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The Portland Ice Arenas, 1916 - present
Portland Ice Hippodrome - Marshall Street Ice Arena - Home of the first professional Hockey team in United States
In the summer of 1913, an Oregonian advertisement proclaimed plans of a group of Canadians preparing to build an indoor ice arena called the Ice Hippodrome. After the success of their ice-skating facilities in various Canadian cities, they were in town to erect a rink that would be among the largest in the world.
In November 1914, The Ice Hippodrome was finally opened. Over 2,000 Portlanders showed up to try out the new skating rink. Touted as the world's largest artificial indoor ice rink (325 x 180 feet), it soon filled with people from all walks of life.
Hockey soon followed. Portland was the first U.S. city to have a professional hockey team. The Rosebuds played in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association against Canadian teams from Vancouver and Victoria. An old-timer from the inaugural team reminisced with Oregonian Sports Write L.H. Gregory in 1962 how the team got its name.
Eddie Oatman told Gregory: "It wasn't so named at first, Rosebuds being bestowed on it by a Portland newspaper, I believe by the Oregonian. When we played in Canada the first season, they called us the "Uncle Sam's" because of our United States origin. One Portland paper picked this up and used it, but the others from the first spoke of us as "Rosebuds". Before long, probably because of the Rose Festival and Portland as the Rose City, this name was adopted by the club."
Portland was the champion of the West Coast League for the 1915-16 season and played the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey Association for the Stanley Cup, losing three games to two. Professional hockey left town the following year.
The Multnomah Athletic Club also played in the Ice Hippodrome as part of the Portland Amateur Hockey Association. They played at the facility up until WW1 and later in the '20s.
The rink was bought in 1925, remodeled and renamed the Coliseum. A news account of the new ownership told of remodeling plans. "In the west end of the building, a hardwood floor of ample dimensions in the center of a second battery of seats will offer the first facilities in the city's ever-increasing popularity of basketball. Basketball in the last two or three years has risen from the ranks of a game that drew only a handful of spectators until today boosters of the game find playing in the gymnasiums which have no accommodations for the spectator is no longer practical."
The basketball court with seating for 2,000 was separated from the rink end of the building. The entrance for basketball was on Northrup street, the hockey entrance on Marshall. The rink was shortened to 200 feet by 70. The stands seated 4,000. The revamped arena was also available for boxing and wrestling, and for conventions in the summer.
It opened Oct. 30, 1925, with a figure-skating performance. There was also an exhibition game between two professional women's teams.
Hockey returned for the 1925-26 season, headed up by Pete Muldoon, who had been with the Rosebuds. The league folded at the end of the season, but a year or two later hockey came back to Portland.
Marshall Street Ice Arena was the place to hang out at in the winter and Vaughn Street ballpark in the summer," recalls Northeast Portland native Vince Pesky.
He says that it became known as the Marshall Street Arena because people would ask where the ice arena was, and it was easy to direct people along the alphabetical streets by referring to the street name. Vince and his brother Johnny learned to skate at Marshall Street. Johnny's main sport, of course, was baseball and he played 10 years for the Boston red Sox. According to Vince, "He was a good skater and knew his way around the rink. He even got to work out with the Boston Bruins."
"Bobby Rowe was the manager of the hockey club. Denny Edge managed the rink and was a good skate sharpener. Paul Ail was in charge of concessions, which included beer and hot dogs."
"The rink fit the game. Hockey was better then. Someone got clobbered, and then later the player would clobber him back, and he would get a two-minute penalty. Now if you do that, you get suspended for a game.
'they didn't have the protective gear for their teeth that they have now. A player would skate by and smile and they didn't have all their teeth."
For such a rough sport, the Rosebuds' name was abandoned in favor of the Buckaroos in the late 1920s. Later Portland teams were called the Eagles and the penguins.
Harry, Roy and Eddie Shipstad and Oscar Johnson, who owned the Ice Follies, bought the arena and announced further remodeling plans. Harry Shipstad was to manage the arena. In addition to hockey, public skating and their own ice show, the owner's had big plans for the facility. A new maple floor could be placed over the ice, allowing the smaller basketball court at the west end of the structure to be converted into a bowling alley. Padded seats were to be installed.
Seating was boosted to 5,500, giving Portland a chance for college and high school basketball tournaments that went to the larger facilities in Astoria, Salem, Corvallis and Eugene. Seating for hockey stayed at 4,000, while wrestling and boxing events could seat up to 7,000 patrons. Plans for the bowling alley and a swimming pool never came about.
