A piece of American sports history is set to meet its end at the hands of a wrecking ball.
Pittsburgh's Civic Arena, the first retractable roof sports venue in the world, is scheduled for demolition begin Monday morning. A federal appeals court declined to support efforts to save the old building, clearing way for its demise.
When it opened in 1961, the "Igloo" was praised for its revolutionary architectural design -- which included the largest retractable, stainless steel dome roof in the world. It consisted of 170,000 total square feet and 2,950 tons of all-American Pittsburgh steel. The dome was designed to open and close in just two minutes.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports the stainless steel retractable roof will be the first piece of the historic arena to come down. Crews will take off the stainless steel panels in order to remove asbestos from the roof.
Despite the best efforts of dismayed preservationists, the arena will completely leave the Pittsburgh skyline by May. The group Preservation Pittsburgh tell reporters it will pass on taking the legal brouhaha to the U.S. Supreme Court.
KDKA-TV reports the longtime home of the NHL's Penguins will make way for a mixture of residential and commercial properties proposed by the Penguins.
The arena closed its doors in June 2010 when the Penguins moved next door to the sparkling Consol Energy Center. While playing at The Igloo, the Pens won Stanley Cup titles in 1991, 1992 and 2009.
Over the years, the old building hosted many great nights of entertainment. Some of the highlights:
• Elvis Presley played the final New Year's Eve show of his career at the arena on Dec. 31, 1976.
• The Beatles played the dome on Sept. 14, 1964.
• Muhammad Ali, then 21 years old, knocked out Charley Powell in the 3rd round of a fight in the Igloo. Sugar Ray Robinson, Larry Holmes and Sonny Liston also held boxing matches here.
• "The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh," an iconic 1979 basketball movie about the fictional Pittsburgh Pisces, was filmed in the arena.
• The 1995 film "Sudden Death", starring Jean Claude Van Damme, featured the Igloo hosting the Stanley Cup finals between the Penguins and Blackhawks.
• A 1999 WWF show set the record for largest attendance in building history when 18,150 wrestling fanatics filled the rafters.