The Free Press, Mankato, MN

November 15, 2013

Doomed Metrodome chock full of history


The Mankato Free Press

---- — MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota’s puffy-topped Metrodome that has hosted monster truck rallies, the Final Four and the Super Bowl will soon hold its final event. Ahead of its demolition, historians and others are sizing up what should be saved.

The Metrodome will be razed to make way for the new Vikings stadium after the team finishes its current season. Minnesota Public Radio News reported Friday that the state Historical Society is among those scoping out items, including a portion of the roof.

The Dome was one of the first to have a roof sustained through pressurized air. It has been replaced since collapsing under the weight of snow in 2010.

Sports fans have contacted the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority to ask for features, though items might be sold through a surplus property auction process.

It’s unclear whether seats can be salvaged because they aren’t self-supporting and have only one arm-rest each. Officials say it could be cost prohibitive to hire a contractor to remove the seats rather than leave them for the demolition.

Some relics are already gone. The Twins, who played baseball there until 2009, took their home plate, a pitching rubber and the outfield seat where Kirby Puckett’s critical World Series home run landed.

The historical society already has some items.

“Probably the most important World Series piece we have from the ‘87 series is the Frankie ‘Sweet Music’ Viola banner that hung over the right field bleachers,” said Adam Scher, a curator for the society.

MSFA Chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen said hundreds of fan requests have come in.

“We’re just keeping lists of the hundreds of groups and organization, and schools and community groups that want, primarily seats, and some equipment, and turf, pieces of turf,” she said. “We’re going to come out with a process.”

The Vikings plan a Hall of Legends for the new stadium that likely will be incorporated into the concourses. Team spokesman Jeff Anderson said the hall would include some items from the Metrodome.

“We’re currently taking inventory of items, both from a functional perspective as well as from a memorabilia perspective,” Anderson said.

During construction of the new stadium, the Vikings will play at the nearby University of Minnesota.