Blaisdell Arena: Rise of a Local Icon

3 123 - 1While perusing old photos of Blaisdell Arena, the history geeks here were intrigued by shots of it under construction. How was this massive mushroom/flying saucer shaped building put together? So a collage of construction photos were assembled spanning 1 ½ years - from giant pick up sticks to finished product.

It is amazing how much time, energy, and materials went into this building. This exercise helped us better appreciate this fine example of Modern architecture.

1962 HIC constructionSoon after groundbreaking; the caption on this June 28, 1962 Star Bulletin photo by Jack Titchen reads: "Work has begun on Honolulu's $4.6 million dollar War Memorial Municipal Auditorium on the site of Old Plantation..."

The end price, of course, was a lot higher.

One person described this as looking like giant pickup sticks. 2 1962-12-24 pic by Warren R Roll SA archives

Or a giant erector set....3 1963-03-13 Blaisdell Arena dome construction

Nice aerial shot of the whole complex in March 1963.  You’ll have to excuse the quality of some of these photos, which are merely shots of newspaper articles.4 1963-03-14 War Memorial Auditorium complex

More newspaper photos of various phases of construction.5 1963-05-02

6 1963-06-05

Some of these photos come from the Municipal Reference Center's collection. These are from a photo album documenting construction of the complex from 1963-1964.7 1963-08-05 Blaisdell Arena construction exterior - Copy - Copy

8 1963-08-05 Arena interior MRC

This article from the Mayor's Report in 1963 has a nice explanation of  roof construction. The flat roofed building is the exhibition hall.9 Arena and Exhibition Hall from air- Mayors Report

This November 1963 photo shows the auditorium as 80% complete. 10 1963-10-19 auditorium about 80 percent complete pic by John Titchen SA archives

More photos from the MRC. 11 1963-10-07 Arena exterior MRC

December 1963, almost done!  Fishponds are yet to be filled with water. 12 1963-12-04 Arena Exterior MRC

January 1964.  Keys were handed over to the City the next month, and the first event held at the arena was the Cherry Blossom Festival on March 7, 1964. 13 1964-01-08 whole Arena exterior MRC - Copy

Leave a Reply