The history of the Garrett Coliseum.
A long past with a secure future.
The Alabama Agricultural Center is a one hundred eighteen acre multipurpose complex located approximately three miles northeast of downtown Montgomery. The Agricultural Center was opened in October of 1953 and since that time some twenty-five million people have attended an event held on these grounds.
Ideally located in the heart of the Southeast the Agricultural Center complex is home of the world famous Garrett Coliseum which has permanent seating for 8,500 with temporary seating for an additional 4,000. The arena floor itself is 33,800 sq. Ft., 260 ft. X 130 ft. making it only ten yards short of a regulation football field. In addition to the coliseum, the complex includes the Ed Teague arena which is a 7,000 sq. Ft. multipurpose building, the W. O. Crawford covered arena, a 14,000 sq. Ft. exhibit building, a 14,000 sq. Ft. creative living building, the Homer Lewis swine barn, a dairy barn which houses a $40,000 milk parlor, a livestock barn and twenty-two horse barns with a capacity for 600 horses. All total, these buildings offer 250,000 sq. Ft. under roof with 85,000 sq. Ft. of concrete floor space.
The Alabama National Fair is the largest annual event bringing over 200,000 people to the facility followed by the Southeastern Livestock Exposition Rodeo and Livestock week held each spring. This event will attract approximately 100,000 spectators.
The Alabama Agricultural Center is an ideal facility for presenting family entertainment and in addition to the fair and rodeo week can also host concerts, social events, expositions and trade shows, arena football, dog shows, horse and cattle shows and sales, liquidation sales, ice shows, banquets, monster trucks and numerous other activities.
Ground breaking for the Alabama State Coliseum, as it was originally named, was August 31, 1948, and the open house and dedication of the 1.5 million dollar complex was held in October of 1953 with planning and construction spanning three administrations to include Governors Chauncey Sparks, James E. Folsom, and Gordon Persons.
The first concert held in the coliseum was before completion on July 15, 1951 and was a country music concert featuring Hank Williams, Hank Snow and the Carter Sisters.
In 1963 the name was officially changed to Garrett Coliseum in memory of William Walter Garrett of Monroe County who served for many years in the state legislature and actually sponsored the legislation for construction of the coliseum.
Several entertainers have drawn capacity crowds to the coliseum to include Lionel Richie and the commodores, Prince, Elvis Presley, Kenny Rogers, George Strait, Alan Jackson, Kenny Chesney, Elton John, and the Globe Trotters.
Now over sixty years old and in need of major renovation, the Garrett Coliseum is still structurally sound and continues to be competitive with the ultra modern, multimillion dollar facilities located in neighboring states.