PORTLAND, ME ~ 1914
We recently reclaimed hundreds of southern yellow pine wooden bleacher boards from the century-old historic Exposition Building in Portland, Maine.
Affectionately referred to as ‘The Expo’ by locals, the structure was designed by Frederick A. Tompson and built on Portland’s Park Avenue in 1914. The bill for the early 20th-century construction of the building came to $80,944. As of 2017, it is the second oldest arena in continuous use in the United States. With a capacity of 2,466 seats, the arena currently hosts approximately 270 events each year. It is home to the Maine Red Claws NBA Development League, Portland High Bulldogs basketball, Maine Roller Derby, and other sporting events, concerts, presidential rallies, trade shows, and conferences.
Over the past 100 years, countless notable celebrities have visited the Expo: athletes such as Paavo Nurmi, Arnold Palmer, and Babe Ruth; American presidents Barack Obama and John F. Kennedy; and musicians including James Brown, Janis Joplin, The Monkees, and Dolly Parton.
In 2015, the decision was made to upgrade the seating for visitors, resulting in removal of almost all of the original bleachers, which were replaced with modern bleachers and seating. The bleachers located behind the baskets will remain original.
Longleaf Lumber was lucky to have been able to salvage approximately 800 of these wooden bleacher boards when they were removed in the fall of 2016. Most of the boards have areas of white paint with original bleacher markings, rendering them aesthetically useful for table, bench, or wall paneling reuse applications.
These reclaimed southern yellow pine boards are waiting to be put, once again, to good use. What will these boards see next?
James Brown image credit: Heinrich Klaffs