One last chance for Spectrum memorabilia

Jim Gore of Cream Ridge, N.J., (left) gets a hand loading a letter from the Spectrum sign into his vehicle. Some people were going for the memories; Gore said he plans to sell his piece. Guess he's just not that into U.
Jim Gore of Cream Ridge, N.J., (left) gets a hand loading a letter from the Spectrum sign into his vehicle. Some people were going for the memories; Gore said he plans to sell his piece. Guess he's just not that into U.
Posted: November 07, 2010

It was the hallowed home of the Sixers and the Flyers.

It was a shrine for the shrieking fans of the Grateful Dead, not to mention nearly every other top musical act of the last 40 years.

And soon it will be gone.

The Spectrum, South Philadelphia's storied sports and entertainment venue, which opened in 1967, will be demolished this month. But from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, the public was to be let in to claim one last memory.

In an "If You Can Carry It, You Can Keep It" free-for-all, folding chairs, bar stools, used TVs, office furniture, leather couches, computer equipment, coffee and bar tables, lamps, and other collectibles were to be arrayed on the arena's floor.

For $25 admission, you could take whatever you can carry in one load, said Ike Richman, a spokesman for Spectrum owner Comcast-Spectacor. He recommended that people come in teams of two or more to cart away larger items. Anyone who wanted to return for a second load will have to pay another entrance fee.

Standing on the Spectrum's cement floor Friday, Richman, who has worked there for more than 20 years, lapsed into sentimentality. He looked up to the stands, from which most of the seats have already been removed, and said: "We're selling everything we can because the Spectrum meant so much to so many people."

The estimated 2,000 folding chairs, once used as concert seating on the floor, are expected to be the hottest items.

"This is what everybody is looking for - folding chairs," said Richman. "There's a limit on those. You can only take up to four."

Fans of the Grateful Dead, which performed at the Spectrum 53 times - more often than any other group - will no doubt covet the chairs. But, Richman said, "every group out there, with the exception of the Beatles, played the Spectrum."

On Monday, the arena, with a capacity of 17,000-plus, will be surrounded with protective fencing in preparation for demolition.

The demolition will begin inside the arena and is expected to be completed by the end of the month. The Spectrum is to replaced by a large entertainment complex.

Richman recalled the arena's rich sports history, including NBA and NHL championship seasons.

"The greatest basketball players of all time - Dr. J., Wilt Chamberlain, Charles Barkley - played in the Spectrum," Richman said. "And the greatest hockey players - Bob Clarke, Bernie Parent. This building meant so much to so many people."

On Friday, Bob Kelly, who played for the Flyers from 1970 to 1980, brought his 10-year-old daughter, Lindsay, to the Spectrum. There, he and fellow Broad Street Bullies won the Stanley Cup in 1974 and 1975.

"I am glad to see the seats flying out of here," said Kelly. "I came here in 1970 and the building was up for only three years. It was a shrine. It was a mecca. . . . There are a lot of memories here."


Contact staff writer Vernon Clark at 215-854-5717 or vclark@phillynews.com.

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