From the outside, the Astoria Armory is pretty nondescript. But as you step inside, you stare up at a fine example of the unique “lamella” roof and step on to a gym floor that looks brand new. You can imagine the stands full of people cheering on the Astoria High School basketball team; chairs filling the floor and the stands and bleachers full with Jack Benny on the stage for a USO show. Or, how about music blaring, lights flashing, and kids whizzing around on their roller skates during a Tuesday afternoon. Think about kids dancing to “Waltz Of The Flowers” in pink satin tutus for Jeanne Maddox’s Christmas dance recital. Or three thousand people listening to our elected Congressmen. Many can also remember the Royal Chinooks, a semi-pro basketball team playing there in the ’50′s and world renowned Harlem Globetrotters. Professional wrestling and boxing was always a mainstay. Also in the ’50′s, the Astoria Armory hosted home and garden events and auto shows. Who can forget the big rock bands that played the Armory? Including, Buffalo Springfield, The Zombies, Deep Purple, and Canned Heat. The place rocked through the ’60′s and ’70′s.
“The building was used for all types of local activities. Many civic affairs, and even circuses.” Remembered Mayor Willis VanDusen, “This is another example of great cooperation in the community. It’s what we call a win-win situation.”