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The William V. Winans Jr. Photograph Collection, 1958-1961, PSS 027
Library & Archives, Senator John Heinz History Center

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What's in the entire collection

The William V. Winans Jr. Photograph Collection, held by the Library & Archives at the Senator John Heinz History Center, contains 141 images depicting the construction of the Civic Arena (later known as the Mellon Arena) between May 1958 and September 1961. These images appear online with permission from dck worldwide.

About Willaim V. Winans, Jr.

William V. Winans, Jr. was the assistant superintendent during the construction of the Civic Arena. Winans graduated from Carnegie Technological Institute in 1932 with a major in building construction. He ran the Brownsville Construction Company until 1958, and worked on the Civic Arena during its construction for the Dick Corporation. Winans was involved in other construction projects, including: the Kaufmann's Department Store warehouse on the North Side; Ringgold High School in Monongahela, PA; Western Area Vocational-Technical School (now Western Area Career and Technology Center) in Canonsburg, PA; and the State Correctional Institute in Greensburg, PA.

About the Dick Corporation

Dick Corporation was the contractor for the Civic Arena construction. Founded near Pittsburgh in 1922 by Noble J. Dick, the company completed projects for steel mills, nuclear power plants, and postal service centers. Locally, the company built Hillman Library on the University of Pittsburgh's campus, the Pittsburgh International Airport, and PNC Park, the Pittsburgh Pirates' baseball stadium. The Dick Corporation fell into financial woes in the 2000s mainly due to its partnership in an Illinois power plant project with the Enron Corporation. Following the collapse of the Enron Corporation, the Dick Corporation formed a smaller, separate company called dck worldwide in 2007 in an effort to acquire new bonding and capital support.

About the Civic Arena

The Civic Arena was built to answer the need for a sports arena, convention center, and amphitheater to house the Civic Light Opera. When logistical plans for separate structures for an outdoor amphitheater and an indoor orchestra were complicated due to ambient sound requirements, building plans were changed to combine the two buildings into one. This unique and ambitious design featured the largest retractable stainless steel roof ever built, and provided a space for year-round entertainment.

The Civic Arena opened on September 16, 1961, hosting the Ice Capades. It was also the home of the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team; the location for many high-profile concerts and events; and a popular location for conventions in the city. The facility would be renamed Mellon Arena in 1999 after naming rights were sold by Mario Lemieux to Mellon Financial (after the naming rights expired on August 1, 2010, the arena returned to its original name.)

In 2010, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Sports Exhibition and Authority decided to raze the structure once the hockey team had moved to its new home, the Consol Energy Center. The demolition of the Civic Arena began in September 2011, after attempts by preservation groups to designate the arena as a historic landmark failed.

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