Fire hazards within the building resulted in an ultimatum to the owners. In 1953, Fire Marshall Dave Gilman gave the owners four months to install a costly sprinkler system. Although smoking was not allowed, the fire marshal said, "You know you can't stop people from smoking in places like these."
The fear was that a lit cigarette would fall through a crack between wooden bleachers and ignite years of debris that had collected below. An $80,000.00 sprinkler system installed under seats would have allowed the arena to stay open. Deemed as too expensive, Harry Shipstad instead closed the facility in May, 1953, and put the building up for sale for $250,000.00.
Unable to find a buyer, the owner's finally donated the old arena in December, 1954, to the University of Portland. It was considered as a home for the Pilots basketball team, but electrical problems and the fire hazard under the seating were too great too overcome. The seats were removed in 1956 as a step to obtain approval for public use from the fire marshal, but funds to complete the refurbishing never materialized. Two years later, the university sold the building to the Prescott Corporation.
Plans for a shopping center and a bowling alley were abandoned. The building stood another five years until the fall of 1963, when it was unceremoniously razed.
The president of the Prescott Corporation said he was "complying with a city order to remove it as a hazard and eyesore in the neighborhood."
In 1974, the Marshall Union Manor retirement center was built on the site of the old arena.
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- Printed courtesy of Don Nelson. Don nelson is a writer and historic researcher residing in Portland, Oregon.
January, 31, 1914 Portland Ice Hippodrome Capitol Stock Certificate
1914 Ice Hippodrome Stock Certificate 1914 Ice Hippodrome Stock Certificate
This Portland Ice Hippodrome Capitol Stock Certificate for twenty-five shares of preferred stock (at a cost of $10.00 per share) was sold to a M.L. Kline and was signed by F.A. Wilson, Secretary and George Keller, President of the Portland Ice Hippodrome Corporation on January, 31, 1914.
The Hippodrome, 1916 - 1951
Inside photo of Portland Hippodrome 1920's photo of Portland Hippodrome
These two postcards/photos are of the old Hippodrome. It was home to the Portland Rosebuds, Portland Buckaroos, Portland Eagles & Portland Penguins until 1963, when it was unceremoniously razed. Both of the photos date back to the early 1920's. The sign on the building (bottom photo) says " Professional Ice Hockey - Fastest game known - Portland vs. Victoria, B.C. - Tues., Feb 9th, 8:15 P.M. The top shot is an inside shot of the Hippodrome with either players or spectators on the ice.
The Memorial Coliseum, Home of the Buckaroos, 1960 - Present
Portland Memorial Coliseum 1 Portland Memorial Coliseum 2
Portland Memorial Coliseum 3 Portland Memorial Coliseum 4
Portland Memorial Coliseum 5 Portland Memorial Coliseum 6
Designed by the architectural firm Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM), the Coliseum opened for business on November 1, 1960. The Coliseum has been called home by several Portland-area sports franchises over the years including the Buckaroos of the old Western Hockey League, the Winter Hawks of the current Western Hockey League, and the Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association. Following the 1994-95 NBA regular and post-seasons, the Trail Blazers have played 1,093 games in 25 years at the Coliseum, including 71 post-season playoff contests, nine games in the NBA Finals, and one World Championship. Upon leaving the Coliseum, the Trail Blazers had sold out 810 consecutive regular season and playoff games, a record unmatched by any franchise in professional sports. Total capacity for NBA Basketball is 12,888. The Blazers moved into their new home, the Rose Garden, in time for the 1995-96 season.
The Memorial Coliseum was designed as a flexible, multi-purpose venue. In addition to the numerous basketball and hockey contests held at the facility, the Coliseum has been host to hundreds of concerts, rodeos, circuses, ice shows, and trade shows. In 1965 the Coliseum hosted the NCAA Final Four collegiate basketball tournament. November 1, 1974 marked the first time in history a U.S. President attended an NBA game as President Gerald Ford watched the Blazers defeat the Buffalo Braves (now the Los Angeles Clippers), 113-106 in the Coliseum. Portland, and the rest of the globe, saw the debut of Dream Team I in 1992 when the Coliseum played host to the Tournament of the Americas (North America's basketball selection tournament for the Olympic Games in Barcelona).
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