A Brief History of America’s Center

Here’s a timeline of milestone events from the history of the America’s Center convention complex.

June 1977
First convention held in facility – NAACP.

July 1977
Grand Opening Ceremony for center was held. Final construction cost: $34 million.

November 1983
City of St. Louis officials began considering the facility.

April 1985
City approved Center Director Bruce T. Sommer’s formal request for a feasibility study to be conducted to determine the site and amount of growth necessary for St. Louis to remain a competitive convention destination.

November 1985
Formal expansion study was submitted to the City by Laventhol & Horwath, Certified Public Accountants.

February 1986
St. Louis Mayor Vince Schoemehl announced plans for expansion and appointed a committee of hospitality industry and civic leaders to research funding sources for the project.

May 1986
Mayor Schoemehl announced plans to pursue the construction of a domed expansion to the convention center which includes exhibition and meeting space and more than 60,000 fixed seats.

June 1986
St. Louis Aldermen approved a bill which allowed for the refinancing of a 1978 convention center bond issue which would generate $12 million for renovation of the existing facility and land acquisition for the south expansion.

July 1987
St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved bills that placed proposals on the November 3, 1987 ballot for city voters to adopt a one-half cent percent increase in the restaurant sales tax and a hotel license fee of $2 per occupied room to finance the expansion of the convention center.

November 1987
City of St. Louis voters approved the two tax propositions to pay for the first expansion to the Convention Center.

November 1988
Expansion financing was set when $80 million in bonds were sold on the first day of issue.

April 1989
Missouri State Senate approved a bill allowing the State of Missouri to enter into a contract to participate in financing the construction of the eastward expansion (The Dome) to St. Louis’ Convention Center.

July 1989
Demolition work begins on the expansion site for the south expansion.

July 1989
Missouri Governor John Ashcroft signed the bill that authorized State financing of the eastward expansion (The Dome).

January 1990
St. Louis County Council voted to place on the ballot an increase in the county tax on hotel rooms to finance a portion of the Convention Center eastward expansion (The Dome).

April 1990
County voters approved the hotel tax thereby guaranteeing the funding for the eastward expansion (The Dome).

August 1990
Foundation construction begins on the south expansion.

October 1990
Topping Out ceremony held for the south expansion.

July 1992
Ground breaking ceremony held for the eastward expansion (The Dome).

February 1993
Construction completed on new 100,000 square feet of exhibit space in the south expansion. St. Louis Boat and Sport Show is the first event to use the new exhibit space combined with the existing halls for a total exhibition area of 340,000 square feet.

April 1993
The remaining public areas of the southward expansion are complete.

May 1993
Official dedication and grand opening celebration are held for the south expansion. Building rededicated as “America’s Center.”

June 1993
Construction continues on the eastward expansion (The Dome).

January 1995
Rams announce plans to move to St. Louis and play in The Dome.

August 1995
The Dome becomes the Trans World Dome at America’s Center, a name that will last until May 2001 when TWA was acquired by American Airlines and the TWA name was dropped from the facility.

November 1995
Rams play inaugural game in The Dome at America’s Center.

December 1995
Primerica Financial Services convention, 40,000 delegates strong, became the first convention group to utilize the entire America’s Center complex including The Dome at America’s Center.

January 1999
On January 27, 1999, more than 104,000 people filled the America’s Center complex to participate in the Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II. historic event was reported to be the largest indoor gathering ever held in the United States.

January 2000
The St. Louis Rams NFL team won two NFC playoff games inside The Dome at America’s Center. The wins propelled the team to St. Louis’ first-ever football world championship by wining Super Bowl XXXIV.

February 2002
The St. Louis Rams NFL team won two NFL playoff games on “home” turf at the Dome to become the champions of the NFC. The facility’s named changed to the Edward Jones Dome.

March 2016
The facility’s name changed to The Dome at America’s Center.

Updated: February 19, 2016

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