States.

It is directly adjacent to the railroad tracks, just north of Union Station, and bounded by L and M Streets.

While today it is used as a parking facility, it once hosted the Basketball Association of America's Washington Capitols, coached by Red Auerbach from 1946–49, and the American Basketball Association's Washington Caps in 1969-70. It also was host to many performances and athletic events of varying types, including ice skating, martial arts, ballet, music, circuses, and speeches. As an arena, it held 7,000 to 9,000 people for events.


  • History 1
  • References 2
  • Further reading 3
  • External links 4


The Uline Ice Arena, which opened in February 1941, was built by Miguel L. "Uncle Mike" Uline for his hockey team, the Washington Lions of the now defunct Eastern Amateur Hockey League. He made his fortune in the ice business.

The first act was Sonja Henie's Hollywood Ice Revue.[2] One of its first events was a pro-America rally designed to promote U.S. entry in World War II, just weeks before Pearl Harbor.

Jewelry wholesaler Harry G. Lynn bought the arena in 1959 for $1 million, and renamed it the Washington Coliseum the next year.[3] In 1959, Elijah Muhammad gave a speech there.

Earl Lloyd, the first African American athlete to play for the Washington Capitols of the National Basketball Association, played at Washington Coliseum on October 31, 1950.[4]

On February 11, 1964, The Beatles played their first concert in the United States,[5] less than 48 hours after the band's appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Tickets to the show at the Coliseum ranged from $2 to $4. There were 8,092 fans at the concert which was opened by The Chiffons, The Caravelles and Tommy Roe. The Beatles opened with "Roll Over Beethoven."[6] In 2014, Roe reflected that "the marquee didn’t say anything about the other acts. It just said 'The Beatles.' It was all about them. But I wasn’t offended. That’s just the way it worked. I was there to do my two songs and then get off the stage." [7] The Beatles played for approximately 40 minutes.

The photograph of Bob Dylan on the cover of Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits was taken at a concert at Washington Coliseum on November 28, 1965.[8]

In 1967, after a riot during a performance by The Temptations, concerts were banned.[9][10]

The American Basketball Association's defending Championship team, the Oakland Oaks moved to Washington as the Caps in 1969-70. The Oaks were owned by entertainer Pat Boone and had captured the ABA Championship in the 1968-69 season. However, Boone subsequently sold the team to Earl Foreman due to poor attendance in Oakland. Foreman relocated the franchise to Washington.[11] Hall of Famers Rick Barry and Larry Brown played for the Caps, with Brown leading the league in assists and Barry averaging 27 points per game.[12] The team finished 44-40 and was eliminated by the Denver Rockets in the playoffs. Plagued by poor attendance, the franchise relocated again and became the Virginia Squires following their one season in the Washington Coliseum.[12]

From May 3–5, 1971, the building was used as a makeshift jail for up to 1200 male and female prisoners arrested during the 1971 May Day Protests against the war in Vietnam.[13][14]

The building would fall into obscurity after the opening of the Capital Centre in suburban Landover, Maryland in 1973.

The building still stands today in the NoMa neighborhood near Union Station, what was formerly known as Swampoodle. It was used as a trash transfer station by Waste Management, the company that handles trash disposal for the District of Columbia, from 1994 to 2003. Waste Management Inc. applied for a demolition permit on May 9, 2003.[4] The D.C. Preservation League listed the building in its "Most Endangered Places for 2003".[15] In order to protect it from efforts to raze the building, it was added to the official protection list of the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board in November 2006. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, on May 17, 2007.[16]

It is a popular spot for graffiti. [17] It is now used as an indoor parking lot. The coliseum is currently owned by Doug Jemal.[18] Redevelopment plans are pending.[19]

Uline Ice Company Plant


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  2. ^ "The Theatre: Ice Woman and Ice Man". Time. February 10, 1941. 
  3. ^ Mike Livingston (2001-04-13). "As decades pass, a coliseum's glory days go to waste". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved 2009-12-24. 
  4. ^ a b Spencer S. Hsu (June 12, 2003). "History Buffs Fight to Save Uline Arena; Coliseum Hosted Dylan, Beatles and Malcolm X". The Washington Post. 
  5. ^ "THE BEATLES AT WASHINGTON SPORTS ARENA". It All happened - A Living History of Live Music. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  6. ^ Marc Fisher (2006-11-27). "Saved: D.C.'s Beatles Connection". Washington Post. 
  7. ^ J. Freedom du Lac (2014-02-11). "The Beatles’ first U.S. concert: An oral history of the day the Fab Four conquered D.C.". Washington Post. 
  8. ^ Olof Björner. "Something is Happening Here: Bob Dylan1965". Bob Dylan Yearly Chronicles. Retrieved 2011-03-13. 
  9. ^ http://wikimapia.org/601641/Uline-Arena-Washington-Coliseum
  10. ^ Ulf Hannerz (2004). Soulside: inquiries into ghetto culture and community. University of Chicago Press.  
  11. ^ http://www.remembertheaba.com/Oakland-Oaks.html
  12. ^ a b http://www.remembertheaba.com/Washington-Capitals.html
  13. ^ Mann, Jim. "Spirit Runs High in Coliseum 'Jail'" Washington Post, May 5, 1971.
  14. ^ Mann, Jim. "Coliseum Diary: 10-Hour Mixture of Ebullience, Boredom" Washington Post, May 8, 1971.
  15. ^ "Most Endangered Places for 2003: ULINE ARENA (WASHINGTON COLISEUM)". Retrieved 2009-12-24. 
  16. ^ http://planning.dc.gov/OP/HP/Inventory%20pdfs%20alpha%20listing%204.1.2/Inventory_%20U.pdf
  17. ^ John Kelly (April 7, 2010). Graveyard' appears on roof of Washington Coliseum"'". The Washington Post. 
  18. ^ Dave McKenna (2009-06-25). "Inside the Washington Coliseum with Brett Abrams: If You Can Keep the Whole Building, Keep the Whole Building". Washington City Paper. Retrieved 2009-12-24. 
  19. ^ Prabha Natarajan (August 27, 2007). "Jemal, Wilkes size up Uline for entertainment project". Washington Business Journal. 

Further reading

  • Justine Christianson (Spring–Summer 2004). "The Uline Arena/Washington Coliseum: The Rise and Fall of a Washington Institution". Washington History. pp. 16–35. 

External links

  • The Washington Coliseum: The Forgotten Landmark
  • The Beatles’ First Concert in the U.S. (1964) (ghostsofdc.org)
  • Photo Gallery Beatles Concert February 11, 1964
  • Cultural Tourism DC: Uline Arena/Washington Coliseum
  • Brooks Butler Hays, "Two Year Extension Given to Uline Arena Redevelopment Plans", DC MUD, 9/29/2010
  • Alia E. Dastagir (June 22, 2011). "What's next for the Uline Arena?". TBD. 
  • Catherine Finn (December 12, 2010). "Looking Back: Uline Arena/Washington Coliseum". DCist. 
  • Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) No. DC-63, "Uline Arena"
  • HAER No. DC-66, "Uline Ice Plant"