2008 Obama rally at Civic Auditorium

In this 2008 photo, then-Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama drew 10,000 people to Omaha's Civic Auditorium Arena for a Feb. 7 rally — two days before the Nebraska Democratic caucuses. That year, only Obama opened an office in Nebraska, and the campaigns spent only about 10 days actively organizing in the state.

As demolition began Tuesday on Omaha's 62-year-old Civic Auditorium, we asked readers on The World-Herald's main Facebook page to share their favorite memories of the longtime community venue.

Here are some of their responses: 

Iona Michaelis: I have three favorite memories at Civic Auditorium.

1. The many years attending NSEA's Teachers Convention there. I would attend meetings, and my husband and kids would walk through the vendors and leave with pencils, candy, etc. This was in the time when schools were dismissed for convention so that teachers from across the state could easily attend. Conventions stopped when not enough teachers attended and took the days as free time.

2. The Johnny Cash concert in the late '70s.

3. Attending Golden Gloves Boxing and Bud Crawford was boxing. I remember he had quite a fan club then already. This was possibly 2005 or 2006.

Mike Jones: My first concert was at the Civic. Mötley Crüe, Lita Ford and Bonham. I will never forget that experience!

Terri Hahn: Getting up at 3 a.m. to drive from Lincoln to buy tickets for Barry Manilow in the early '80s. Waited in line between a group of nurses from a local hospital and a group of junior high students from Council Bluffs. Sleeeping bags or lawn chairs were everywhere, and we passed the time playing card games. Took turns saving our places in the line when someone had to walk to the bus station down the street to use the restroom. But it paid off when we all got tickets in the first few rows. #lifebeforeticketmaster

Michaela Fonfara Drewel: When I was 13 I told a bit of a fib to my parents — I told them my friend's mom was taking us to the Bon Jovi/Skid Row concert. She did take us, but she just dropped us off! It was my first concert, and 27 years later, still one of my favorites!

Alexandria Kelly: My daughter had her first dance recital there. I remember signing a petition with some of the other dance moms as an effort to save it from being torn down. I remember going there to see my sister perform in the All City choir performance. It breaks my heart to see this.

Amy Lynn Nielsen: The Shriner Circus sticks out the most in my memory. My stepdad was a Shriner clown, but I was afraid of clowns. So he took my program around to all the clowns outside to get their autographs.

Gary Statler: The Berkshire Hathaway meetings were moved there years ago from Aksarben and they thought at that time it would always hold the crowd, now CenturyLink is almost too small.

Greg Swain: Michael Murphy with Emmy Lou Harris as the opening act. Also Olivia Newton-John during a big snow. Ivan Putsky and Verne Gagne.

Katie Sup Rezac: I won tickets to Alanis Morissette from OWH column in the late 90s. It was a great concert.

Betsy Nattrass Clarke: So many events, watching and working! I have to say the Shrine Circus and Lancers hockey were the best!

Laura Kraft: I was fortunate enough to have my high school graduation hosted at the auditorium. Of course, it was the only place that could house 600 some odd Central High seniors and their families. Additionally, the only time I have ever been in the same physical space as President Obama was when he held a rally at the Civic in 2008. I attended the event with two foreign exchange students, one German, the other Czech, who were just as excited if not more to see the first potential African-American U.S. president.

Wendy Moore: High school graduation. All-City Music performance. Meeting Batman and Robin at the Auto Show.

Brian Smith: Saw some great shows there; Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC ...

Kent Henderson: First concert Spin Drs., Soul Asylum and Screaming Trees. Had to take a detour due to the flood of 1993.

Glo Vallecillo: This is sad; so many memories. Graduation of Benson 1993.

John Kowalski: Red Hot Chili Peppers in the late '90s was amazing at the Civic!

Lisa Watson: Elvis in 1977.

Deb Hautzinger: Graduated from college there!

Diane Miller: UNO Mavericks hockey!

Mi Licater: Circus. Seeing Huey Lewis and the News, then meeting them backstage.

Bonnie Blake: The Sports Show in the '50s and the micro midget races too

Jeff Paasch: Kansas in concert, The Outlaws in concert and the World of Wheels. 1976 & 1977

Diana Sparr: My first concert was Steppenwolf, and my favorites were Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons  ... and the greatest, Elvis!!

Troy Thies: Obama in '08 during the primary race. Got out of school for it :)

Kat James: Bryan graduation 1985!

Donovan Taylor: My first time going to the circus at like 5 years old, here. Watching Hulk Hogan wrestle alongside the Iron Sheik, here. My first concert, Mötley Crüe back in the mid-'80s, was here. Calling my Mom from the phone booth out front to let her know I was at the concert safely. So long, Civic. Say hello to the Indian Hills Theater and Rosenblatt Stadium for us.

Judi Norris: Concerts in '70s and '80s!!!

Mike Underwood: Kiss Reunion Tour in 1995.

Phil Wojtalewicz: Wrestling!!!! KISS!!! Peter Frampton, etc.

Shannon Simmons: Dance competitions with my daughter.

Kandy Munson: Benson 1973 graduation and so many concerts and other graduations.

Sarah Fleming: Seen Aerosmith there back in 1997 or 1998.

Michaela Inselman: Mary Lorraine's Dance Center recitals!!!

Barb Hannon: The many concerts including Styx, Foreigner, Queen, Ted Nugent, Journey and my favorite — The Cars. Memories are good and change is also.

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From the archives


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