FELIKS BANEL

Stifled tears and a lump in the throat when Kingdome imploded 20 years ago

Mar 26, 2020, 12:06 PM | Updated: 2:39 pm
Kingdome implosion...
The implosion of the Kingdome. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

It was 20 years ago today that the awful, wonderful, terrible and amazing old Kingdome “multi-purpose domed stadium” was intentionally imploded to make way for what’s now CenturyLink Field.

KIRO Radio covered it live, with Dave Ross and Dori Monson watching and doing the play-by-play (and, heck, even some color commentary) from just south of where the old Dome had stood since 1976.

In 2000, I was deputy director of the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI), where we had, in the previous week, sold more than $10,000 worth of merchandise from the old Kingdome Gift Shop – castoffs that had been donated to MOHAI by King County. The mugs, keychains, pieces of turf, and bags of infield dirt had sold like hotcakes, as they say.

For the Sunday morning implosion, I watched from a party at a friend’s house on the east side of the hilltop of Magnolia. About 20 minutes before the implosion, I excused myself and went outside to where my 1982 Toyota Supra was parked.

I had set up my gear — a really nice Sony portable shortwave/FM/AM radio with a line-level output jack, which I connected to a late 1990s state-of-the-art Sony portable cassette recorder that was loaded with a Maxell 90-minute cassette (45 mins per side) — on the passenger side floorboards.

I turned on the radio and tuned it to 710 AM, then pressed “RECORD/PLAY” on the tape deck, checked the recording levels, and headed back to rejoin the party. This audio history time capsule was waiting for me when I returned, and I’ve had the cassette ever since.

Our view was obscured a bit by fog that morning, but we could clearly see the explosive charges as they detonated along the radii of concrete beams holding up the roof. I felt a lump in my throat and stifled a few tears as a venue where so many things had happened – and where’d I’d been to countless lousy Mariners games with my late father in the 1970s – disappeared into a cloud of dust.

Little did I know that I’d be working at KIRO Radio 20 years later and able to share this audio to mark the anniversary.

You can hear Feliks every Wednesday and Friday morning on Seattle’s Morning News and read more from him here. If you have a story idea, please email Feliks here.

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Stifled tears and a lump in the throat when Kingdome imploded 20 years ago