Monday, November 30, 2009

Greensboro Coliseum Complex

An aerial view of the coliseum complex.

The Greensboro Coliseum Complex is a vital part of the entertainment aspect of the community. With an annual average attendance of 1.13 million and over 900 events every year, it is a major economic resource for the city. It was built in 1959 as the War Memorial Auditorium, and was renamed the Greensboro Coliseum in the 1960s. There are several different parts of the complex, including the coliseum, the War Memorial Auditorium, and the Special Events Center.

Why is the coliseum in that specific location?
There was a large controversy over where to put the coliseum. McDaniel Lewis thought that one of the proposed sites at Lindsay and Forbis Streets (behind the Richardson Civic Center) was too small and did not have enough room for expansion. He also thought that it would not draw the crowds that they wanted because it was too close to the railroad. Now, the complex is considered a "major civic asset" and is a "splendid memorial to the servicemen".

With events ranging from teen pop superstars, to rap artists, to craft shows, to basketball games, the coliseum complex draws all sorts of people. Each specific center hosts a certain type of event.
The Greensboro Coliseum can seat up to 23,500 people, and can be configured for several different types of events, including concerts and sporting events.

The War Memorial Auditorium can seat 2,400 people and hosts events like symphony concerts and plays. There have been motions to replace the Auditorium, but none have passed. I think this is because of the historical ties that the space has, and it is a strong memorial for those fallen in the wars.

The Special Events Center has 167,000 square feet of space and often is host to graduations from surrounding schools and exhibitions.

What cultural and international ties does the complex have?
The coliseum complex offers events for everyone. They also bring events and performing artists that have traveled worldwide and are popular around the world. Some examples are the Barnum and Bailey Circus and various sporting events, like basketball and hockey.

This is a list of the top 20 all-time concert attendance records.
1.Phish 3/1/03 23,642
2. Backstreet Boys 2/2/00 22,450
3. Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band 2/17/01 22,221
4. Bon Jovi with special guest Daughtry 3/16/08 22,115
5. Billy Joel & Elton John 4/28/01 21,935
6. The Dixie Chicks 5/17/03 21,473
7. Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band 4/20/02 20,455
8. George Strait 1/20/07 19,896
9. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band 11/16/02 19,271
10. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band 5/2/09 18,431
11. Superjam 6/19/09 18,279
12. Miley Cyrus 11/22/09 17,835
13. Superjam 6/27/08 17,787
14. Elton John 11/8/74 17,611
15. Shania Twain 11/20/99 17,533
16. The Dead 4/12/09 17,519
17. The Who 11/28/75 17,504
18. Led Zeppelin 1/29/75 17,500
The Rolling Stones 7/31/75 17,500
Elton John 7/13/76 17,500
The Eagles 6/27/77 17,500,0,3394253.story

What impact will the new swim center have? History of initiatives passed to create the center?
I think that the new swim center will have a dramatic impact on the demographics of the audience at the coliseum complex. It will bring in a whole new group of visitors to see this different sporting event. I did not find any projections about how many people the swim center will hold, so I am unsure of the final increased capacity of the complex. Henri Fourrier, CEO of the Greensboro Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said that "the aquatics center could have an annual economic impact of $14.5 million." It will be used to attract both major and local swim events. According to Butch Simmons, the city engineering and inspections director, engineers and staff members have made some cosmetic changes, like downgrading to less expensive building finishes inside and out and changing the type of heating and air conditioning planned for the building. “The only thing we used as a guiding post was we didn’t want to impact the integrity of the design of the pool system so it could be used as a venue to host national meets,” coliseum director Matt Brown said. According to the News and Record, the swim center still costs roughly $6 million more than the city has to spend. There are many ideas about how to pay for it, including using hotel room taxes to help.

Pages and fact sheets from Entertainment Outlook, October 1984.

According to Grady Clay's vocabulary, the Greensboro Coliseum Complex is a vibrant center for the city. It brings everyone together to enjoy a performance, a graduation, a sporting event. It is along one of the major beats in the city: High Point Road/Lee Street. It draws people from all over to participate in an event together, and is a major economic resource for the city. I think that I was able to look at the complex from a different perspective than I would have before this class. I examined more in-depth and learned a lot more than I originally would have.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


My attitude and ability towards looking close at the American city has drastically changed from before. I now look closer at the architectural details of a building, and while I may not be able to tell you what time period it is from, I can think about what it looks similar to that we have seen over the semester. I can use Clay's vocabulary to better understand an area. I also feel as though I am able to better assess the values of a building or area. For example, the library that we visited values knowledge and personal growth, while the mall values an indoor space where people can gather and shop. I am better oriented in Greensboro. My family came up recently and I was able to navigate to where we wanted to go based on where we had been in class. I know more about the history of UNCG and Greensboro. Without having taken this class, I doubt that I would know that the clock tower is a stack of both time and memories, or that the Blandwood Mansion or Guilford Courthouse National Military Park even existed. I have learned to not take everything at face value, but rather to look deeper and see what is really there.

For my final project, I am thinking about looking at the Greensboro Coliseum. I will look at the history of it, what it represents through Clay's vocabulary, and how it fits with the city and the surrounding area.

