|Former location|| 150 Causeway Street|
Boston, Mass. 02114
|Owner||Delaware North Companies|
|Operator||Delaware North Companies|
|Boston Celtics (NBA) (1946-1995)|
Boston Garden was the legendary home of the Boston Celtics from 1946 to 1995. On the evening of November 14, 1928, President Calvin Coolidge ushered in a new era for New England and the world. Using a ceremonial key made from nuggets of Yukon gold, Coolidge switched on the lights of the recently constructed Boston Garden from the White House via the newest telegraph technology of the time. Three days later, the Garden opened its doors to the public for the first time and the rest, as they say, is history.
At the time of its grand opening, not even creator Tex Rickards could have imagined how legendary the arena on Causeway Street would become. For more than 66 years, the Garden played host to the best and brightest in the world of sports and entertainment.
Over the years, all of music's hottest stars, from the Beatles to Aerosmith, rocked the house. The Boston Celtics, led by names like Auerbach, Russell, Cousy and Bird, built themselves into one of the premier franchises in the NBA, garnering a league-record 17 world titles along the way. The Bruins added another five world championship banners to the Garden rafters with Orr, Esposito, Bucyk and Neely, among others, leading the way.
It was the place where families went to watch their favorite shows, like the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Disney on Ice, or the Harlem Globetrotters. It also served the city's political needs, featuring speeches from some of the greatest politicians of all-time, including Churchill, FDR and Kennedy.
On September 29, 1995, the old Garden closed its doors to the public for the last time with a nostalgic evening of entertainment. The following night, a spectacular gala was held at the sparkling new FleetCenter to usher in a new era for sports and entertainment in New England.
How the Boston Garden Got Its Name
For nearly 70 years, the Boston Garden served as the home of the Boston Bruins and Celtics, and became one of the most revered landmarks in the New England area. However, the question concerning how this hallowed arena and others like it got the name "Garden" applied to them remains a mystery to most sports and entertainment enthusiasts.
The truth is that the Boston Garden was modeled after another famous arena, New York City's Madison Square Garden. Madison Square (its original name) was originally an abandoned station on the Harlem Railroad in New York, and was renamed the "Great Roman Hippodrome" when it was repurchased by P.T. Barnum. After acquiring the building, Barnum rented out the arena to Patrick Gilmore, who proceeded to install potted plants, fountains and gravel paths and change the name to "Gillmore's Garden." Since the building was located near Madison Square, its name changed in 1927 to Madison Square Garden.
One year later, the president of Madison Square Garden, Tex Rickard, announced his intentions to build a similar boxing arena in Boston, which he appropriately named "Boston Madison Square Garden." Soon after its November 1928 opening, the "Madison Square" reference was dropped leaving "Boston Garden." The Boston Garden went on to become one of the most legendary arenas in American history. Even after its retirement in 1995, many of its cherished artifacts and memories live on in the TD Banknorth Garden.
An Unexpected Tradition: The Parquet Floor
In 1946, when Boston Celtics President Walter Brown planned an $11,000 basketball floor to be built in Boston Arena (presently Northeastern University's Matthews Arena), he didn't know that he would be building a tradition in Boston that has become more than the NBA teams that play on it. Prior to the parquet, the Boston Celtics played games on the concrete floor of the Boston Arena to lessen their game schedule at Boston Garden.
Brown recognized the immediate need for a floor and inquired about construction. Due to the post-World War II lumber shortages, the East Boston Lumber Company had to construct the floor in a parquet style, in which small pieces of wood are pieced together. Thus, as a result of wartime aftermath and an immediate need for a floor, the court was built in a very untraditional manner.
The original parquet floor was moved from Boston Arena to Boston Garden in December 1952, and quickly adopted the nickname "Cousy floor" after Celtics star Bob Cousy (otherwise known as the "Prince of the Parquet"). According to legend, it was believed that Cousy used his knowledge of the parquet's dead spots and warped boards to his advantage allowing him to steal dribbles and passes from his opponents.
The current parquet floor consists of 264 panels held together by wood planks and brass screws with the help of an additional 988 bolts. When constructed for home games, the floor is pieced together by a group of TD Banknorth Garden workers known as the "Bull Gang."
The parquet floor has been refurbished several times, the most recent restoration taking place in August 1997. During the six-week process, the floor is sanded, clear sealant is applied, and court lines and the Celtics logo are repainted.
Through the years, the parquet has withstood quick-paced, rubber-soled sneakers, constant dribbling, and the frequent assembling and disassembling for home games. In September 1995, the floor was moved next door from the old Boston Garden to the TD Banknorth Garden. The last game on the parquet was played on December 22, 1999 and it has since been replaced by a replica court integrating portions of the original floor with a new parquet. For sports fans from around the country, the parquet floor has been, and will continue to be, the foundation of a great sports tradition in New England.