Anyone have a color photo of the old Checkerdome roof?

News-DemocratAugust 15, 2013 

This is what happens when the Answer Man is on vacation.

People send me inquiries, somehow believing that I might have answers when I have made it plain that I only have questions.

Anyway, a woman from Mascoutah sent me an email wondering about the checkered roof on the old, long-gone Checkerdome.

"I have been on the hunt for a picture of the St. Louis Arena when it was known as the Checkerdome AND had the red and white checkered roof," she wrote.

I believe she is going to be looking for a long time and the only result she will get is the one she says she has where a friend colored a black and white picture for her.

"I have spent countless hours scouring the Internet, asking questions of locals, and I have had no luck finding a picture. Online, I have found people referencing the checkered roof. Some people tell me I'm crazy, and that it never had a checkered roof. However, many I have spoken with remember it as I do."

This all comes up because of the recent anniversary of the demolition of the Arena, which was imploded back in 1999. The woman was telling her son about passing the building when she was pregnant with him, driving back and forth to her appointments with her doctor. One day it was there, the next appointment it was gone, she said.

But now that she wants to show him a picture of the building with its glorious red and white checkered roof, she can't find any.

Her research found the building was the Arena for a long time, then became the Checkerdome when it and the St. Louis Blues were owned by Ralston Purina, from 1977-83.

After that it reverted to being called the Arena.

She even contacted the Missouri Historical Society.

"They remember it being checkered, but have no picture either," she said.

Other people have remembered it only having a checkered border around the roof. That probably didn't happen either.

The fact is that all the pictures show it had only a checkerboard pattern affixed to each of the four towers at each corner of the building.

But, just to tantalize this woman and keep her hopes alive, I found an obscure reference in an Associated Press story from 1999 referring to the late 1970s when the building was owned by Ralston-Purina. It said, "... the roof had a rather familiar pattern."

Here's the cool part about answering questions, letting someone else do the work.

Anyone who can produce a color picture of a red and white checkered roof would be a hero. I wouldn't even mind being wrong.

Which, of course, is just another reason why I'm the question man, not the Answer Man.

Have a column idea? Call Wally at 618-239-2506 or 800-642-3878; or email:

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