Denver Auditorium Arena

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Denver Auditorium Arena
Denver Municipal Auditorium.JPG
Location 14th and Arapahoe Streets, Denver, Colorado 80204
Coordinates 39°44′40″N 104°59′51″W / 39.74444°N 104.99750°W / 39.74444; -104.99750Coordinates: 39°44′40″N 104°59′51″W / 39.74444°N 104.99750°W / 39.74444; -104.99750
Owner City and County of Denver
Operator City and County of Denver
Capacity 12,500 (original), 6,841 (renovated)
Surface Multi-Surface
Tenants
Denver Nuggets (NBL/NBA) (1948–1950)
Denver Rockets/Denver Nuggets (ABA) (1967–1975)
Construction
Broke ground 1908
Opened July 7, 1908
Demolished 1990
Architect Robert Willison

Denver Auditorium Arena was an indoor arena located at the corner of 13th and Champa Streets in Denver, Colorado. It was constructed as the Denver Municipal Auditorium in 1908 during the administration of Denver Mayor Robert W. Speer. The building was opened on July 7, 1908, and was the site of the 1908 Democratic National Convention.

With a capacity of 12,500, the building was at the time of its opening the second largest in America to Madison Square Garden.[1] Initially, the venue was configured and equipped to hold numerous kinds of events including theater, opera, conventions, sporting events, exhibitions, concerts, and more. Renovations were made to the building in the 1940s, and in 1953 the southern half of the building was converted into the Auditorium Arena, a pure sporting venue with seating capacity of 6,841.

It hosted the ABA's Denver Rockets, later the Denver Nuggets, from 1967 until they left for McNichols Sports Arena in 1975.

The Rockets played their first game at home on October 15, 1967, defeating the Anaheim Amigos 110-105.[2] Early, the Rockets had a solid lineup led by Byron Beck and Larry Jones, then later by Beck and Ralph Simpson. Controversial rookie Spencer Haywood joined the team for the 1969–70 season. Haywood was one of the first players to turn pro before graduating from college, and the NBA initially refused to let him play in the league. Haywood averaged nearly 30 points and 19.5 rebounds per game in his only ABA season, being named ABA MVP, as well as the All-Star Game MVP. However, Haywood signed with the NBA Seattle SuperSonics and jumped to the NBA just befort the start of the 1970-71 season.

Denver Rockets (1967–74)

Becoming the Denver Nuggets[edit]

Ringsby sold the franchise to San Diego businessmen Frank Goldberg and Bud Fischer in 1972.[2] In 1974, in anticipation of moving into the NBA, and the new McNichols Arena the franchise held a contest to choose a new team nickname, as "Rockets" was already in use by the Houston Rockets. The winning choice was "Nuggets," in honor of the original Nuggets team in Denver from 1948–50, the last year as a charter member of the NBA. Their new logo was a miner "discovering" an ABA ball. Goldberg and Fischer in turn sold the team to a local investment group in 1976.[3]

With the drafting and signing of Hall of Fame player David Thompson out of North Carolina State University, Marvin Webster and the acquisitions of Dan Issel and Bobby Jones and with Larry Brown coaching, they had their best seasons in team history in their first two seasons as the Nuggets. Playing in the Denver Auditorium Arena for the last season the 1974-75 team went 65-16, including a 40-2 record at home. However, a quick playoff exit followed.[3]

The Auditorium Arena was an annual host of the Colorado high school state basketball tournament, primarily for the smaller-enrollment classifications.

The Auditorium Arena was home to the Denver Comets of the professional International Volleyball Association from 1977-1980, and home to the Denver Racquets of World Team Tennis in 1974, when they won the league championship before moving to Phoenix for the 1975 season.

On December 26, 1968, the rock group Led Zeppelin played their first concert in the United States at the Auditorium Arena.[1]

In the last several years of its existence, the building was a popular venue for professional wrestling, hosting both AWA and WWF events.

In 1990 the building was remodeled into the Temple Hoyne Buell Theater.

References[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
First arena
Home of the
Denver Nuggets (original)

1948 – 1950
Succeeded by
Defunct
Preceded by
None
Home of the
Denver Rockets/Denver Nuggets

1967 – 1975
Succeeded by
McNichols Sports Arena