Thursday, September 14, 2006

Showtime at the auditorium!

In Houston, auditoriums and concert halls come and go. The Astrodome will likely end up as some kind of entertainment complex, the Summit is now Lakewood Church, the Astrohall is gone and the Sam Houston Coliseum and Music Hall have been replaced by newer performance halls.

The building pictured above was home to the 1928 Democratic National Convention. According to Marguerite Johnston's "Houston: The Unknown City," Jesse H. Jones was largely responsible for bringing the convention to the city. Jones, who was the party's national finance director, put up $200,000 and the promise of a 25,000-seat coliseum if the Democratic National Committee chose Houston.

The DNC did, and a coliseum was built between January and mid-June of 1928.

Eventually, the building would be torn down, and by 1940, the Sam Houston Coliseum would go up in its place. The $2,000,000 building ($26,000,000 in today's dollars) seated about 18,000. The adjacent Music Hall seated another 2,200.

The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts now occupies the site.

But before all those structures, there was the old City Auditorium.

Located where Jones Hall is today, the old City Auditorium was home to everything from wrestling to the Houston Symphony. It opened in 1910 and was torn down in the early 1960s.

Going back further, there was another city auditorium located at Main and McGowen.

I don't have much information on this structure except that it was located at the streets mentioned above.

Many of Bob Bailey's pictures of Houston, including the City Auditorium, can be found here.

For those wanting a tangible piece of history, the city visitors' center at City Hall sells bricks from the old coliseum and Music Hall.



At 10:42 PM, Anonymous mikefromtexas said...

I still remember many of the shows I attended at the Music Hall. Truly at great place, very intimate, wonderful acoustics. I've wondered for years what became of it.

At 2:10 AM, Blogger J.R.G. said...

I spent a lot of time at the Music Hall, mostly in its later years. It wasn't a bad place to see a performance. You could tell it was old, but the views were great.

At 4:59 AM, Blogger Willie Seals III said...

I remember watching wrestling at the Sam Houston Coliseum back when Paul Boesch ran events there on Friday nights .


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