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Long before television, most Americans relied on traveling theatrical companies to come through their city and perform for two weeks or more. The Trust Building housed the Academy of Arts on its second floor. Designed by Hook and Rogers, the building itself opened in 1902 at 210-212 South Tryon Street. It featured a beautiful, ornamental pediment on top which was typical of the Beaux Art style which was popular at that time. The Academy featured several levels for viewing vaudeville acts and various operas. It could accomadate 1,350 people.
Six years later, Civic Auditorium opened its doors in May of 1908 for the Democratic State Convention. It was designed by L.L. Hunter. The three-story, fireproof building could seat 4,500, and the seats were moveable on the first floor. Numerous vaudevillian acts came through Charlotte. In 1909, a basektball game took place with all of the players wearing roller skates.