Cole Field House and the Washington Coliseum: two landmarks that seemingly have nothing in common. However, they each hold important moments of history and have both been torn down to become monetary ventures.       

Feb.11, 1964, marks the day The Beatles made their debut concert in America. The concert took place at Washington Coliseum, a venue in northeast Washington, D.C. that has had its fair share of transformations.

The concert happened two nights after the band’s appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. At the time, the song “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” was a chart topper. 8,092 fans were squeezed into the arena that night to watch a band many adored. In an article titled, “The Beatles’ First U.S. Concert: An Oral History of the Day the Fab Four Conquered D.C.,” Beatles Historian Bruce Spizer described the concert.

It was one of the most exciting live performances the Beatles ever gave,” said Spizer. “And it gave them great confidence that they indeed could conquer America.”

Today, if you try to visit the Washington Coliseum, also known as the Uline Arena, you will find yourself facing a 51,000-square-foot REI store, the largest REI store on the East Coast. The store opened Oct. 21.

Cole Field House, a building loved by many Terps, both past and present, was the site of a very important game in basketball history. The NCAA Final Four game of 1966 between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Texas Western Miners. This game had colossal meaning during the Civil Rights Movement. So much so that the film Glory Road spotlighted the story.

The Texas Western Miners started five black players, the first major-college team to ever do so during a NCAA championship game. The Miners went on to win 72-65. Hall of Fame coach and player for Kentucky during the famed game, Pat Riley, dubbed the game the “Emancipation Proclamation of 1966.”  

Cole Field House is now under construction. The plan is for the building to be transformed into a $155 million facility. The facility will include indoor and outdoor practice fields, a center for sports medicine and an academy of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Each of these sites hosted monumental moments in the mid 1960s and each are no longer serving the purpose they had before. The Beatles had their first concert at the Washington Coliseum and the 1960s are now seen as time of “Beatlemania,” a mega phenomenon in music history.

The NCAA Championship game of 1964 was a step of progress in racial relations for a game that dominates in America today. Both events were catalysts of cultural shifts in the United States during the 1960s. Despite the transformations of the venues, it is imperative these moments of history do not become buried in the rubble. It is vital their stories continue to be told.

Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Ilana Bernstein is a junior journalism and theatre double major and can be reached at ilanab@terpmail.umd.edu.

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