Uline Arena

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Uline Arena
Washington Coliseum
Uline Arena (Washington Coliseum).jpg
Uline Arena (1941–1959)
Uline Arena is located in Washington, D.C.
Uline Arena
Location1132, 1140, and 1146 3rd St. NE, Washington, District of Columbia
Coordinates38°54′18″N 77°0′11″W / 38.90500°N 77.00306°W / 38.90500; -77.00306Coordinates: 38°54′18″N 77°0′11″W / 38.90500°N 77.00306°W / 38.90500; -77.00306
Area3.9 acres (1.6 ha)
ArchitectKubitz & Koenig; et al.
Architectural styleModern Movement
NRHP reference #07000448[1]
Added to NRHPMay 17, 2007
Uline Arena
Washington Lions (AHL and EHL) (1941–1942 and 1944–1949)
Washington Presidents (EHL) (1957–1960)
Washington Capitols (BAA and NBA) (1946–1951)
Georgetown Hoyas (NCAA) (1946-1947 and 1949–1951)
Washington Tapers (ABL) (1961–1962)
Washington Caps (ABA) (1969–1970)

The Uline Arena, also known as the Washington Coliseum, was 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. Once abandoned and used as a parking facility, today it has been renovated and houses offices and a REI store.

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

The arena was home of the Washington Capitols of theBasketball Association of America (1946-1949) and National Basketball Association (1949-1950), who were once coached by Red Auerbach. Later, the American Basketball Association's Washington Caps played there in 1969–1970. It also was host to many performances and athletic events of varying types, including ice skating, martial arts, ballet, music, circuses, and speeches. It held up to 11,000 people for events.


The 11,000-seat[2] Uline Ice Arena, which opened in February, 1941, was built by Migiel J. "Uncle Mike" Uline for his ice hockey team, the Washington Lions of the now defunct Eastern Amateur Hockey League. [3] Uline built the arena next to his ice business.[2]

The first event at the new arena was Sonja Henie's Hollywood Ice Revue.[4] Another of its earliest events was a pro-America rally in 1941 designed to promote U.S. entry into World War II, just weeks before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor[citation needed][5] brought the United States into the war on December 7, 1941. During the war, Uline repurposed the arena as a housing facility for U.S. service members.[6] The arena remained segregated after its opening until January, 1948. [7]

Basketball and Hockey[edit]

After World War II ended in 1945, the arena was restored for use as an ice hockey and basketball venue.[6] The Washington Capitols began play as a charter member of the Basketball Association of America in 1946 and became a charter member of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1949; during its five seasons of play, the team used Uline Arena as its home court. Earl Lloyd, the first African American athlete to play for an NBA team, played for the Capitols at Uline Arena on October 31, 1950. The team folded during the 1950-1951 season.[8]

During the 1946-1947, 1949-1950, and 1950-1951 seasons, the Georgetown University Hoyas men's basketball team played home games at Uline Arena.

In 1969, the American Basketball Association's defending championship team, the Oakland Oaks, moved to Washington and played as the Washington Caps during the 1969–1970 season.The Oaks, owned by entertainer Pat Boone, had captured the ABA Championship in the 1968–69 season, and Boone sold the team to Earl Foreman due to poor attendance in Oakland. Foreman relocated the franchise to Washington.[9] 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.[10] 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.[10]

The Washington Lions of the American Hockey League and Eastern Hockey League (1941–1942 and 1944–1949) and the Washington Presidents of the Eastern Hockey League (1957–1960) played at Washington Coliseum.

Beatles concert[edit]

On February 11, 1964, The Beatles played their first concert in the United States at the Washington Coliseum,[11] 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."[12] 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."[13] The Beatles had a 12 song set and played for approximately 40 minutes.[14][15]

Other events[edit]

One of President Dwight D. Eisenhower′s two inaugural balls in 1953 was held at Uline Arena.[2]

Retired boxer Joe Louis made his debut as a professional wrestler at Uline Arena on March 16, 1956, defeating Cowboy Rocky Lee.[16][17]

Jewelry wholesaler Harry G. Lynn bought the arena in 1959 for $1 million.[18] In 1959, Elijah Muhammad gave a speech there,[19][20] and Malcolm X once spoke there as well.[2] In 1960, Lynn renamed the building the Washington Coliseum.[18]

Bob Dylan performed at the Washington Coliseum,[6] and the photograph of Dylan on the cover of Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits was taken at a concert at the Coliseum on November 28, 1965.[21] Chuck Brown also performed there.[6]

In 1967, after a riot during a performance by The Temptations, concerts were banned at the Coliseum.[22][23]

Uline Ice Company Plant

Later years[edit]

From May 3 to 5, 1971, the building was used as a makeshift jail for up to 1,200 male and female prisoners arrested during the 1971 May Day Protests against the Vietnam War.[24][25]

The building fell into obscurity after the opening of the Capital Centre in suburban Landover, Maryland, in 1973. Subsequently, the arena was closed in 1986.[2]

In 1994, Waste Management, the company that provided trash disposal for the District of Columbia, purchased the building, and used it as a trash transfer station[2] until 2003.

