Philadelphia Arena

Arena drawing (courtesy

The Philadelphia Arena was an arena used mainly for sporting events located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The building, originally named the Philadelphia Ice Palace and Auditorium, was located at 4530 Market Street, next to what would become the WFIL TV Studio. It was built by George F. Pawling, of George F. Pawling & Co., Engineers and Contractors, and opened on Saturday, February 14, 1920. The first event was two nights later, Monday, February 16, 1920, a college hockey game between the Yale Bulldogs and Princeton Tigers; the Bulldogs won, 4–0, before a crowd of over 4,000 despite the fact that the arena had only one small entrance at the time.

The Tyrrell EraEdit

Jules Mastbaum, owner of a movie theater chain (The Stanley Company of America), acquired the building in 1925 and re-named it the Arena. In 1927 the Arena was purchased by Rudy Freed and Maurice Fishman who operated the facility until 1934, when the their partnership was placed in receivership. In 1929, Peter A. Tyrrell (1896–1973) joined the Arena as boxing matchmaker and subsequently became the facility’s publicist. In 1934 Tyrrell was named a friendly receiver-in-equity by George Welsh, a federal judge. Tyrrell became general manager of the Arena and served in that capacity until 1958, returning the corporation to profitability and enriching the variety of public entertainment.

Historic EventsEdit

The arena was the site of several historic sporting events, including the professional debut of Sonja Henie, fresh from her triumph in the 1936 Winter Olympics. Professionally, the arena was the home of the Philadelphia Quakers of the NHL in their only season, 1930-1931, as well as the main home of seveal minor league hockey teams such as the Philadelphia Arrows, the Philadelphia Rockets and the Philadelphia Ramblers, as well as the Philadelphia Warriors and part-time home of the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association.

The arena was also a major venue for boxing and wrestling before the opening of The Spectrum.

Final YearsEdit

The building fell out of popular use in the 1970s, due to the building of the Spectrum in 1967. In 1977, the building was auctioned off and renamed in honor of Martin Luther King. The arena was finally destroyed by arson on August 24, 1983. As of 2007, the former site of the arena now contains a housing complex, adjacent to the former TV studio which has become the Ron Brown Commerce Center. The site is located in West Philadelphia, on Market Street between 45th and 46th Streets.


Preceded by
Duquesne Gardens
Home of the
Philadelphia Quakers

1930 – 1931
Succeeded by
last arena
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