Five Flags Center
The Five Flags Center is a multipurpose facility, in downtown Dubuque, Iowa. It is named for the five flags that have flown over Dubuque; the Fleur de Lis of France (1673-1763), the Royal Flag of Spain (1763-1803), the Union Jack of Great Britain (1780, during a brief interruption of Spanish rule), the French Republic Flag of Napoleon (1803) & America's Stars and Stripes (1803-Present).

The Five Flags Theater was constructed as the Majestic Theater in 1910, replacing a theatre originally built in 1864, that was destroyed by fire that year. It had been purchased then renovated by local prominent businessman Harker Brentnal Spensley, Sr. and his partner, C. H. Eighmey. The rebuilt theater was designed by George L. Rapp, who eventually became one of the nation's premier theater architects. It was converted to a movie house in 1920 and renamed 'Spensley Theater' in 1929. Constructed in a Renaissance Revival style with French influences, it was later renamed the RKO Orpheum and used to show movies. Eventually, it fell into disrepair and was slated for demolition during urban renewal in 1969. A committee made up of concerned citizens began a fund drive to save the theater, which was incorporated in the Five Flags Center project in 1972. Restoration was begun in 1975, and the theater was reopened in 1976 as the Five Flags Theater. It is currently the home of the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, high school musicals, and occasional concerts and ballet productions.

Five Flags Arena was conceived as part of a project to rehabilitate the Five Flags Theater. Construction began in 1976, and the facility opened in 1979. The first event was a concert, by Bob Hope. The arena can seat up to 5,200 for basketball, although in its primary use, ice hockey, actual seating capacity is only about 2,500. It features one side of permanent seating; the other three sides are bleachers, some for Loras College basketball, and most of Dubuque's major concerts. High school graduation ceremonies for Hempstead High School and Senior High School have been held at the center. The Five Flags Center was formerly the main convention center in Dubuque, but construction of the Grand River Event Center in 2003, moved many events away from Five Flags. It was also the former home of the Dubuque Fighting Saints (1980-2001) of the United States Hockey League from 1980-2001 and the home of the Dubuque Thunderbirds hockey team of the Central States Hockey League from 2001-2010. Dubuque will soon have a new Ice Arena, called Mystique Ice Center, which began construction in the spring of 2008 and will open in Fall of 2010. This will aleve the headache of ice time for skating, and other events. SMG took over operations of the arena in 2004, which were formerly handled by the City of Dubuque. In 2005, the arena was closed during the summer for concession, entrance, and concourse renovation.

Building Activity

  • Kevin Love
    Kevin Love commented
    Great building remember going to movies there when I was a kid
    about 6 years ago via Mobile