March 26, 2000: Kingdome imploded

Fourteen years ago today, Seattle’s Kingdome was demolished.

The following day’s Herald front page reads “Touchdown! Implosion blasts stadium to Kingdome come.” The caption under the main photo refers to the building as much anticipated in the early days and dreaded as an “anachronistic eyesore” near the end.

The multipurpose stadium was opened in 1976 and operated by King County. Throughout the years it hosted the Seahawks, SuperSonics, Mariners and Sounders, as well as concerts and events. CenturyLink Field now stands in its place.

The Herald article follows two men who traveled from the 216-person town of Humptulips to witness the implosion. One of them, Frank Hejna, was a Harley Davidson motorcycle mechanic.

“There ain’t much action where we live,” Hejna says.

They rented a hotel room in Seattle and awoke at 4 a.m. to get in line for a good view. An hour later, they were joined only by a Seattle Center worker sweeping the area beneath the Space Needle.

“We figured there would be a whole bunch of people here,” Hejna says. “Not too many people had the same idea, I guess.”

Later, though, thousands would show up to see the Guinness World Record-setting implosion.

“It’s stomped flat,” one onlooker says. “Godzilla couldn’t have done a better job.”

Also in the news were the 72nd Academy Awards. Kevin Spacey, who in 2014 may have reached the pinnacle of his fame with “House of Cards,” had just won Best Actor for “American Beauty,” a dark comedy about a melancholic man sulking around suburbia. The film won a total of five awards, including Best Picture.

Best Actress went to Hillary Swank for her role as a transsexual man in “Boys Don’t Cry.” Swank lived in Bellingham for a spell before heading to Hollywood.

Read more from The Herald’s March 27, 2000, issue and others in our collection of historic front pages.

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