BVM June 2016 - page 33

Business View Magazine - June 2016 33
The Allen County War
Memorial Coliseum
A treasured community resource
It’s hard to believe that anyone could have a warm,
fuzzy feeling for a convention center. In most places,
these glass and steel, cavernous buildings with their
endless function rooms and long halls with industrial
carpeting, seem rather sterile and removed from the
communities they inhabit. Their job, most usually, is
merely to act as transient holding pens for the con-
ventions, home shows, and other events that show
up, dazzle for a few days, then pack up and leave
town. They may generate jobs and income for the lo-
cals, but the emotional bond is not often there.
On the other end of the spectrum is the Allen County
War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana - as
much a part of its community as a building could ever
be. In fact, it was members of the Fort Wayne com-
munity, themselves, who, in 1944, conceived the idea
as a project that would both commemorate those who
gave their lives in service during World War II, as well
as serve as a civic center and venue for community
functions such as sports events and concerts.
The citizens of Allen County warmed to the idea and
a county-wide referendum on the Memorial Colise-
um passed in 1946, despite its $3 million price tag.
Ground was broken in 1950, and the building opened
in September 1952 as a ten thousand seat arena and
fifty thousand square foot exhibition facility. The Me-
morial Coliseum quickly became the site of major pro-
fessional and amateur sporting events, circuses, ice
skating shows, religious gatherings, political rallies,
civic and school events, and patriotic observances. In
many ways, it reflected the heart and soul of the com-
munity through the events that it hosted. Still owned
by Allen County, today, the Memorial Coliseum serves
the tri-state area as a focal point for family entertain-
ment, arts and culture, sports, and community gather-
ings. It draws visitors from all over the Midwest and
The Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
A 13,000-seat multi-purpose arena and
war memorial
Fort Wayne, Indiana
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