As we at WRBL News 3 celebrate our 60th anniversary by recalling the history of the station, we thought it would also be appropriate to remember slices of our city's history at the same time.
We are doing that by re-airing some of the "Remember When" stories produced by Phil Scoggins over the past several years. You can catch them Monday through Friday on News 3 First Edition at 5:00, 4:00 central time during the month of November.
We are starting with the story about the old Columbus Municipal Auditorium. Hubert Stubbs was the auditorium manager back in the day. Mr. Stubbs' former son-in-law, Jim Hill, shared his memories of the old auditorium as we sat around the kitchen table of Hubert Stubbs' wife, Libba.
She had a scrapbook that included a Ledger-Enquirer article announcing the grand opening of the auditorium back in 1957. According to the newspaper the first event held there was an ice show.
The auditorium was the venue for an array of events including rodeos, the circus, and high school graduations.
Jim says, "I remember going to basketball games when I lived in LaGrange and they had the yearly Christmas tournaments there. It was a big, big thing to come to that large auditorium."
Wednesday nights at the auditorium meant one thing back then...wrestling. One of the highest profile wrestling fans in the area was Lillian Carter, President Jimmy Carter's mother.
Hill recalls, "Mr. Stubbs used to talk about how, even after Jimmy became president, that she would insist on coming up there and watching the wrestling matches and how hard it was with security issues."
Concerts were a big draw at the auditorium. Jim's photo album takes him back to the 1970's when Willie Nelson came to town. "Weylon Jennings was with him. Leon Russell was playing the keyboards that night. Weylon told the story about how he survived the plane crash when he was part of the Buddy Holly group."
The Municipal Auditorium gave way to the new Columbus Civic Center which was built behind the old auditorium. The wrecking ball started the process of demolition in March of 1995.