A Brief History of the Cincinnati Gardens

March 14, 2018 8 Comments

Cincinnati Gardens exterior

It was the home of the great Oscar Robertson and the NBA's Cincinnati Royals and later the Slammers of the Continental Basketball Association. It was home to the American Hockey League's Cincinnati Mohawks who joined the International Hockey League in 1952 and proceeded to win a record 5 Turner Cups in a row. It was also the home ice of the Wings, Swords, Mighty Ducks, and Cyclones. Indoor soccer (the Silverbacks) and football (Commandos) teams played there, as did the Cincinnati Rollergirls roller derby league. The facility also hosted countless concerts, including The Beatles in 1964 and The Rolling Stones in 1965, circus performances, monster truck rallies, motorcycle races, and more.

The Cincinnati Garden (it would become plural later), its design and name inspired by Toronto’s world famous Maple Leaf Gardens, opened on February 22, 1949, with an exhibition game between the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens and their farm team the Dallas Texans. It was the seventh largest indoor arena in the United States at that time and in its debut week also hosted a UC vs Butler basketball game, a Xavier vs Kentucky contest, and a heavyweight boxing match between Cincinnati’s own Ezzard Charles and Cleveland’s Joey Maxim. The hometown legend won in 15 rounds and became the top contender for Joe Louis’ title.

The name was changed to the Cincinnati Gardens, with the letter S added, in the winter of 1961. At that time there was also an NBA logo on the building identifying it as the home of the Royals who had moved from Rochester in the fall of 1957. During their tenure at the Gardens, the Royals hosted the NBA All-Star Game in 1966.

Former UC superstar Robertson joined the team in 1960, helping the Royals become a winner. However, he was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in 1970 who then won a championship. Two years later, in the wake of dwindling attendance and poor play on the court, the Royals packed their bags for Kansas City where they became the Kansas City-Omaha Kings (now the Sacramento Kings).

During their first season in the Gardens, the Royals shared the building with the Cincinnati Mohawks hockey club, that team’s final season. In 1963, the Indianapolis Capitals moved to Cincinnati nine games into the Central Professional Hockey League’s season, after their arena burned down. The team moved to Memphis in 1964.

Hockey returned to the Gardens in 1971 when the Swords were established. Needing a farm team, the Buffalo Sabres, who had just joined the National Hockey League as an expansion club, wanted to place their developmental team in South Florida. However, the American Hockey League balked at the travel expenses that would be incurred by the other teams, so the Sabres opted to place the team in Cincinnati. The Queen City, in turn, embraced the new team.

The Swords advanced to the AHL playoffs in all three years they were in existence,  averaging over 4,300 fans per game during the 1972/73 campaign. That season culminated with an appearance in the Calder Cup finals where the Swords fell to the Nova Scotia Voyageurs 4 games to 1, with the final game played in Buffalo's War Memorial Auditorium. The Swords were folded by the Sabres when Cincinnati was granted an expansion franchise (the Stingers) in the World Hockey Association.

Hockey returned to the Gardens in 1990 when the Cyclones began play in the East Coast Hockey League. When they moved downtown in 1997, the Gardens wooed the struggling Baltimore Bandits of the American Hockey League to relocate to the Queen City. The Bandits were renamed the Mighty Ducks and were a hit, playing until 2005 when their parent club, the NHL Anaheim Mighty Ducks, switched their affiliation to a team in Portland, Maine.

Though it continued to be used for all kinds of events well into the new century, the building was sold in July of 2016 and sat empty for over a year before the wrecking ball arrived in March of 2018. While the building was razed to make way for new development, many important bits and pieces were rescued.

The large porcelain letters that spelled out the name Cincinnati Gardens went to the American Sign Museum in Camp Washington. The six limestone-bas-relief figures that flanked the entrance, featuring two depictions each of a boxer, hockey player, and basketball player, also escaped the demolition.

The relief sculptures were designed by the late Henry Mott who won a 1948 competition sponsored by the Art Academy of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Gardens’ architectural and engineering firm A.M. Kinney.

Mott’s grandson, John Peckscamp, has led the effort to find a new home for the figures. One of the basketball players took up residence at Xavier University Cintas Center, while one of the boxers went to the Cincinnati Golden Gloves boxing academy in Over-the-Rhine.

