Bayfront Auditorium

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Bayfront Auditorium (originally known as the Pensacola Municipal Auditorium) was a building that sat for fifty years at the foot of Palafox Street, overlooking Pensacola Bay. It was demolished in 2005.

The building opened in 1955. It was managed by former Pensacola mayor Walter Wicke from its opening until Wicke's death in 1966.[1]

During its lifetime, the building was host to some of the world's biggest musical acts. Elvis Presley performed at the auditorium on February 26, 1956.[2] The building also hosted the Civil Airs Dance Club and the Pensacola Junior League's annual "Bargain Sale" fundraiser.

The building began to lose its appeal to more modern venues with better acoustics and more accessible parking. As more musical acts chose to perform at the larger Pensacola Civic Center and more intimate Saenger Theatre, Bayfront Auditorium fell into disrepair. In its final years, the City of Pensacola was losing more than $100,000 every year to keep it open.[3]

Bayfront Auditorium was slated for demolition in 2004, to be replaced by a new municipal auditorium as part of the Festival Park project on the Trillium site, but got a reprieve when that project was halted by a voter referendum. However, after receiving extensive damage during Hurricane Ivan, the building was again deemed unsalvageable. Big Dog Demolition completed the demolition on July 24, 2005, and debris was used for offshore fishing reefs and in Phase II of Project GreenShores.[4]

Plaza de Luna was built on the site of the auditorium in 2006.