Park Center (Grady Cole Center), Charlotte NC
Front Entrance Today, facing N. Kings Drive.
Where The Park Center/Grady Cole Center
now stands was originally the National Guard Armory. It burned in
about 1954. Jim Crockett Sr. ran many of his his wrestling events at
The first card at the Charlotte Park Center (built to replace the
Armory) was held Monday July 16, 1956. The main event was Argentina
Rocca vs. Skull Murphy. It was the first indoor wrestling in
Charlotte since the Armory burned down two years earlier. (Newspaper
The Park Center/Grady Cole Center sits adjacent to Charlotte War
Memorial Stadium, which has also housed some big wrestling events
over six decades. (See sketch below.)
The Charlotte Park Center/Grady Cole
Center is under the management of the Charlotte Parks And Recreation
Department. In the early to mid 2000s, the city of Charlotte and
Mecklenburg County combined there efforts and its now called
Mecklenburg County Parks And Recreations Department.
* * * * *
As far as modern day info about the
Grady Cole Center, this is from the CitySearch website:
glance, Grady Cole Center looks like a glorified basketball
court--and that's pretty much what it is. But it's not only the
building, but what goes on there, that makes Grady Cole special.
Located in the historic Elizabeth district, the center presents a
wide variety of events, from the common local high school and
college basketball games to the more pleasantly unexpected music of
Ani DiFranco. You might even open the door on a collection of
regional church youth sharing some Christian rock. Make the
minutes-long trip from Uptown to check out the current offerings."
What? No mention of Jim Crockett
Promotions Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling every Monday night at
the old Park Center?
They have no appreciation for the real history of that building!
Thanks to WrestlingMemories.com for
The sold-out Charlotte Park Center on
Monday night, July 22, 1968.
In the ring are Rip Hawk, Swede Hanson,
and Sailor Art Thomas preparing to battle George Harris, Bronko
Lubich and Aldo Bogni in a six man tag team match.
The interior of the Park Center (Grady
Cole) today set up for a wrestling show later that night.
Photo by Josh Boyd • April 10, 2009
MEMORIAL STADIUM AND
THE PARK CENTER
Memorial Stadium, Charlotte NC
War Memorial Stadium sits adjacent to
the Park Center/Grady Cole Center.
Where The Park
Center/Grady Cole center now stands was originally the National
Guard Armory. It burned in about 1954. The Park Center replaced it
This image shows the old National Guard
Armory and Memorial Stadium
as they looked circa early 1950s.
Thanks to Barry Caldwell who submitted
this image and information.
A peek inside Memorial Stadium today,
through the east gate. You can see the old press box sitting at top
of the grand stand.
(Photo taken 4/29/08 by Dick Bourne)
THE FIRST WRESTLING CARD AT THE PARK CENTER
(Thanks to Barry Caldwell for this
All Star Card in Charlotte – Rocca
Gastonia Gazette (now Gaston Gazette),
Monday, July 16, 1956
One of the most impressive cards in Jim Crockett’s 23 years as
Charlotte’s wrestling promoter has been booked for the reopening of
the mat game here tonight.
The headline match sends Argentina
Rocca, the giant South American star, against a newcomer from
Ireland, Skull Murphy, for a three-fall, one hour scuffle.
Then, taking almost as much attention,
will be a tag team mach involving the midgets. The little fellows
who, pound for pound, are probably wrestling’s greatest performers,
will line up like this:
Tito Infante and Cowboy Bradley,
totaling 184 pounds, versus Ivan the Terrible and Tiny Roe, a
collectively 188 pounds. It’ll also be for two of three falls, one
A pair of prelim scraps also bring in
headliners: George Becker will take on Harry Lewis while Jack Witzig
will battle Lou Klein.
The card will be the first event held
in Charlotte’s new, half million dollar Park Center, a beautiful,
air-conditioned structure erected on the site of the old burned-out
Charlotte has been without indoor
wrestling since the Armory burned to its foundation two years ago.
Monday’s bouts will get underway at
8:30 o’clock and a capacity crowd of 3,500 is expected.