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Bangor Auditorium seat sale draws a crowd

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Bangor Auditorium seat sale draws a crowd edge photo by Jodi Hersey

 

BANGOR - Pieces of the old Bangor Auditorium were carted off by the truckload last week as the public lined up to buy a pair or two of the old wooden seats from one of the city's most historic landmarks that's being torn down. Scott Boucher of Bangor was lucky enough to get his hands on some.

"I'm originally from Presque Isle and I used to come down to the big city every tournament season [to watch the games]. It has such a special memory," said Boucher. "I was [also] in the Auditorium for many years as a clown for the Shrine circus."

Not everyone was as fortunate as Boucher. Many were turned away when the chairs sold out faster than members of the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame expected. The non-profit was selling the nostalgic pieces for $25 a pair.

"They went far more quickly than anyone anticipated," said Mark Woodward of the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame.

The Bangor Auditorium, which opened in 1955 according to bangorinfo.com, could seat as many as 5,948 during basketball games, but less than half that amount were made available to the public.

"I think [the Penobscot] Job Corp and students from United Technologies Center helped remove 360 pairs," said Woodward. "And each pair weighs 70 pounds." 

"I only picked up two seats," explained Boucher. "I didn't want to be too greedy. I wanted to make sure everyone gets a piece of the history. I just didn't realize there would be this much of a demand. I think it's a testament to how much the Auditorium meant to the city."

During its lifetime, the building hosted numerous concerts and political rallies, the Shrine circus, trade shows and lots of high school and college graduations. The money raised from the sale of the Auditorium seats will benefit the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame, located inside the new arena called the Cross Insurance Center.

"We have to develop exhibits and pursue our nonprofit status. It all adds up," explained Woodward. "It's a museum too. We have artifacts from when Bangor had amateur basketball teams."

The public will be able to view those artifacts and memorable pieces when the Cross Insurance Center opens its doors later this summer.

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