OTD 1949: Cincinnati Gardens opens


Off The Beaten Path: Remembering Cincinnati Gardens

Cincinnati Gardens opened 72 years ago today, February 22, 1949. 

Sadly, the Cincinnati Gardens is no longer around. The storied structure was demolished over the last couple of years.

I've vowed to do my part to keep the stories and memories of Cincinnati Gardens alive on Sports Talk.

Please join us and share your stories and memories tonight.

(Photo courtesy Cincinnati Gardens)

Consider moments and events that building hosted over the years. In a day and age of shiny new arenas and stadiums, with luxury suites and video boards, there was a charm to the Gardens.

When it opened the Gardens was the seventh largest indoor arena in the U.S. with a seating capacity of 11,000.

Consider just some of the events at the Gardens:

NBA Cincinnati Royals, NBA All-Star game

Concerts with: Elvis, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and the Jackson Five.

Xavier and Cincinnati basketball, 42 Crosstown Shootouts

Hockey with the Cincinnati Mohawks, Swords, Cyclones, Mighty Ducks

Boxing with Ezzard Charles

Middletown vs Hamilton high school basketball showdowns

Roller Derby, Pro wrestling, the Circus

Cincinnati Slammers basketball

Presidential campaign rallies for Richard Nixon and Barry Goldwater 

Evil Knievel

Indoor football

Check out the website for the Cincinnati Gardens HERE

What an opening week for the Cincinnati Gardens:

February 22: Dallas Texans and Montreal Canadiens, exhibition hockey. According to the Cincinnati Gardens website, the game drew 11,144 fans. At the time, it was the largest crowd gathered under one roof in the history of the city of Cincinnati.

February 23: College basketball, Cincinnati vs. Butler 

February 24: College basketball, Xavier vs. UK

February 28: Cincinnati boxer Ezzard Charles vs. Joey Maxim (Cleveland) in a heavyweight title contender fight. 

My memories

My dad tells me my first time in the Gardens would have been in the late 60's/early 70's, when I attended the circus when I was 3-4 years old.

I'll never forget my excitement over broadcasting at Cincinnati Gardens for the first time. I was there in 1985, as a sophomore at Butler.

I broadcast Butler vs Xavier for WAJC radio, Butler's campus station. 

I still remember how I opened the broadcast for that Butler game: "Live from the historic Cincinnati Gardens, Butler basketball is on the air." I was excited to meet Andy MacWilliams for the first

time. I had listened to him and would call into Gary Burbank's 700 WLW's Sports or Consequences show that he was a part of.

My family attended Cincinnati Mighty Ducks games at Cincinnati Gardens. My coolest moment there was in 2003. Casey was dealing with his leukemia. He was asked by the Cincinnati Mighty

Ducks to drop the puck for one of their games. He loved that. 

Legends Museum

Did you ever take a tour of the Legends Museum at the Cincinnati Gardens? 

We visited several years ago.