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Concert Venues :: Olympia Stadium

Stats


Now Known As
Date Opened 1927
Demolished
Venue Capacity 15,000
Venue URL
Venue Address 5920 Grand River Avenue
Detroit, MI 48208



Venue Information


Olympia Stadium, better known as the Detroit Olympia and nicknamed "The Old Red Barn", stood at 5920 Grand River Avenue in Detroit, Michigan from 1927 until 1986. It seated close to 15,000.

Olympia opened with a rodeo in September 1927, and shortly thereafter the main tenants of the building, the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL (at the time, known as the Cougars), moved in.

In the mid-1970s, the Red Wings were offered a new arena by the City of Pontiac, following the move of the Detroit Lions to the Silverdome in 1975. Red Wings owner Bruce Norris nearly moved the team to the Oakland County suburb, but the City of Detroit responded with a counterproposal of a riverfront arena at one-third of the rent that Pontiac was offering, and the package also included operational control of Cobo Arena and the adjoining parking structures. The Red Wings accepted the offer to move to the new Joe Louis Arena, which was completed 19 days ahead of schedule.

Lincoln Cavalieri, general manager of Olympia Stadium, once described the construction of Olympia Stadium as tremendous, saying "... if an atom bomb landed, Id want to be in Olympia." Although not likely to have actually survived a nuclear attack, the Olympia was considered to be a well-constructed building, and Cavalieri, along with many in the Red Wings organization, were sad to leave it behind.

On December 15, 1979, just three days after the first event held at Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings played their final home game at the Olympia, a 4-4 tie against the Quebec Nordiques. The Olympia was included in part of the celebration of the 32nd NHL All-Star Game, which took place at The Joe on February 5, 1980. Because a provision in the Wings lease with the City of Detroit prevented them from operating Olympia Stadium in competition with Joe Louis or Cobo Arenas for events, or selling the building for use as a competitive venue, the building was shuttered for good, and demolished in September 1986.

Overhead exit signs erected in the early 1970s along the Jeffries Freeway mentioning Olympia Stadium were taken down around 1980; the signs would be stored in the lower levels of Joe Louis Arena. Currently, the U.S. National Guards Olympia Armory stands on the site. An historical marker was posted inside the armory commemorating the Olympia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detroit_Olympia



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