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Hilton Rising: Iowa Time Machine June 16, 1968

Iowa Time Machine ⏰: On June 16, 1968, Iowa State University broke ground on Hilton Coliseum in Ames. An iconic arena known for its legendary “Hilton Magic,” many memorable Cyclone moments in the building hold a special place in the minds of Iowa State fans.

A part of the larger Iowa State Center plan conceived in the 1960s, crews broke ground on the complex meant to provide a center for culture and athletics on the southeastern corner of Iowa State’s campus. Named in honor of the Iowa State Center plan’s great advocate Dr. James H. Hilton (ISU President from 1953 to 1965), the $8.15 building opened to the public on December 2, 1971, when the Cyclone men’s basketball team welcomed the University of Arizona.

Home to Cyclone basketball teams, wrestling, volleyball, and gymnastics, the Coliseum also hosts concerts, graduations, and other events in the 14,356-seat space. The facility even hosted wrestling and gymnastics meets at the same time during 2006 and 2008 during a promotion known as “Beauty and the Beast.”

“Hilton Magic” first appeared in print when Des Moines Register sportswriter Buck Turnball headlined a story, “Hilton Magic Spells ‘Upset’ One More Time,” following a men’s basketball victory over #3 ranked University of Missouri on Valentine’s Day 1989. Large crowds of Cyclone faithful pair with solid concrete architecture to hold in sound, making Hilton Coliseum one of the loudest venues in college athletics. #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryCalendar


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