NOW LIVE: Eyewitness News

Spectrum Down To Its Final Hours

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Spectrum is down to its final hours.

At noon on Tuesday, demolition will begin on the iconic South Philadelphia arena, ending an era in Philadelphia sports history.

The Spectrum saw the Flyers become the first expansion team to win a Stanley Cup in 1974. It saw the Sixers win a championship in 1983. Since it opened in 1967, it’s also hosted thousands of concerts and other events, like the circus, monster truck rallies and wrestling.

But now, the lights have been shut off at America’s showplace.

Eyewitness News got an exclusive look inside the building on Monday, and it is nothing more than a shell. All the seats are gone. Trash litters the once crowded-concourse. It is a building that is about to meet its end.

“There’s nothing in there. It certainly doesn’t look the way it used to look,” said Alvin Davis.

That actually will make Davis’ job easier. He’s the man who will go behind the controls of an enormous crane and swing a four-ton wrecking ball into the side of the Spectrum on Tuesday.

Davis might be a crane operator by profession, but at heart, he says he’s still a kid from Southwest Philly.

“I’ll be thinking about when the Flyers won the championship, when the Sixers won the championship … bringing the kids to the circus,” he said. “Those great memories will always stay in my heart.”

The demolition process will take about six months, say officials with Geppert Bros., the demolition contractor. Unlike the implosion of Veterans Stadium, there will be no big blast. The Spectrum will be torn down one chunk of concrete at a time.

“We ran the numbers on both, and actually it was more money to implode the Spectrum than conventional demolition,” said Pat Marconi, the project manager with Geppert Bros. “This building didn’t really warrant implosion. It’s only a one-story structure, 60 feet high or so.”

The Spectrum is being torn down to make way for Philly Live!, a planned retail and restaurant complex.

Reported By: Ben Simmoneau, CBS 3


One Comment

  1. Cynthia McQueen says:

    I will never forget the Spectrum because in June 1972 my graduation from Simon Gratz High School with over 850 graduates was held there. I also gave the class speech that evening. I will never forget the huge stage right smack in the middle of the arena, being in the spotlight, and all the seemingly thousands of people in the audience. Oh, What A Night To Remember!

  2. Ro Padiyar says:

    Good Bye, Spectrum. Thanks for the fun memories. Once you go down, so will my childhood memories! I will miss you more than you’ll ever know. I went to see a Disney On Ice show, a Ringling Bro. Barnum & Bailey Circus act, a Phil Collins concert, and 4 Comcast Spectacor tennis matches.
    Much love,

    Rohan from Reading.

  3. Sandy Wright says:

    I graduated Northeast High School in 1968 – we were the 1st graduating class at the Spectrum – it poured that night and the roof leaked so badly that you could only sit on 1 side of the Spectrum.
    Sandy in Langhorne

  4. Daniel Hutt says:

    Is it true, Neil Diamond was the first concert in the Spectrum. Even befor it officially opened?

  5. Jim says:

    Good bye Spectrum I will miss you :( Thank you for the great times from the circus to the sports and the concerts. You help shape my life. Man that was the greatest experince on the floor in the 70’s. Met a lot of great people back then. Philly is great place to party. It will never be replaced. Today is truly a sad day.
    Jimbo in Langhorne

Comments are closed.

More From CBS Philly

Getaway Guide To Iconic Carousels
Getaway Summer Slopes

Watch & Listen LIVE