If you’ve been downtown lately, you may have noticed that the demolition of the Civic Arena has begun. If the demand for ornaments fashioned from the Civic Arena’s roof is any indication, there are many who feel an emotional attachment to the iconic structure and will be sorry to see it go. Those interested in seeing the beginnings of the Civic Arena can head over to Historic Pittsburgh, where the Heinz History Center’s William V. Winans, Jr. Photograph Collection has recently been posted online.
Winans was an assistant superintendent for the Dick Company, a firm that was involved in the construction of the arena. The images document the construction process, from groundbreaking in March 1958 until May 1961, just a few months before the grand opening.
Primarily home to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the arena also served as the venue for events as disparate as Civic Light Opera productions, Harlem Globetrotters games, monster truck races, boxing matches, political rallies, roller derbies, dog shows, and rock concerts. The construction of the Civic Arena also drastically altered life in the Hill District by displacing 8,000 residents and disrupting the street grid connecting the neighborhood to Downtown.