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Item information

Seating Plan & Details
Detail drawings (Drawings)
Original Format:
Tracings; scale: various; 30 x 42 inches
Item identifier:
Created Date:
Architectural drawings
Design and construction documents
Raleigh (N.C)
Digital Project:
Beaux Arts to Modernism

Source information

Special Collections Research Center at NCSU Libraries
Guy E. Crampton and William Henley Deitrick Papers and Drawings, 1928-1977 (MC00227) held by
Note field:
Not all materials from the physical collection may have been scanned. Images may have been enhanced for web access.
For questions regarding copyright or permissions, please refer to our Reproduction, Use, Citation, and Copyright page (
Digitization of this image was partially supported with federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds made possible through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.


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)
Community centers
Sports facilities
Exhibition buildings
Agricultural exhibitions
Historic buildings
Historic sites
Latitude, Longitude:
35.795005, -78.706776

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