Friday, September 17, 2010

Pot Luck Friday #9: All "OB"Long Raleigh

Mom packed up the pot in the cooler today....we're taking a road trip to the NC State Fairgrounds today to see the
J. S. Dorton Arena.
For more professional pictures of this most futuristic, unique, elliptical building please visit

Statistics on the building

Completed: 1952,renovated in 1979, 1996 and 2002

Architects: Matthew Nowiciki, and William H. Dietrich

Professor Nowiciki was head of the Department of Architecture at N. C. State University. He was killed in an airplane accident in Egypt before the construction phase of the project began. His personal friend, William H. Dietrich was named to oversee the project. It has continually earned an international reputation since its construction, in 1951.
Seating capacity: 5,110 permanent seats, 7,610 with portable seats
Square footage: 25,000
300 ft. in diameter and concrete floor is 221 feet long and 127 ft wide at widest point

Name: Originally named 'State Fair Arena", it was dedicated to Dr. J. S. Dorton, former N. C. State Fair Manager, in 1961.

Dorton Arena was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 11, 1973.

The metal roof, is suspended on a network of cables which extend crosswise from the 90' parabolic arches , is saddle shaped (see picture below). The parabolic arches cross each other at about 26' above the ground. I'm sorry I could not take any interior pictures. Please visit the website above for a look inside.

The weight of the roof is equalized by tension cables with 14 two inch strands connecting each end of the parabola through the stress tunnel.

Add ImageThe exterior walls are constructed of transluent heat and glare-reducing glass above the lobby levels and of heat-absorbing transparent glass on the lobby levels.

Dorton Arena is located on the corner of Blue Ridge Road and Hillsborough Street and is the center piece of the State Fairgrounds.

You might notice the wrought iron gate pictured above and below. It was installed to keep the very brave or very drunk from walking up to the roof.

The Arena is used for sporting events expect for 2 weeks in October
during the N C State Fair. Each evening during the 2 week fair concerts are held in the Arena.
Admission to see well known artists from all genre of music is very affordable. The most expensive I've ever seen is about $15.00.
The Arena can be seen from nearly every vantage point on the Fairgrounds. For as long as I can remember, The Arena has been 'the meeting' place of families should they become separated while visiting the Fairgrounds. The edge of the roof is outlined in RED lights at night. I just saw this for the first time at 5:30am yesterday morning. Sorry no pictues!!
Personal note from Mom: My Dad (Madi's Papa) recently told me my Granddaddy was one of the electricians who helped wire Dorton Arena. He said they had to build scaffolds inside so the electricians could get to the ceiling.
Note from Madi: Papa's procedure wen well yesterday. They are through with doctors for a while. Mom assures me she will not be getting up before the Rooster Crows tomorrow...she said she might even wait until Mr. Sun is out. MOL Mom is a wild and crazy lady.


  1. Very interesting building! Glad the news is good!!!

  2. So glad things went well yesterday! I hope your mom is able to sleep in tomorrow! Your parents sure visit some interesting places!

    Your pal, Pip

  3. That certainly is an interesting building. It must be something to see in pawson.

    Tell Papa we're glad things went well, K? Thanks.

    lotsa licks, Lola

  4. We are glad your Papa's surgery went well.
    That is an unusual and interesting building.

  5. Hi Madi! It is good that your Mommy is wild and crazy! Mine is too! Heres to crazy ladies!

    I am glad your Papa is getting better!


  6. The arena is an interesting place.

    Get some rest Mom, and no banging on the door Madi!

  7. You are so smart with all that info.

    I think your mom is a free spirit. lol

  8. Beautiful Building and I enjoy reading about the history of it. Enjoy your trip!! and I'm glad the news is good on papa :)

  9. Glad to hear your Papa is feeling better! And that sure is a cool building! A few years back, mom and dad went to the State Fair there. They ate a deep-fried candy bar for the first time and they said they were nomilicious!

  10. Sorry I missed out on sending good wishes for the procedure! Glad to hear all went well. That building is INCREDIBLE!! So cool that you have a personal connection to it too!

  11. Well, I see that you and Nancy Botwin have something in common :)

    I've been to the arena several times and it is beautiful!

  12. Madi
    That is a very intersting building. Have fun on your road trip, cant wait to hear more bout it.


  13. You say drunk huh? Hehehehe!
    Dat is a purty modern buiding to haves been built back in da day.
    It very cool thoughs.


  14. Wow awesome! Following this blog!

  15. Wow! That was really interesting, Madi and Mom! We really luv to look at cool old buildings. Too bad abouts that fence though. It would be fun to go all the way to the top!

    Wiggles & Wags,

    PeeS. We watched your Wolfpack beat the tar outta Cincinnati last night. My mom's team (Oklahoma) plays Cincinnati in a coupla weeks and she hopes that they play as well NC State did!

    PeePeeS. If you ever get out to Collie-rado, you gotta stop by and see me!

  16. That was very interesting. However, I think I would like to try and walk up the roof....and no, I am not drunk....ha ha! Glad your Papa is doing well! Maybe you should bring your mommy and daddy breakfast in bed tomorrow morning! That would surprise them!

  17. We Cats would saunter past that gate with the greatest of ease!
    We are all purrs with happiness that Papa's procedure went well. Madi, show your Mom a little pity and let her sleep in a minute or two later tomorrow!

  18. Wow what a cool looking building that is!

    And we are gladn taht your papa is doing well - that is good news!

    Have a wonderful weekend!!

  19. That is a really interesting structure, I like the modern lines and curves. I'll bet the red lights outlining the roof are a sight to see.

    Would have been over last night but mean old Blogger got so slow in the comment department I gave up.

    Have a great weekend!

    Hugs and mega purrs,
    J and Cindi Lou

  20. Hi Madi!

    wow what a building!
    We are so glad to hear your Papa is doing well and that you Mom can sleep in!



  21. That building is pawesome!
    I am happy to know everything went well with Papa's surgery!
    Kisses and hugs

  22. That's a cool building, Madi!! Thanks for telling us all about it!!

  23. We love the picshurs and the history!
    We are so glad Papa is doing well. We will purrs fur hims purrfect health.

  24. Neat building. Glad Pop is feeling better.


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