Will Rogers Memorial Auditorium, Coliseum, and Tower

Wyatt C. Hedrick and Elmer G. Withers (Herman P. Koeppe--chief designer)
1936





The Auditorium and Coliseum, with identical facades, are connected by the 208 foot high Pioneer Tower. The complex is in the Art Modern style, a somewhat plainer version of Art Deco than some of the other "Moderne" buildings in Fort Worth. The Auditorium and Coliseum have convex facades with six stone piers faced with stylized fluted pilasters. Windows in glass block extend above the five entrance doors. Both structures have mosaic friezes at the top (ten feet by 200 feet) depicting events in the development of the West. These subjects, designed by Herman P. Koeppe, relate to the origin of the complex--it was part of Fort Worth's Frontier Centennial in 1936, in celebration of Texas' one-hundreth birthday.
 

Center: Auditorium; right: Coliseum

The Auditorium, seating about 3000, was designed for theatrical and musical perfomances. It also is a convention hall with rooms for exhibit spaces. The Coliseum has a seating capacity of more than 6000 and has what was then an innovative ribbed domed roof without supporting columns. Both buildings have richly decorative interiors.


Pioneer Tower--left photograph shows revolutionary domed roof on the Coliseum

This brick and stone tower is crowned with an aluminum stair-step octagon.


Left and center: the entrance gates; right: glass block wall

 

Electra Waggoner Biggs, Riding into the Sunset, 1947

This life-size bronze sculpture depicts Will Rogers on his favorite horse, Soapsuds. It is located on an area in front of the complex.


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© 2003 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. (I would appreciate being told if you find them useful.) They are not available for commercial purposes without my explicit permission.

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