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Encyclopedia Dubuque

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FIVE FLAGS CIVIC CENTER

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FIVE FLAGS CIVIC CENTER. The Five Flags Center is a multipurpose facility in downtown Dubuque. The complex is named for the five flags that have flown over Dubuque; the Fleur de Lis of France (1673–1763), the Royal Flag of Spain (1763–1803), the Union Jack of Great Britain (1780, during a brief interruption of Spanish rule), the French Republic Flag of Napoleon (1803) & America's Stars and Stripes (1803–Present).

The theater was constructed as the MAJESTIC THEATRE in 1910, replacing a theater originally built in 1864, that was destroyed by fire the same year year. The rebuilt theater was designed by George L. Rapp, who eventually became one of the nation's premier theater architects.

The theater was converted to a movie house in 1920. From 1929 to 1933 it was owned and operated by local prominent businessman Harker Brentnal SPENSLEY, Sr. Spensley, who was the president and manager, named the theater "The Spensley." It was later renamed the RKO Orpheum, ORPHEUM THEATER and later the FIVE FLAGS THEATER. By 1969 the building had fallen into disrepair and was scheduled for demolition during URBAN RENEWAL.

A committee of concerned citizens led by Wayne Andrew NORMAN, Sr. began a fund drive to save the theater, which was incorporated in the Five Flags Center project in 1972. Restoration was begun in 1975, and the theater was reopened in 1976 as the Five Flags Theater. It is currently the home of the DUBUQUE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, high school musicals, and occasional concerts and ballet productions. Arena

Five Flags Arena was conceived as part of a project to rehabilitate the Five Flags Theater. Construction began in 1976, and the facility opened in 1979. The $3.7 million complex wrapped around the theater and extended north between Locust and Main STREETS.

The arena can seat up to 5,200 for basketball, although in its primary use, ice hockey, actual seating capacity is only about 2,500.

It features one side of permanent seating; the other three sides are bleachers, some for Loras College basketball, and most of Dubuque's major concerts.

High school graduation ceremonies for Hempstead High School and Senior High School have been held at the center.

The Five Flags Center was formerly the main convention center in Dubuque. The Center featured a large exhibition hall with seating capacity of 4,700. The hall could be converted for use as an ice hockey rink with the removal of an insulated floor laid over the ice. It was also the former home of the DUBUQUE FIGHTING SAINTS (1980-2001) of the United States Hockey League from 1980–2001 and the home of the Dubuque Thunderbirds hockey team of the Central States Hockey League from 2001–2010.

Construction of other venues have impacted the use of the Center. In 2003 the building of the Grand River Event Center moved many events away from Five Flags. The MYSTIQUE COMMUNITY ICE CENTER hosts the expansion Dubuque Fighting Saints.

SMG took over operations of the arena in 2004, which were formerly handled by the City of Dubuque.

In 2005, the arena was closed during the summer for concession, entrance, and concourse renovation.