Waste Management applied for a demolition permit on May 9, 2003,[8] and the D.C. Preservation League responded by listing the building in its "Most Endangered Places for 2003".[26] Waste Management sold the building to Douglas Development in 2004.[2]

In order to protect the building from efforts to raze it, 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.[27]

Formerly a popular spot for graffiti,[28] the arena also was used as an indoor parking lot, with the adjacent ice house sitting vacant.[2] Billboards also were mounted on the building.[2] In 2009, the Coliseum was owned by Douglas Jemal.[29]

The site today[edit]

The arena still stands today near Union Station in the NoMa neighborhood.

In 2015, outdoor retailer REI announced that it would develop the property into its fifth flagship store and first store in Washington, D.C.[30] In addition to the 51,000-square-foot (4,738-square-meter) REI store, plans called for the fully redeveloped site also to house 146,200 square feet (13,582 square meters) of office space and an additional 17,000 square feet (1,579 square meters) of retail space for other users. The REI store opened on October 21, 2016,[31] with a marching band [32] and other festivities, as the largest REI store on the United States East Coast.[6] In April 2017 Spaces, a co-working brand based in Luxembourg, became the second tenant taking over 34,000 square feet of office space. Spaces Co-working is a subsidiary of Regus who is owned by International Workplace Group.

On September 17, 2018 Antunovich Associates, the architecture firm who worked with Douglas Development in restoring the arena, opened their DC office on the ground level of the Uline Arena. The new office fronts directly onto Third Street Northeast, adjacent to the main building lobby.


  1. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Goodman, Tony, "Historic Uline Arena will become offices, retail and parking," greatergreaterwashington.org, July 15, 2013.
  3. ^ http://ultimatehistoryproject.com/uline-arena.html
  4. ^ "The Theatre: Ice Woman and Ice Man". Time. February 10, 1941.
  5. ^ https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/stories/2001/04/16/focus10.html
  6. ^ a b c d e Stein, Perry, "The Beatles played their first U.S. concert here. Now an REI is moving in.," washingtonpost.com, October 20, 2016.
  7. ^ https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/stories/2001/04/16/focus10.html
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ http://www.remembertheaba.com/Oakland-Oaks.html
  10. ^ a b http://www.remembertheaba.com/Washington-Capitals.html
  11. ^ "THE BEATLES AT WASHINGTON SPORTS ARENA". It All happened – A Living History of Live Music. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  12. ^ Marc Fisher (2006-11-27). "Saved: D.C.'s Beatles Connection". Washington Post.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ https://www.thebeatles.com/feature/beatles-live-washington-coliseum-1964
  15. ^ http://www.rockandrollgps.com/the-washington-coliseum-where-the-beatles-performed-their-first-concert-in-the-usa/
  16. ^ Mead, Chris (September 23, 1985). "Triumphs and Trials". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on October 5, 2008.
  17. ^ Meltzer, Dave (March 27, 2008). "Boxers in wrestling a rich tradition".
  18. ^ a b Mike Livingston (2001-04-13). "As decades pass, a coliseum's glory days go to waste". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved 2009-12-24.
  19. ^ "Moslem leader demands 'justice' at rally of 5,000". Afro-American. 1959-06-13. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  20. ^ Lomax, Louis (1959-06-06). "10,000 Moslems Hold Meeting In Washington". New York Amsterdam News. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  21. ^ Olof Björner. "Something is Happening Here: Bob Dylan1965". Bob Dylan Yearly Chronicles. Retrieved 2011-03-13.
  22. ^ http://wikimapia.org/601641/Uline-Arena-Washington-Coliseum
  23. ^ Ulf Hannerz (2004). Soulside: Inquiries into Ghetto Culture and Community. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-31576-8.
  24. ^ Mann, Jim. "Spirit Runs High in Coliseum 'Jail'" Washington Post, May 5, 1971.
  25. ^ Mann, Jim. "Coliseum Diary: 10-Hour Mixture of Ebullience, Boredom" Washington Post, May 8, 1971.
  26. ^ "Most Endangered Places for 2003: ULINE ARENA (WASHINGTON COLISEUM)". dcpreservation.org. Archived from the original on 2009-04-05. Retrieved 2009-12-24.
  27. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-06-02. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
  28. ^ John Kelly (April 7, 2010). "'Graveyard' appears on roof of Washington Coliseum". The Washington Post.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ "National Outdoor Retailer REI to Open Flagship in Historic Uline Arena in Washington, D.C." (Press release). Washington, D.C.: REI. January 28, 2015. Retrieved February 2, 2015.
  31. ^ "T-22 Days for REI Flagship Grand Opening and Block Party Oct 21-23". Washington, D.C.: Prince of Petworth. September 28, 2016. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  32. ^ "T-1 Hour to REI". POPville. Retrieved 2016-10-21.

Further reading[edit]

  • Justine Christianson (Spring–Summer 2004). "The Uline Arena/Washington Coliseum: The Rise and Fall of a Washington Institution". Washington History. pp. 16–35. JSTOR 40073579.

External links[edit]