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Coliseum Garden: 1907

Chicago circa 1907. "The Coliseum, 15th & Wabash Avenue." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative by Hans Behm, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

Chicago circa 1907. "The Coliseum, 15th & Wabash Avenue." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative by Hans Behm, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Ford Model N

Our eagle eyed contributor Hap Tucker at the MTFCA forum nailed the particulars as to why this must have been a modified 1906-07 Model N; only the Model N had two front fender brackets like this car has. R & S had running board brackets -- this car has just the Model N step plate partly covered by an accessory running board.

Model R or Model S ??

From the photo if would be difficult if not impossible to identify the Ford on the left as a 1907 Model R or 1907-08 Model S runabout. Both cars used the same fenders and running boards. The R was a more delux version of the Model N that had step plates instead of running boards. The detail needed to positively identify the car would be the rear view showing the turtle deck mounted behind the seat. Model R had a rounded deck while the S had the same pointed one as the Model N. Another version of the Model S was the "roadster" which used different fenders, running boards, and had a metal cowl instead of the wood one on the other models including the Model S runabout. Nifty little cars for sure with subtle but significant differences among the four different versions. A sensation when introduced in 1906, the Model N sold for $500. Quite a bargain for a FOUR cylinder automobile when most inexpensive cars had only one or two cylinders. The Model R had an impressive price increase to $750 followed by the Model S for $700.

The Ellery Band

The Ellery Band played at the 1904 Worlds Fair in St Louis.

Interesting history

Apparently, this was the third in a series of Coliseums. Here's some cool interior photos!

Pimp my ride

The auto in the lower left corner has one fascinating bulb horn--long long tube from the driver to the coil and bell mounted on the engine cover; and those headlamps are way kewl.

Formerly a Civil War Museum

The old Libby Prison in Richmond was dismantled and rebuilt in Chicago with an elaborate castellated wall about it. The Civil War museum failed to bring in enough revenue and the exhibits (and bricks of the prison) were sold off. The Coliseum was built within the wall.

Roller Derby

When I was a teenager in the 50s, a bunch of us would go to the Roller Derby there on weekends.

Ford Model S

Car on the left is a Model S Ford. It has got full running boards, unlike the model R that did not have those. Model S was sold between 1907 and 1909, and 3750 were made.

Long Strange Trip

Built in 1899, closed 1971, demolished 1982.

Its last events included a lot of rock bands which you can't remember very well if you were there.

The Site Today

The castle-like wall was part of Libby Prison, which was moved from Richmond Virginia to Chicago. The ruins of the wall were still around in the early '90s. At that time, the area was pretty desolate with empty warehouses and such. I remember seeing a few squatters' camps within the ruins.

It's since been developed into a residential area with high-rise and loft condos. What remained of the Coliseum was finally cleared to make way for a Buddhist Center.


Another very interesting piece of history.
That looks like a new Ford Model R parked in front.

The Ellery Band

I have heard of the Ellery Band. This might be them:

Subtle ... not

Could they have put more frills, furbelows, flagpoles, icing, arches, awnings, transoms, turrets, ornaments, lights, and rooflines on one building? I do believe the architect took his cue from Luna Park at Coney Island. Then in a true spirit of overkill, someone found it necessary to prop ten-foot-high signs in front!

Another view

From DPC's competitor, V. O. Hammon.

Second City

I'm sure it is gone now, but I'd guess this was the Chicago answer to Madison Square Gordens in that other city. Great structure!

[I guess that would be Gorden City. - Dave]

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