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See the Site of the Beatles’ First US Performance…Before It’s Gone for Good

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Just two days after their introduction to America on The Ed Sullivan Show, the Beatles held their first live, stateside performance at DC’s Washington Coliseum on February 11th, 1964. A crowd of 7,000 packed the arena at 3rd and M Streets, NE, as John, Paul, George and Ringo kicked off a landmark tour of the States that would influence an entire generation to come.

But, for the building that hosted this celebrated moment in the history of rock and roll, the ensuing years have been anything but kind. The derelict structure, more commonly known today as the Uline Arena, was most recently an indoor parking lot — and, prior to that, a informal trash dump. Now, all of that could be changing and metro area residents have two chances for a look back at the Uline before it goes under the development knife.

On Saturday, September 19th, the NoMa BID will be hosting a brief tour that will feature the Uline, along with other a handful of other historic sites in the neighborhood that includes the old telephone warehouse that will soon make way for National Public Radio‘s new downtown HQ. The tour, organized in conjunction with Cultural Tourism DC and entitled “From the Beatles to NPR: The Evolution of NoMa”, will run from 10 to 11 am. Attendees will meet at the New York Avenue Metro Station.

Photo: AlbinoFlea via Flickr
Photo: AlbinoFlea via Flickr

A few weeks later, a “reunion” concert of sorts will be held at H Street’s Atlas Performing Arts Center with attendees of the original show coming together to share their recollections, memorabilia and, naturally, music from the near-legendary performance on October 3rd. The get-together will mark the end of an era, as just two short months later, the Uline Arena is scheduled for a date with the wrecking ball. This December, developers will knock the kit-and-kaboodle down to make way for…a new $120 million office building. Any Beatle-maniacs out there would do well to give it one last look now before it’s gone for good.

For more insights into the storied history of the Uline, which also includes Nation of Islam founder, Elijah Muhammad, Bob Dylan and the godfather of go-go, Chuck Brown, among its motley cast of characters, visit the DC Preservation League.