Sports Temples of Boston: Sports Temples of Boston: Images of Historic Ballparks, Arenas, and Statiums 1872-1972

Boston Arena

Located on St. Botolph Street at the edge of Boston’s Back Bay, the Boston Arena was built by the City of Boston in 1909 and opened it doors in 1910. The building’s original facade was in the elaborate Art-Deco style with a dramatic archway, connecting twin capped towers and a gilded Victorian lobby.

The first event held was an ice carnival, and the facility has the distinction of being the world’s first artificial ice rink. The Boston Arena long served as Boston’s major ice sports venue and is still home to ice hockey games and figure skating competitions and performances. The facility has served as the home ice for the Boston Bruins, the New England Whalers and of many Boston-area collegiate hockey teams. Major ice skating competitions and performances have graced the Arena and greats such as Sonja Henie and Dick Button have awed its crowds.

The Boston Arena is Boston's oldest multi-use athletic and special events facility. Almost from its opening, it hosted world class boxing, including fights with such legendary pugilists as Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey, and Gene Tunney. As a forum for oratory and politics, the rafters of the Boston Arena have rung to the voices of such American leaders and politicians as Teddy Roosevelt, James Michael Curley, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy.

The Boston Arena has also had a longtime connection with its neighbor, Northeastern University, and was purchased by Northeastern in 1977 and renamed the Matthews Arena in 1982.

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Big Arena Fire

1. Big Arena Fire

Image number: 05_02_011285
Photographer: Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967
Roxbury, Massachusetts (1918)

Firemen fighting fire along St. Botolph Street side of Arena. The roof to the Arena has collapsed.

Hyde Park takes on Boston English in hockey game at the Boston Arena

2. Hyde Park takes on Boston English in hockey game at the Boston Arena

Image number: 05_02_010078
Roxbury, Massachusetts (1972)

First Hyde Park goal against Boston English in the first period.

The Arena, St. Botolph's Street, Boston

3. The Arena, St. Botolph's Street, Boston

Image number: 05_02_010105
Roxbury, Massachusetts (ca. 1920-1929)

Exterior view of the Boston Arena.

Star player Vincent Richards at the Boston Arena

4. Star player Vincent Richards at the Boston Arena

Image number: 05_02_010143
Photographer: Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967
Roxbury, Massachusetts (1928)

Tennis star in suit and coat outside the Arena.

Star player Vincent Richards, Boston Arena

5. Star player Vincent Richards, Boston Arena

Image number: 05_02_010144
Photographer: Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967
Roxbury, Massachusetts (1928)

Richards poses for photographer in his tennis clothes inside the Arena.

Al Grayson knocks out his first man as professional at the Arena

6. Al Grayson knocks out his first man as professional at the Arena

Image number: 05_02_010534
Photographer: Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967
Roxbury, Massachusetts (ca. 1930)

Crowd at the Boston Arena looks on while Grayson stands over his opponent lying prone on canvas.

Ernie Schaaf knocks out Winston at the Boston Arena

7. Ernie Schaaf knocks out Winston at the Boston Arena

Image number: 05_02_010536
Photographer: Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967
Roxbury, Massachusetts (1932)

Schaaf relaxes in his corner as referee counts out Eddie "Unknown" Winston.

Ernie Schaaf beats Winston at the Boston Arena

8. Ernie Schaaf beats Winston at the Boston Arena

Image number: 05_02_010537
Photographer: Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967
Roxbury, Massachusetts (1932)

Eddie "Unknown" Winston goes down at Schaaf's feet while referee starts his count.

The Arena, Boston, Mass.

9. The Arena, Boston, Mass.

Image number: 05_02_010605
Roxbury, Massachusetts (ca. 1915)

Boston Arena showing the original Art Deco facade.

Boston Arena interior

10. Boston Arena interior

Image number: 05_02_010658
Roxbury, Massachusetts (ca. 1910)

View of arena and seating, including balconies and triple decked box seats. Floor of the arena is dirt.

 
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Sports Temples of Boston: Images of Historic Ballparks, Arenas and Stadiums, 1872-1972
has been made possible through a Library Services and Technology Act grant
administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.