Friday, January 21, 2011

Historical Moments Chicago Stadium In It's Glory Included Hovland's Female Basketball Team 1949

  • "The Madhouse on Madison"

    Last basketball game at the old Chicago Stadium. Michael Jordan came out of his first retirement to play this charity game. At the end of the game, Jordan knelt down to kiss the Chicago Bulls logo at half court.

    In addition to the close-quartered, triple-tiered, boxy layout of the building, much of the loud, ringing noise of the fans could be attributed to the fabled 3,663-pipe Barton organ that was played during hockey games there, earning it the moniker of "The Madhouse on Madison (Street)". In the Stanley Cup semi-finals in 1971, when the Blackhawks scored a series-clinching empty-net goal in Game 7 against the New York Rangers, CBS announcer Dan Kelly reported, "I can feel our broadcast booth shaking! That's the kind of place Chicago Stadium is right now!" The dressing rooms at the Stadium were placed underneath the seats, and the cramped corridor that led to the ice, with its twenty-two steps, became the stuff of legend.
    It also became traditional for Blackhawk fans to cheer loudly throughout the singing of the national anthems, especially when sung by Chicago favorite Wayne Messmer. Denizens of the second balcony often added sparklers and flags to the occasion. Arguably, the most memorable of these was the singing before the 1991 NHL All-Star Game, which took place during the Gulf War. This tradition has continued at the United Center.
    In 1992, both the Blackhawks and the Bulls reached the finals in their respective leagues. The Blackhawks were swept in their finals by the Pittsburgh Penguins, losing at Chicago Stadium, while the Bulls won the second of their first of three straight NBA titles on their home floor against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Bulls did not clinch another championship at home until 1996 (when they did so against the Seattle Supersonics), their second season at the new United Center, and the Blackhawks would not reach the Stanley Cup Finals again until 2010 (in which they defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in six games), their 16th season in the new building.
    It was also the last NHL arena to retain the use of an analog dial-type large four-sided clock for timekeeping in professional hockey games. Boston Garden and the Detroit Olympia (as well as the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium in its pre-NHL days) had identical scoreboards but replaced them with digital timers in the mid-1960s. Built by Bulova and installed in Chicago in 1943, each side of the clock had a large face that kept the game time and a smaller face on the left and right for penalty times. It was difficult to read how much time was left in a period of play on the large face. Each minute of play was marked by a longer line on each third second increment on the dial. The difficulty was compounded because both a black minute hand and a red second hand were also turning around during play.
    That clock eventually was replaced by a four-sided scoreboard with a digital clock in 1976 by the Day Sign Company of Toronto, much like the one used at the end of the 1960s to replace the nearly-identical dial-type clock in the Boston Garden, and then in 1984 by another, this one with a color electronic message board. That latter scoreboard was built by White Way Sign, which would build scoreboards for the United Center.
    The Stadium was also one of the last three NHL arenas (the others being Boston Garden and the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium) to have a shorter-than-regulation ice surface, as their construction predated the regulation. The distance was taken out of the neutral zone.

    After the Blackhawks and Bulls moved to the United Center, the Chicago Stadium was demolished in 1995. Its site is now a parking lot for the United Center across the street. CNN went so far as to televise the demolition, showing devoted Blackhawks and Bulls fans crying as the wrecking ball hit the old building. The console of the Barton organ now resides in the Phil Maloof residence in Las Vegas, Nevada. Also, the center of the Chicago Bulls' floor resides in Michael Jordan's trophy room in his house.

    A plaque with the words "Chicago Stadium 1929–1994, remember the roar" is located behind a statue of the Blackhawks greatest players on the north side of the United Center.
    Two friezes from Chicago Stadium were incorporated into a building at St. Ignatius College Preparatory School, 1060 W. Roosevelt Road.

    Notable events

    1932 - Due to a snow storm the Chicago Bears played the 1932 championship game inside the Chicago Stadium against the Portsmouth Spartans (later the Detroit Lions). The Bears won 9–0 on an 80 yard dirt field.
    1932, 1940, and 1944 - Democratic National Conventions, in which Franklin D. Roosevelt was nominated the first, third and fourth times.
    1932 and 1944 Republican National Conventions
    1933 - the site hosted the funeral of Chicago mayor Anton J. Cermak.
    1949- The stadium held the first exhibition game for the Texas Cowgirls Women's professional barnstorm basketball team. The team played against men winning 80% of their games, coast to coast and overseas until 1977. The owner Dempsey Hovland of Chicago partnered with boxing manager Jack "Doc' Kearns . Hovland owned the team he passed away in 1979. The Texas Cowgirls played the pre games for the NBA in the fifties and sixties. They returned to play men's teams and men's rules on the Chicago Stadium hardwood for decades.
    1961, 1974 and 1991 - NHL All-Star Game
    1961 - Scenes from the 1962 version of the film The Manchurian Candidate depicting the Republican nomination convention, were filmed in the stadium. The scenes are set in New York's Madison Square Garden.
    1972 - On June 16-17, 1972, Elvis Presley played 2 sold out shows at the stadium during his 15 city tour.
    1975 - In January 1975, Led Zeppelin played three shows here during their 10th North American Tour.
    1977 - In the spring of 1977, Led Zeppelin played four shows here during their North American tour. Two more were scheduled for later in the tour but were cancelled due to the death of Robert Plant's son.
    1973, 1988 site of the NBA All-Star Game
    1992 - Great Midwest Conference Men's basketball tournament.
    1992 - Chicago Bulls win the second of their first of three straight NBA titles in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. This would be the only time the Bulls clinched the championship while playing on the Stadium's floor, though they did it twice at the new United Center (in 1996 and again in 1997).
    1994 - The final concert at Chicago Stadium was held on March 10, 1994. The concert featured Pearl Jam, Urge Overkill, and The Frogs.
    1994 - The final hockey game at Chicago Stadium was played on April 28. The Blackhawks lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs 1–0. eliminating them from the 1994 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The only goal in the game, and last goal ever scored, came from Mike Gartner in the first period.
    1994 - The final event at Chicago Stadium was Scottie Pippen's Ameritech Classic charity basketball game, which was organized through Rev. Jesse Jackson's Push-Excel program and was held on September 9, 1994. Michael Jordan, despite being in retirement at the time, participated and scored 52 points, leading the White Team to a 187–150 victory over Pippen's Red team. At the end of the game, Jordan kneeled and kissed the Bulls logo at center court.

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