Open Space

After lunch, we traveled to Battleground Park, where a Revolutionary War battle was fought on March 15, 1781. Major General Nathanael Greene was defeated by the British army led by Lord Charles Cornwallis, but was successful in keeping his army strong. Now, the battleground has been preserved as the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park. The monuments placed around do fit with the open space because they are statues of some of the famous people in the battle. They also help provide some history about the battle. I think that the Greensboro organizers decided not to have the town be at the battle site because the place has historic presence. They don't want to build over it and lose the memories. It also shows that the town values open space and parks, allowing recreation and reflection for all who come. It is easy to have fun and learn the history at the same time.


The mills.

We visited the mill village outside of White Oak Mill. This area was owned by the Cone family, who decided to open textile mills. The houses are all of the same basic structure, but most of the residents have added on things. They all have a center chimney and the same layout inside. In this area, the streets are numbered and grid-like. There are no sidewalks, which seems to say that they are more work-oriented, and an outside space to socialize was not needed. They value practicality and hard work.

This area is like a miniature town set inside of Greensboro. Back when the mill was in use, there were other buildings like churches and possibly some businesses. There are also not many old trees, signifying that it was not valued when the houses were built. This area has a more open feel, and the houses are further apart than those in College Hill and COllege Park. Near the houses are the Masonic and Baptist Churches, and the Presbyterian church with the attached graveyard. The Cone family has an area sectioned off in this graveyard for their family members.

Another residential area that we visited was the Loewenstein Residence, where we had lunch. The current residents, the Levy's, are related to the Cone family, and the house was designed for Jane's father. There is a lot of open space, and it has a blend of inside and outside throughout the house. There are lots of windows, and it seems to maximize the natural light coming in. There is a long hallway between the public and private areas of the house. It was a very interesting residence, and I felt as though I could've lived there without anyone ever knowing that I was there. :) There were also some unique outdoor art pieces, like the pearl necklace and the airplane.


As we were on the interstate from High Point Road to Wendover, I noticed a few things. First, there was a lot of retail visible from the interstate. Second, I saw a few industrial buildings and lots of open space. I'm not exactly sure what a specific building that I saw was, but there was a massive parking lot beside it that was almost full.

After exiting onto Wendover Avenue from I-40, I saw lots of car dealerships at the beginning. After the numerous car dealerships, there were more retail and industrial-type buildings. Then it turned to more residential, with a school, businesses, and houses as we were headed towards the mills. The area didn't seem as nice or upscale as other parts that we had seen. Some of the businesses that I saw were Office Depot, Costco, The Shoppes at Wendover Village (Petco, A.C. Moore, etc.), Gamestop, Wells Fargo Financial, Rooms To Go Kids, Verizon, and FedEx Kinkos.

While driving along Battleground Avenue, I saw even more retail. Some of the stores were Target, Petsmart, Harris Teeter, and Party City. As we shifted onto Old Battleground, the buildings looked a little older and somewhat more run-down. The spaces in between didn't look like they were kept up as well.


This is the first of five blogs from our field trip last Saturday. We went to both parts of the Friendly Center and Four Seasons Mall.

The mid-century Friendly Center has mostly retail stores, with several specialty stores and restaurants. We started our day off at Caribou Coffee and were asked to walk around the area and observe the different types of stores and who they seemed to serve demographically. I think that this area of the Friendly Center serves from college-aged to middle-aged upper working class people. Most of the stores are fairly inexpensive (compared to the ones in the other part of Friendly Center), and there seems to be something for everyone. There is an abundance of parking in the area, with both parking spots in front of the stores and lots out in the empty space. There are pedestrian crosswalks connecting these lots at several points, and they seem very pro-pedestrian. I think the values and goals of this area are to attract more people and be more family-friendly. It is close to many neighborhoods, but not very close to the interstate.

Next, we went to Four Seasons Mall. This is a 3 story mall with tons of stores. While walking around, I observed several different types of stores, kiosks, and eating areas. There is the food court, which offers a cheap option while shopping, or the restaurants, like Ruby Tuesdays. The mall in general seems to be a little less or right at the same level of price as the first part of the Friendly Center. It caters to more groups of people with the variety of stores. It values accessibilty with it's location and the fact that it is enclosed. It has more space to come and hang out than the Friendly Center. The mall isn't close to many neighborhoods, but is very close to the interstate. It is also close to the shopping strips along Lee St.

In the afternoon, we went back to the Friendly Center, but this time visited the lifestyle area. This area includes stores such as Apple, Anthropologie, Coldwater Creek, and White House Black Market. Overall, there are more upper-class and high-scale stores. This area is definitely for those who have a little bit more money to spend. There is more noticable security to protect these businesses. They also seem to value decoration and uniqueness, possibly to attract more customers. There was also an interesting open space where a performance was going on while we were there. This shows the interests in drawing in people and being unique from the other section of the Friendly Center.

