War Memorial Auditorium Celebrates 60th Anniversary
A gallon of milk was 82 cents; gas cost 27 cents. Stamps were 3 cents apiece. The year was 1950, and the City of Fort Lauderdale’s War Memorial Auditorium (WMA) opened its doors.
Owned and operated by the city, War Memorial Auditorium is a multi-purpose facility located in Holiday Park, just south of the intersection of Federal Highway and Sunrise Blvd. Built through a community fundraising drive to provide a permanent home to the symphony and opera, it cost $450,000. Three years ago the city renovated the 2100-seat facility, spending $2.4 million to update and modernize it without taking away any of its charm. Features include wireless Internet, epoxy flooring, decorative acoustic curtains and state-of-the-art lighting.
On January 14, 2010, the auditorium celebrated its 60th year of continuous operation. Throughout its history War Memorial has played host to politicians, circuses, concerts, pageants and shows of all kinds. In 1958, the venue was filled with the rock n roll sounds of Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Haley, the Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly on the Big Gold Record Stars Tour. 1991 saw Mickey Rourke’s professional boxing debut in the auditorium’s ring.
Other interesting features of the auditorium include its lobby floor, which features the names of WWII battles radiating from a floor seal. The lobby also includes a statue of a Vietnam War soldier, donated by the Gold Star Mothers in the mid 1970’s.
Operated by the city’s Department of Business Enterprises, the auditorium has successfully generated $1.6 million for the City’s general fund over the past 15 years. Event organizers enjoy the value and customer service provided at the classic Fort Lauderdale landmark, with many local and out-of-town guests attending the auditorium’s wide variety of affordable events.
Auditorium staff are always interested in speaking with individuals who have historical information or memorabilia. Please contact Marketing Specialist Maggie Gunther at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-828-5380.