State Fair Architecture Tour - Coliseum (1939)
Architect Merritt Harrison considered this building his finest creation. PWA (Public Works Administration) funds made it possible for the Fair Board to build this structure, which was to be a “Livestock Pavilion.” Harrison used tan brick and Indiana limestone on the exterior. The style is Art Deco. When you go inside, notice the ticket booth grilles--cast brass in the form of ears of corn. On the outside, notice how most of the corners are rounded or stepped back, a hallmark of the Deco style.
Like the track, the Coliseum has been used for many events. It was the best and largest indoor live performance house in the state, that’s why the Beatles held their only Indiana concert here in 1964. Before MSA was built in the early 1970s, the Indiana Pacers played here. But during the Fair, the Coliseum serves its intended role as champion horses and cattle are judged and awarded inside.