Monday, November 2, 2009

On the Other Side of the Tracks

For class on Thursday, we were supposed to fill out a form that listed the street numbers and businesses and then compare it to the lists that we had from 1925, 1975, and 2000. One thing that I noticed a lot of was "not listed" buildings. When going through the directories for the previous years, there were several buildings that weren't listed. It didn't say that they were vacant, but didn't have anyting for them at all. I think that at least for some of them, the buildings were knocked down to make way for the streets, but there were some that wouldn't be listed in 1975 but were listed in 2000 and 2009.

Where a building used to be now runs a road.

Another pattern that I noticed was buildings having the same business located in them for a long period of time. Some examples are The Economy Store/Lion's Crown Antiques, Southern Railway Company, Kindley's Used Office Furniture, and Coe Grocery and Seed Company. I think that these businesses have survived for so long because they appealed to the needs of the community throughout time. The railroad company has stayed because the railroad is still used and somewhat popular in Greensboro. Other stores like Coe Grocery and Kindley's Used Office Furniture may have carried popular or necessary products which allowed them to survive.

Another pattern that I saw was the presence of several antique stores. There is Lion's Crown Antiques, Hampton Antiques, The Browsery Antiques, Jules Antiques and Art, Ryan's Antiques, and Mary's Antiques, to name a few. This suggests that it is a popular business in Greensboro and that there is a need for several stores.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tracing the Tracks

The train is very important to the city of Greensboro. It was brought here by Morehead, who thought that the train would bring people to Greensboro and I guess in turn bring about more businesses. At it's peak of service, there were 90-120 trains coming through Greensboro every day. There are also spur lines that serve the industrial areas of the city. Now, there aren't as many trains that come through Greensboro, but it is still a very cost-effective method of travel. My friends and I rode a train from Charlotte to Durham last year and it was $46 total (combining trip there and back). You just can't travel that cheap when driving anymore.

The interstates also make Greensboro a gateway to the Triad. Looking at the map at the link below from Google Maps, you can see all of the highways and interstates that come through Guilford County, like 40, 85, and 73. For me personally, I take 85 all the way from my hometown straight to Greensboro. It is a very easy trip to make and makes it quick and simple to get to and from school. The interstates have really helped Greensboro develop because there are so many different ways to get here. The interstates also create a need for businesses because of the volume of people that come through here.

An international airport also brings a lot of people to the Triad. I looked at a few different sources and found differing numbers of the direct flights, but from the site , there are 59 direct flights from the Piedmont International Airport, including Charlotte, Houston, and Miami. Another site, , gave a larger number of direct flights from PTI. I also found conflicting information about the international flights coming to/going from PTI. Some of the places that I know for sure of are Canada and Germany.

The gateway for immigrants:
I went to a Human Rights Week event today and they said that the reason why Greensboro is a good spot for immigration entry is because of the interstate systems, so I guess that it makes sense for immigrants coming to the Triad as well. There is a lot of evidence showing non-Western European culture in the community.
-Greensboro Buddhist Center 2715 Liberty Rd.
-Saffron Indian Cuisine 1500 Mill St.
-Jack's Corner Mediterranean Deli
-The Greensboro Cultural Center has a lot of information about many different cultures that are represented in Greensboro.
-African American Atelier

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Downtown Institutions

Why is it significant that an open space (the park) is reserved in the city where it is? It is near the cultural attractions, where large groups of people would come to visit and maybe need a spot to congregate. It adds to the value of the "artsy" area, and is surrounded by big buildings. From : The park represents the "city as an open and welcoming place of diverse people", and is a "relaxed and lively" space.

The park.

How does the "avenue" of the Cultural Center speak to greater issues in the community about access to the arts? The "avenue" makes the arts literally accessible to everyone with the 2 entrances. It seems to be almost an informal, but inviting space, somewhat like walking down a road. It shows how the city is eager to extend the arts to everyone.

The Cultural Center.

What is the meaning of the dome in the Central Library? The dome represents a center inside of the library, a "center of learning". It also helps bring in the natural light which keeps the library from seeming like a dreary place.

The dome in the Central Library.

What are the implications of re-using the Presbyterian Church fo the city's history museum, remembering that it was both civic auditorium and library in between? The building would obviously need a lot of restoration in order to make it functional as a museum. It changes the value of the building and land around it from religious to more historical and cultural.

The Greensboro Historical Museum.

How does the old library compare to the current one in form, materials, orientation? The new library seems more modern and the building itself is more stream-lined. The old library, which is now Elon Law School, was right in the middle of downtown, which makes it not as easily accessible for those who are driving. The new library, if I'm remembering correctly, has parking beside the building and is further away from the center of downtown.

Old library, now Elon Law School.

How do each of the buildings we visited today meet the street? Are there public spaces along the fronts or the interiors of these buildings? The library has a lot of open space along the front and sides of it, with a lot of space right inside. The cultural center has space inside, with it's "avenue" layout. The museum has a lot of space out front for people to gather. I'm not exactly sure what is being asked by public space inside, because all of these buildings are big with lobbies inside, but would they want people to congregate there? I personally wouldn't think so. It would cause congestion and make it hard to get in/out of the doors.

Walking in front of the new library.

A car parked in front of the Elon Law School. :)