Local News

Online Auction for Historic Civic Seats

(La Porte, IN) - The public will get a chance to own some of the original wooden seats in the near century old Civic Auditorium in La Porte as a one-week online auction for the seats is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. on Friday and will end at 12 p.m. on June 16th.


Civic Auditorium Director Brent Binversie said 270 of the 1,382 seats in the building where the late comedian Bob Hope once performed, will go out for bid. There are just three single seats in the building, while the rest come in sections of mostly 13 seats held together on a single steel frame.


Just the single seats and sections of two to seven seats along with a handful of 13 seat sections will be available for bidding. Binversie said the rest of the seats will be turned over to Larson Danielson Construction, the LaPorte based company hired to take out the seats as part of the final stage of a $6 million modernization of the building.  Larson Danielson was involved in constructing the Civic Auditorium completed in 1929.


“We’re very happy to have them involved in the renovation project here in 2023,” he said.


Work on removing the old seats is scheduled to begin June 12th. They will be replaced with plastic seats that are two inches wider with cushions and cup holders. In turn, the seating aisles and steps will be widened. Hand rails in the aisles are also going to be installed.


Binversie said the idea is for the audience to feel more comfortable and safer while attending concerts, sporting events and other functions.


He said the upcoming improvements, which include air conditioning, will better position the Civic Auditorium booked more for entertainment by the city in recent years for hosting additional events particularly during the summer.


Binversie believes there will be a good response to the auction because of the history of the seats. He said the seats also carry sentimental value for people who used to attend LaPorte High School basketball games years ago when the facility was the home of the Slicers or some other major event or special occasion.


“We have received a lot of calls about when they are going up for sale,” he said.


The bidding will start at $50 for single seats and climb until reaching $350 for 13 seat sections. Money collected from the auction will be placed into the general fund of the Park Department, which oversees the Civic Auditorium.


Big names acts who performed there in more recent times include country music superstars Randy Travis and Clint Black along with the late Davey Jones of the Monkees.


Park Department Superintendent Mark Schreiber said Charlie Finley brought his World Series champion Oakland A’s to the Civic Auditorium for a banquet in the early 70’s.


Finley, who died in 1996, lived just outside LaPorte.


“I think it’s a great opportunity for those who want a piece of LaPorte history to be able to own it,” he said.


The public can find the auction at laportecivicauditorium.com or on the Facebook pages of the Civic Auditorium, the Park Department and the City of LaPorte.

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