Home Basketball A historic look back at “The Arena”

A historic look back at “The Arena”

by Jeremy Karp

On February 9, 1966 the St. Louis Blues were granted their very own St. Louis franchise. It would be named the St. Louis Blues. It’s been a historic 50 years since that day, and while there’s one thing that eludes the franchise, it still is a highly successful team.

Sid Salomon Jr. and his son, Sid Salomon III, stepped up in a big way. After putting up the initial $2 million fee to the league, the Salomons immediately purchased the St. Louis Arena for $4 million, with the other $2 million coming directly from the National Hockey League.

Built in 1930, the Arena, also known as “The Barn”, had a rough time in the 1940’s and ’50’s being maintained to quality standard. A tornado in 1959 severely damaged the building’s roof and took months to repair.

However, once completed it began hosting the St. Louis Braves of the Central Hockey League for a brief period, a team which was a minor league affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks.

In 1974, St. Louis, longing for basketball after the loss of the Hawks in 1968, saw the St. Louis Spirits from the American Basketball Association arrive. Though the team struggled in their two seasons at the Arena, going 32-52 in ’74-’75, and 35-49 in ’75-’76.

Despite hosting basketball tournaments, multiple indoor events, and the aforementioned teams above, it wasn’t until the Blues arrived that the Arena became a household name. The Arena was known by fans across the NHL as one of the loudest stadiums and best for hockey, despite not being built for that purpose. It could seat over 20,000 fans (excluding standing room only spots) and served as the home of the Blues from 1967-1994.

During the 1994 offseason, the Blues moved to their permanent home, the Scottrade Center (originally named the Kiel Center). Five years later, on February 27, 1999 the Arena was demolished via controlled demolition.

And although it no longer stands, the memories that were made over the years there remain forever.

Related Articles

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.