MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM (New-1928)
MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM (Now-2008)
What remains of the grand edifice located on the southewest corner of Seventh Ave. and Massachusetts St., and known as Memorial Auditorium, is now surrounded by chain link fence. All that remains are parts of the building shell. The structure was destroyed by fire when much of downtown Gary went up in blaze.The original builiding was in the Venetian style. The exterior was made of brownish red brick and artificial brown stone. The auditorium dimensions were 125' W x 275' L. The entry way featured double-terraced stone steps, five arched entrances with large grilled transoms, above which were inserts of patterned brick reaching to the cornice of the middle roof. On either side of the main entrance are elaborately designed wings. The wings feature five pylons with onion-shaped finials, separated by mansard-shaped tile roofs.
The auditorium can accommodate five thousand (5000) persons. It is used for concerts, theatrical performances and athletic events. A stage 125' W x 50' L x 65' H is one of the largest in northwest Indiana. The asbestos fire curtain, merasures 90' W x 30' L. At the time of installation it was the largest ever manufactured. Removable seating is located on a parquet floor. The floor is also available for use during basketball tourneys, etc. (Memorial Auditorium was the annual site for the start of "Hoosier Hysteria;" being the sectionals of the Indiana State Basketball Tournament. It was also the site for graduation ceremonies for all the Gary Public Schools.) The interior of the auditorium is finished with faced brick with celotex panels and ceilings, exceptionally fine for so large a building.
It was School Superintendent William A. Wirt's suggestion, because of the great cost involved in erecting the enterprise, and also because work in the auditorium department is important to the Gary schools curricula, that a stage, as well as the athletic floor, should become a central motive in construction of the projected building. Donations for erection were started by the allied athletic associations of the public schools; other funds were provided by citizens purchasing three years athletic season tickets at $50 each.
Seven of the nine lots upon which the auditorium stands were donated by the United States Steel Corporation. The school board lent about $150,000.00, taking a deed to the property as security. A nominal charge is made for use of the auditorium in payment of the expenses, and any balance is held in escrow by the Board of Education to be used in repayment of the loan, the intention being to deed the property to the city as soon as the indebtedness is repaid.
The building is a memorial to the World War (WWI) veterans of Gary.
Lew Wallace High School
St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church
45th Av. & Pennsylvania St.
The Fusion -in Gateway Park (Downtown)
PALACE THEATER (Downtown) - Note gaping hole in tower and windows painted over to look as though fresh flowers are soaking up the sun's rays
Lobby entrance to theater
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