Hundreds of smaller items were sold or auctioned off as well. A small hockey scoreboard wound up at the Cincy Shirts store in Hyde Park, as did a banner honoring the 5 IHL championships captured by the Mohawks. A glass case holding a Swords jacket, hat, and scarf, also hangs in the shop.







8 Responses

Truth Czar
Truth Czar

May 25, 2023

Give the Cincinnati Swords their due – they WON the AHL Calder Cup Championship as Kevin mentioned.

Also, the Cincinnati Cyclones sold out the Gardens many times during the 1990s – no mention of that, either. Watching hockey in Cincinnati during the 1990s was a rocking good time at the Gardens.

Aira
Aira

February 14, 2023

Please write good things from now on I’ll come and read every day. It’s really nice to have a place like this
온라인 카지노
카지노사이트
바카라사이트
토토사이트
호텔 카지노
https://www.j9korea.com/

Morgan
Morgan

January 30, 2023

With so much in my heart I am here to express myself on how Priest Salami saved my marriage from divorce. Myself and my husband were having some misunderstanding and it was tearing our marriage apart to the extent my husband was seeking a divorce. So I have no option other than to go to the internet to seek a solution to my problem. It was there I came across Priest Salami details and about how he has helped a lot of people by restoring their relationship. I contacted Priest Salami and in less than 48 hours my husband cancelled the divorce papers. Now myself and my husband live together in peace and harmony all thanks to Priest Salami for saving my marriage from breaking up. Priest Salami contact information are via email: purenaturalhealer@gmail.com. Whatsapp number: +2348143757229

Thomas Gibson
Thomas Gibson

December 15, 2022

I want to use this opportunity to tell the whole world on how I become rich and famous. I’m 93 years old. I was passing through difficulty in business and there was no hope of me coming out of my debt. I borrow money in my bank to do my business and I run at lost on the business I got frustrated and decided to be playing lottery to see if I can win and make my business grow and I have played for years now nothing good is coming my way on till I meet someone online talking about Dr Ayoola on the internet. He was taking about how this Dr Ayoola help him to win mega million lottery game. I said to myself if this is true and decide to contact him and told him to help me as well I later read more about this man and see how he has been helping people all over the world. I have faith in him and choose to work with him. After working with him he told me what I need to do for the number to be given to me which I did after he finish working he said I will have a dream and the number will be review to me in the dream. That night has I was sleeping I dream a number immediately he call me and gave me the same number I dream of and ask me to go and play the number. Today I’m here testifying of the good work he did for me I played the number and I won the sum of 1, 000,000 million dollars in a lotto max. You can contact Dr Ayoola for help if you want to win big in lottery game he has the gift of giving right number contact him today and thank me email him today Via email: drayoolasolutionhome@gmail. com or https://www.facebook.com/Dr-Ayoola-105640401516053/ text or call +14809032128

Billy Bob Joe
Billy Bob Joe

November 07, 2018

JC, He’s a Rhino?

Nolan Blake
Nolan Blake

November 06, 2018

Love it. I can go cra cra over it…

kevin Anderson
kevin Anderson

June 28, 2018

History has an error. 1972-73 Cincinnati Swords defeated Nova Scotia 4 games to 1 with the final game being played at Buffalo’s War Memorial Auditorium. Cincinnati won the Calder Cup that season.

JC
JC

March 14, 2018

Oscar Robertson and Over the Rhine. C’mon man!

Leave a comment


Also in Cincy Shirts News

My first memories as a Cincinnati Reds Fan
My first memories as a Cincinnati Reds Fan

March 19, 2024 281 Comments

As the 2024 season draws near, I find myself reflecting on the journey that led me to become a devoted Cincinnati Reds fan. For many of us, our passion for this team and the game itself runs deep in our blood, often cultivated by the experiences shared with family and friends. 

Learn More

Cincy Shirts Student Spiritwear Design Contest!
Cincy Shirts Student Spiritwear Design Contest!

February 16, 2024 546 Comments

Learn More

Banana Splits at Kings Island
Remember the Banana Splits Movie That Was Filmed at KI?

April 04, 2023 1342 Comments

Learn More