The Coliseum

THEN AND NOW

In its over 100 year history, the Coliseum has hosted entertainers, politicians, weddings, after school programming, teacher's conferences and everything in between!

 

Construction on the Coliseum began in 1917 and was completed for under $100,000. The initial design for the building included space for expositions, performances, and City Hall. After this design led to over budget bids, the initial building was stalled. In June, 1917 plans excluding City Hall were approved for a new location on 5th and Main. This design was by Joseph Schwartz and was a Renaissance Revival design.

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1916 Proposed Design for the Sioux Falls Coliseum.

Construction was completed by the Sioux Falls Construction Company in time for the South Dakota Education Association conference on November 26th of 1917. The event brought teachers from all corners of the state to the newly completed building.

 

After the successful teacher's conference, the formal dedication of the building occurred on New Year's Day of 1918. The formal dedication was also the final event of the winter. Due to coal shortages during World War I, the building was closed until the spring.

 

A major event for the Coliseum was President Woodrow Wilson's stop on his tour of the nation in September of 1919 gathering support for the League of Nations. Eight thousand residents went to the Coliseum to watch the president speak.

 

The Coliseum helped drive the economic, cultural, and political development of Sioux Falls. It became a popular location for entertainers throughout the 1920s to perform, but by the early 1930s, it became clear that the space needed to be expanded to meet the needs of the community.

 

After multiple failed public votes for expanded funding, the City Commission provided $60,000 to remodel the stage and provide updated equipment necessary for touring productions. In addition, the annex was added in the 1930s, providing expanded space for expositions. The Armory was added in 1937 to provide space for the National Guard. 

 

Again the crunch was felt in the 1950s for the Coliseum to expand to keep up with other cities in the region. Sioux Falls wanted to remain a cultural center for the region by bringing exciting acts and most important events. 

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Aftermath of the 1973 fire.

Early in 1950 there was a fire under the auditorium stage. This happened after a Huron basketball game and the fire was put out quickly. The fire curtain kept the fire and damage contained. Even so, the space was not usable due to safety concerns until funding was available to modernize and do some fireproofing in the building. 

Twenty years after the first fire in the Coliseum, there was another fire in 1973. More of the building was destroyed in this second fire with the Armory and Annex both suffering major damage. This necessitated more updates and expansion of the building. 

In 1994, 250 square feet of the ceiling fell into the seating in the auditorium. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but it became evident it was time for updates to the building for safety. 

 

In December of 1994, the county bought the Coliseum from the city for $1. 

In 2004, renovations were completed to the interior of the building. The Health and Human Services portion of the building was added in 2007 and 2009 saw the exterior renewal project. This project brought the exterior back to its 1917 appearance. This renewal was finished in June of 2010 with a ribbon cutting. 

 

Today, the Coliseum is one of the largest event venues in Sioux Falls, and citizens rent the space for weddings, business events, and more. Additionally, the income from Coliseum rentals now directly benefits the 21 programs and services offered by the Multi-Cultural Center of Sioux Falls. So, when you book the Coliseum for your event, you are directly supporting a local Sioux Falls non-profit!

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Contact us to book this beautiful, historic Sioux Falls venue for your next event.

The Coliseum today!

© 2019 The Coliseum of Sioux Falls

     

515 N Main Ave Sioux Falls SD 57104

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