March 2, 2013

Bangor Auditorium era comes to an end

By Mike Lowe
Staff Writer

BANGOR — A season-long celebration of high school basketball at the Bangor Auditorium came to an end Saturday night with the final state championship games to be ever played there.

Early in the day, Class D championships were decided, with Washburn defeating Richmond 75-55 in the girls' game and Forest Hills winning its first boys' title with a 55-48 win over Central Aroostook, ending a nine-year Eastern hold on the boys' Gold Ball.

The Class C games were held Saturday night.

The Bangor Auditorium has been the site of Eastern and state basketball tournament games since 1956. It opened in 1955. But the storied building is going to be razed this spring and replaced next year with the Cross Insurance Center, a modern 6,000-seat arena.

In recognition of the many great high school basketball moments held in the auditorium, the Maine Principals' Association presented a plaque to Bangor Mayor Nelson Durgin and other city officials before the Class C girls' game.

"We're commemorating the players, coaches, officials and fans for the memories and enjoyment we've had over the years in the auditorium,' said Dick Durost, the executive director of the MPA.

The plaque included the words "Thanks for the memories.''

Most people present Saturday had mixed emotions.

"This chapter is ending, a new chapter is beginning,'' said Jerry Goss, a retired Brewer school official who has been the co-director of the Eastern tournaments for 11 years. "We're looking forward to the end today. And we're looking forward to opening a new building next year.''

Richard McQuesten, a long-time fan from Charleston, has his own seat (G16) and will miss it next year.

"I hate to see the old building go because it has so many memories,'' he said. "But the new building will create new ones.''

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