Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Seattle Center Arena, Mercer Street and Fourth Avenue North (305 Harrison Street), Seattle, WA

Capacity 8000

Previously known as the Exposition Building and the Civic Ice Arena this a performing arts venue located at the corner of Mercer Street Fourth Avenue North in Seattle, Washington.

The Civic Ice Arena was a 4,000-seat multi-purpose arena located in the Metropolitan Tract in Seattle, Washington. It was built in 1928, opened in 1934, next door to the Seattle Civic Auditorium (where the Seattle Opera House is now located), as part of the $1 million Seattle Center.[1]
Postcard view of the Civic Ice Arena, c.1920s. Larger building in the foreground is the Civic Auditorium, now Opera House.

Civic Ice Arena 1931, photo property of Museum of History and Industry.
Civic Ice Arena 1948
The Ice Arena Wurlitzer was originally installed in 1926 in Salem's Capitol Theatre (opus 1427). In 1941, the organ was moved by Balcom & Vaughan to the Ice Arena.

According to Kurt Armbruster, "...the pipes were housed in a large, shuttered box in the southeast corner of the interior, while the organ console was in a booth hung on the south wall, over the roll-up door."

"The booth, orginally decorated in ornate 1940s style, was 'modernized' in 1962 for the World's Fair.
The organ was used daily until remodeling in 1963 (following the Seattle World's Fair) required its removal.
According to Glenn White, the contractor was going to trash the organ when they remodeled the Arena. Fortunately, White and his fellow sound engineers removed the instrument to storage.
In 1964-65, the organ was re-installed at the Seattle Center Food Circus.
For a short time in the late 1960's and early 70's, another pipe organ was installed at the Ice Arena. It was the three-manual Aeolian from the Rhodes Department Store. When the Rhodes store closed in the late 1960's, the organ was given to the City of Seattle. Glenn White, Chief Sound Engineer for Seattle Center, together with his crew, removed the organ and re-installed it in 1967 in the remodeled Arena above the South stage area. According to Glenn White, "we had no budget to restore the organ, but we did manage to keep it in fairly good tune. This was never much of an organ, and nobody really had any interest in using it. Later on, the City sold it, but I never found out where it went. It was a player Aeolian, and it had a whole bunch of player rolls with it which we saved in a secure place under the new seating area on the East side."
Mr. White's assessment of this instrument has been confirmed by others. According to some, it was lost in the room and could barely be heard. The instrument was eventually sold by the City, possibly to someone in Vancouver B.C. Current status is unknown.(2)

The venue predates Seattle Center Coliseum by about 35 years.

Initially conceived as an ice-arena, the facility eventually became a large multi-purpose venue. It was nicknamed "the House of Suds" because of the large underwriting contribution of local tavern owner, James Osborne.

The name changed to Seattle Center Arena after the Century 21 Exposition (1962 World's Fair).

Seattle Center is a park and arts and entertainment center in Seattle, Washington. The 74-acre (300,000 m2) campus is the site used in 1962 by the Century 21 Exposition. It is located just north of Belltown in the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood.
July 12, 1968
Unknown date

January 20, 1976

In 1995 the name changed to Mercer Arena. The building is home of the Seattle Thunderbirds hockey team. It was slated for use by Seattle Opera in 2001-2002, during renovation of the Opera House.(2)

The building has sat dormant from 2003-2008. There are plans to convert the arena into a facility for the Seattle Opera (which is located in the adjacent Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, the former Civic Auditorium/ Seattle Opera House).

The building is now known as Key Center.

Jerry performed here on
1/24/71 New Riders of the Purple Sage and Grateful Dead
6/26/73 Grateful Dead

2.)^Civic Ice Arena,-3/8 Wurlitzer, Puget Sound Pipeline Online,

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