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What a festive night as throngs gathered at Campus Martius in Downtown Detroit for the the lighting of the city Christmas tree and the official opening of the skating rink.

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  1. #1

    Default Cobo Hall history

    Just unearthed the following little tidbit regarding Cobo Hall for all of you Detroit history fans.

    The first event held at Cobo Hall was the 43rd Auto Industry Dinner, held on October 17, 1960. President Eisenhower was the keynote speaker, and the ceremony aired live on WXYZ-TV.

  2. #2
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    Here are a couple of photos of Cobo Hall taken in Sept. 1960, shortly before it opened (previously seen in the "Vintage Kodachrome - Detroit Landmarks" HoF thread).

    View from the west (full size):


    Original ramp to the roof parking deck (full size):


    May 1961 aerial view (courtesy of DTE/Culma):

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Golick View Post
    Just unearthed the following little tidbit regarding Cobo Hall for all of you Detroit history fans.

    The first event held at Cobo Hall was the 43rd Auto Industry Dinner, held on October 17, 1960. President Eisenhower was the keynote speaker, and the ceremony aired live on WXYZ-TV.
    1960? I thought Monica Conyers built Cobo. She must be older than she looks.

  4. #4
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    I think its called MoCo hall now.

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    I like calling her MonCon or MoCon instead, emphasis on the Con. Fits what she really is.

  6. #6
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    Aerial photo from 1958

    Name:  Cobo58.jpg
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Size:  43.5 KB
    wsu/vmc

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    Good info - great photos! I thought it was from the 70's!

  9. #9
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    I've often wondered how much money has neen spent over the years on expansions, etc...
    It seems to me they tear it up again two or three years after a previous refurb.
    I'll wager the total is billions!

  10. #10
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    ... nope... only 1 rehab (and expansion) was undertaken (under CAY). And when CAY wanted another $25 million to finish the job (the side facing the river), the funding was rejected, so the stretch along the river (and Cobo Arena) are still in their 1960 original state.

  11. #11
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    I remember going to some of the big time wrestling matches at the Cobo arena. As I recall, they alternated between the Olympia and Cobo back in the 60's.
    Great fun!

  12. #12
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    I have very warm memories of the original Cobo. A couple members of my family worked there. Every year we attended the auto show, autorama, often the home & flower show, went several meetings/banquets there, and, of course, caught several concerts, boxing, track (the NCAA indoor championships every year), and a few seasons worth of Pistons games.

    Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, baby...

  13. #13
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    Sorry, Gistok, but I'm about to weigh-in here on the side of Cobo having been built as a good example of midmod architecture.

    Since it was originally conceived as a campus of sorts with the Veteran's Memorial building and the earlier Ford Auditorium as part of the mix, and a redeveloped waterfront area.

    Older photos show the cohesiveness of the idea, though never fully realized.

    What was great about the original facade of the hall before the cheezy granite boxes were added 20 years ago was the fact that intrinsic in the design were public sculptures such as the indian/canoe fountain sculpture by Marshall Fredericks which was original outside and working as a fountain, the carved marble pylons between the hall and the VMB, the seven white marble buttresses above the entrance, which supported a cantilevered glass box room, which provided a cover for the lower driveway.

    Again, light, airy, uniform in design with the rountunda.

    Today it's a lousy bastardization of it's former self, and should have been left alone.

    If you need to expand such a structure, expand up, or out the back. Don't screw with the unbroken line of the facade.

  14. #14
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    I'm no big fan of the "TETRIS" facade either (they're missing one cube in the NE corner). Interestingly enough the Washington Blvd. side of the building was much different than some of the other sides (such as the surviving riverfront side). It had white marble (versus red brick), and as you said, it matched the other buildings in the Civic Center.

    But they did expand the building another block northward, so some changes were inevitable. I do believe that westward expansions have some serious infrastructure problems with existing roadways and tunnels (car and railroad).

    Future expansions talk about eliminating JLA (which has all the charm of a pole barn), but saving Cobo Arena, which I really like.

    Although I don't care for the exterior expansion of Cobo Center, I do like the interior, and the openness (floor-to-ceiling windows) that it has with downtown.

    Some parts of the interior of old Cobo I really didn't care for. The surviving hallway from the old Cobo (parallel to the main ballroom) with the white tile walls (with the Sports Hall of Fame plaques), has all the charm of a public restroom.

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