- GEN - Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium imploded

Monday, February 12
Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium imploded

PITTSBURGH – A cloud of dust went up, and Three Rivers Stadium came down.

Sunday marked the end of one of the nation's best-known stadiums – site of one of football's most famous plays and a Pittsburgh pro sports resurgence in the 1970s.
Three Rivers Stadium
Three Rivers Stadium comes down in only 19 seconds after 30 years of service in Pittsburgh.

Thousands of onlookers cheered the implosion of the 30-year-old home of the Pirates and Steelers. Experts loaded 4,800 pound of dynamite into the mammoth circular stadium last week to clear the way for separate baseball and football stadiums nearby.

The stadium's western wall tumbled inward and the rest of the structure collapsed into a cloud of dust. The $5.1 million implosion lasted about 19 seconds.

"This is a very bittersweet day for me," Mayor Tom Murphy said. "I remember being here at the last baseball game of the '95 season when we weren't sure that we were even going to have a team anymore."

Three Rivers opened in 1970 at a cost of $36 million. It immediately boosted the Pirates and Steelers.

After moving in at midseason, the Pirates ended a 10-year championship drought by winning the first of their nine divisional titles. They also won two NL pennants and World Series titles in 1971 and 1979.

The Steelers soon became a dynasty, winning four Super Bowls in six years and churning out several Hall of Famers.

The stadium also saw one of the most famous plays in NFL history, a wildly deflected touchdown pass from Terry Bradshaw to Franco Harris in a 1972 playoff game that was instantly dubbed the "Immaculate Reception."

Former Pirates manager Jim Leyland watched from the nearby D.L. Clark Building. His teams won the NL East in the stadium in 1990, 1991 and 1992.

"You know, I didn't feel much about it until today," he said. "I got a little sentimental seeing it happen."

PNC Park opens with the Pirates and Mets in an exhibition game March 31, and the unnamed Steelers stadium opens this fall.

Joseph King, 16, won a raffle to earn the right to push a plunger to start the demolition. The blast was followed by a round of fireworks.

"This is the greatest day of my life," King said. "I heard the bangs, and it seemed like forever before it went down."


 Three Rivers stadium is turned into a pile of rubble.
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