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Item information

State Fair Arena
Campus and Town
Agricultural exhibitions
Original Format:
Chromogenic color print (photograph)
3 x 5 inches
Item identifier:
State Fair Arena; Photographic Postcard| Transcribed from Postcard: "Located on the State Fair Grounds, Raleigh N.C. This most unusual structure has attracted international interest. It has 4768 permanent opera type chairs and 656 box seats, with provision for 4000 additional portable seats. It is used for livestock and other shows requiring a large space."
North Carolina State Fair more info on North Carolina State Fair 
Raleigh (N.C.)
Digital Project:
University Archives Photographs

Building: Dorton, J. S. Arena (Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina)

more info on Deitrick, William Henley, 1895-1974 
more info on Nowicki, Maciej, 1910-1950 
1025 Blue Ridge Road
North Carolina
General note:
The J.S. Dorton Arena (known to its architect as the Paraboleum) is a 7,610-seat multi-purpose arena in Raleigh, North Carolina, on the grounds of the North Carolina State Fair.
Historical note:
It was opened in 1952. Architect Matthew Nowicki was killed in an airplane crash before the construction phase, and local architect William Henley Dietrick supervised the completion of the arena using Nowicki's innovative design. Incorporating an unusual elliptical design by Matthew Nowicki, of the North Carolina State University Department of Architecture, the arena was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on April 11, 1973. Originally named the "State Fair Arena", it was dedicated to Dr. J. S. Dorton, former North Carolina State Fair manager, in 1961. It is currently the home of the Carolina Rollergirls (WFTDA). In the past, it has served as the home of numerous sports teams. The longest serving tenant was the Raleigh IceCaps (ECHL) ice hockey team from 1991–1998. The American Basketball Association's Carolina Cougars also played some games there from 1969–74. Besides hosting sporting events, the arena is also used for concerts during the North Carolina State Fair. Various conventions and fairs also use floorspace of the arena as an exhibition space, often in conjunction with the neighboring Jim Graham building. The arena was also the site of a 2010 FIRST FRC regional robotics competition and was the first space to hold a regional in the state.
Architectural note:
Its design features a steel cable supported saddle-shaped roof in tension, held up by parabolic concrete arches in compression. The arches cross about 20 feet above ground level and continue underground, where the ends of the arches are held together by more steel cables in tension. The outer walls of the arena support next to no weight at all.
Raleigh (N.C.)
Exhibition buildings
Historic buildings
National Register of Historic Places
Latitude, Longitude:
35.795005, -78.706776