The CLEVELAND ARENA, located at 3717 Euclid Avenue and commonly known as The Arena, was built in 1937 by local sports promoter ALBERT C. SUTPHIN and a syndicate of stockholders. Sutphin had acquired the property - formerly the estate of inventor CHARLES FRANCIS BRUSH - two years earlier.

The 10,000-seat, $1.5 million facility, was designed primarily to be the home of Sutphin's ice-hockey team, the newly christened CLEVELAND BARONS. The Arena's opening night was 10 November 1937, when it played host to the Ice Follies of 1938. The facility's first hockey match was played a week later when the Barons lost to the New York Rangers 4-3. The Barons, previously known as the Cleveland Indians (1929-1933) and the Cleveland Falcons (1933-1937), went on to win 9 regular season titles and 8 Calder cup playoff championships. 

By the 1940s, The Arena was hosting as many as 330 events a year, from rodeos and circuses to HOCKEY and BASKEBALL games, BOXING matches, and KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS TRACK MEETS. On 28 June 1947, boxer Jimmy Doyle died during a bout against "Sugar" Ray Robinson. Another iconic date for The Arena was 21 March 1952 when disc jockey ALAN FREED staged the Moondog Coronation Ball - generally considered to be the country's first major rock and roll concert. 

Sutphin owned and operated The Arena until April 1949, when he sold it and the Cleveland Barons to a group of Minneapolis investors. Attorney and businessman Nick Mileti bought The Arena and the Barons for $2 million in 1968, but moved the team to Jacksonville, Florida in 1973. After the opening of Mileti's RICHFIELD COLISEUM in 1974, The Arena stopped hosting major events. It was demolished in early 1977. The site is now part of the Red Cross complex. 

Period automobiles line the street in front of Al Sutphin
Al Sutphin's Cleveland Arena, 1947. Courtesy of the Plain Dealer.

Updated by Christopher Roy on 5 February 2024. 


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