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Old Nov 16, 2003, 07:20 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 06, 2001
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Default Site of Beatles\' First US concert to be demolished

I hope this is the right forum for this topic. I think that this is an important matter and I intend to send a letter ASAP and am going to encourage people I know to do the same.

From Abbyrd's news page:

Update (11/16/03)
From Frank C. Branchini:

A decision on designating the Washington Coliseum as a landmark has been pushed back until at least January. If we are to have any hope in saving the Coliseum it is vital that Beatlefans from all over the world contact the DC Historic Preservation Review Board NOW to urge landmark designation for the Coliseum.

Special thanks to Steve Marinucci for posting information about this on his excellent Abbey Road website, to Brad Howard who will be including it in the next issue of the outstanding World Beatles Forum, and to Goldy from WBIG-FM in Washington who did an excellent report about saving the Coliseum on his wonderful radio program.

Update (10/13/03)
From Frank C. Branchini:

As you probably know the Washington Coliseum was the site of the Beatles first US concert. The owners of the building have applied for a demolition permit. This is being opposed by historic preservationists who have applied to have the building designated as historic landmark. A hearing on landmark designation will take place in Washington on November 20. Letters are needed NOW in support of historic landmark designation. Landmark designation would block demolition.

The original Cavern is already gone. We need to save this bit of Beatles history. Letters are needed from Beatlefans all over the world. I hope you will forward the attached message to every one you know who cares about the Beatles and that you post it wherever it makes sense to do so! And I hope you will join me in writing to the D. C. Historic Preservation Review Board asking that they designate the Washington Coliseum as a historic landmark.

DATE: October 9, 2003

CONTACTS: HISTORIC PRESERVATION LEAGUE, Krista Schreiner Gebbie Program Manager, DC Preservation League, 401 F Street, NW, Room 324, Washington, DC 20001 (202) 783-5144.

Frank C. Branchini
150 Cardamon Drive
Edgewater, MD 21037-1127

February 11, 2004 will mark the 40th anniversary of the first Beatles concert in the United States at the Washington Coliseum. Historic preservationists and Beatle fans are fighting to make sure the Coliseum will still be around for the anniversary. Owners of the Coliseum have applied for a permit for the demolition of the building. Historic preservationists are petitioning for designation of the building as a historic landmark, which would block demoliton. A hearing on historic landmark designation will be held in Washington on November 20.

Supporters of landmark designation are asking for letters of support for designation of the Uline Arena/Washington Coliseum as a landmark. These should emphasize that the building was the site of signficant events and should be sent to:

Tersh Boasberg, Chairman DC Historic Preservation Review Board 801 North Capital Street, NE, Suite 3000 Washington, DC 20002 with a copy to:

DC Preservation League 401 F Street, NW, Room 324 Washington, DC 20001 Supporters of landmark designation are also looking for photos of the Beatles performance at the Coliseum in an electronic format, as well as the right to reproduce the photos for the hearing presentation.

The building, originally known as the Uline Arena, was built in 1941 and operated by Miguel L. "Uncle Mike" Uline for the Washington Lions of the Eastern Hockey League. This concrete- vaulted building could seat 9,000 people and was noted as the home of Go-Go music where local musicians such as Chuck Brown, Trouble Funk, and Rare Essence performed. Political rallies and speeches were a tradition in the Arena including a rally staged by Fight for Freedom, Inc. in support of US involvement in World War II, a month before Pear Harbor; and a speech by Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad in 1959.

On Friday, February 7, 1964 the Beatles arrived at John F. Kenney International Airport in New York. They were greeted by thousands of screaming teenagers. On Sunday, February 9, they appeared in a live television performance on the Ed Sullivan Show. This show was watched by 73 million people, at that time, the largest television audience in U. S. history.

On Tuesday, February 9, the Beatles by traveled to Washington by train during a snowstorm. At 8:31 pm stepped on stage at the Washington Coliseum to give their first North American concert. They performed

Roll Over Beethoven
From Me To You
I Saw Her Standing There
This Boy
All My Loving
I Wanna Be Your Man
Please Please Me
Til There Was You
She Loves You
I Want To Hold Your Hand
Twist And Shout
Long Tall Sally
It was another manic audience of screaming fans. Tickets cost $2 to $4 and there was an audience of 8,600. Opening acts were The Chiffons and Tommy Roe. The performance was filmed and the film was subsequently shown in movie theaters.
The stage was set up in the middle of the Coliseum floor and at the end of every three sings roadie Mal Evans went on stage to turn Ringo's drum set 45 degrees to face another side of the audience.

Since its construction, the arena, later known as the Washington Coliseum, has been a place for figure skating, jazz, wrestling, ballet, basketball, Washington-style Go-Go music, midget auto racing, rock, hockey, karate, politics, tennis, boxing, and Indian ragas.

In addition to being the venue for the first Beatles concert in the U.S.,Uline Arena/Washington Coliseum is of importance for many other reasons:

The building is a unique example of concrete barrel-vaulted construction.
The Woody Herman Orchestra, the Ink Spots, Charlie Parker, Ravi Shankar, The Rolling Stones, the Temptations, the Royal Ballet, the Washington Ballet, and the Ice Capades all performed IN the building.
Bob Dylan performed in the building in 1967 and a photo from the concert appeared on the cover of his Greatest Hits album. Photographer Rolwand Scherman and Columbia Records won a Grammy award for the album design.
The facility was home to three basketball teams: the Washington Capitols, Tapers, and Caps.
Red Auerbach served as the coach for the Washington Capitols for three seasons.
Earl Lloyd, a member of the Washington Capitols, became the first African-American to play in the NBA in 1950.
The building was home to three hockey teams: the Eagles, Lions, and Presidents.
Rocky Graziano fought at Uline Arena.
Boxing legend Joe Louis made his pro wrestling debut at Uline Arena.
Elijah Mohammad and Malcolm X both spoke at Uline Arena.
There was a fierce fight to desegregate the facility.
(7/3/03) From Frank C. Branchini:

I received this from Maria Clark. I had not heard about this:
"Did you catch Fox5 news last night, or maybe hear about it? They did a piece on the Washington Coliseum/Uline Arena building all about how the present owners have applied to the city for a demolition permit. Seems there was some community uproar regarding the building's historical significance, particularly as regards to the Beatles event there....the owners are claiming (now) they aren't looking to demolish but that the permit makes the building easier to sell off. Hmmmmm. They interviewed some radio DJ with a vast collection of Beatles goods on the show. The DC Historical Society is supposedly trying to decide whether to consider it a landmark worth listing and saving. I wonder if there is any way to get involved in helping that come about??? They showed some fun footage of the Fabs at the show and the DJ had some great-condition tickets from it.($4.00) Heard anything about this??"
The Washington Coliseum was the site of the Beatles' first US concert on February 11, 1964. The building had been used as a transfer site for trash hauling.

This does seem like an issue that Beatles fans should be involved in. If any one has additional information please contact me.

Frank C. Branchini
For more information, go to

Link to article:

[size="1"][ Nov 16, 2003, 07:21 PM: Message Edited By: BeatleBonJoviFan ][/size]
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