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J.S. Dorton Arena, Raleigh

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Inspirock Rating:
2.8/5 based on 35+ reviews on the web
J.S. Dorton Arena (known to its architect as the Paraboleum) is a 7,610-seat multi-purpose arena located in Raleigh, North Carolina, on the grounds of the North Carolina State Fair. It opened in 1952.Architect Maciej Nowicki was killed in an airplane crash before the construction phase, and local architect William Henley Dietrick supervised the completion of the arena using Nowicki's innovative design. Its design features a steel cable supported saddle-shaped roof in tension, held up by parabolic concrete arches in compression. The arches cross about 20 feet above ground level and continue underground, where the ends of the arches are held together by more steel cables in tension. The outer walls of the arena support next to no weight at all. Incorporating an unusual elliptical design by Matthew Nowicki, of the North Carolina State University Department of Architecture, the arena was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on April 11, 1973. Originally named the "State Fair Arena", it was dedicated to Dr. J. S. Dorton, former North Carolina State Fair manager, in 1961.It is currently the home of the Carolina Rollergirls (WFTDA). In the past, it has served as the home of numerous sports teams. The longest serving tenant was the Raleigh IceCaps (ECHL) ice hockey team from 1991 - 1998. The American Basketball Association's Carolina Cougars also played some games there from 1969 - 74.
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  • Was visiting family from out of town they had free tickets to the concert. WAY too hot and no air moving in the place. We had to keep walking outside to get fresh air. Concession stand area needs a lo...  read more »
  • Nostalgia aside from the NC State Fairgrounds, Dorton doesn't serve much purpose beyond "specialty" scheduled acts for the State Fair and some odd shows for the weekends. 
  • Showing a little age. Still a good place to visit during events at the Fairgrounds. Will visit again. 
  • Jimi Hendrix played here. Saw Willie play here at the State Fair a while back. Decent size, decent accoustics, awesome architecture.
  • Interesting old arena. Nice venue, just dated, but that makes it more interesting.
  • This is a good facility for lots of events but if in the Summertime it gets HOT. Very interesting looking building.
  • For our event the building was rather crowded, it was ridiculously hot to the point of almost fainting, and the sun was blinding the entire audience. It was also basically impossible to understand a word the announcer was saying through the speakers.
  • Must iconic building of the NC State fairgrounds. Immediately recognizable, it has plenty of restrooms and is where the live concerts are held at night during the fair. Years ago the concerts were free and were first come first serve. Now days a ticket is required.
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