Founded to commemorate local US veterans, Lowell Memorial Auditorium's imposing, neoclassical exterior is ringed with inscriptions immortalizing famous generals and pivotal battles throughout the years, including Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, and San Juan Hill. The venue's history hasn't been all serious, however?in its early years, shortly after Word War I, its most popular event was the weekly Bingo game, which often attracted up to 3,000 participants and prompted Life to call Lowell a "natural Bingopolis." The decades following saw everything from conventions and civic affairs to performances by Benny Goodman and the Golden Gloves boxing tournament. By 1979 the building was so worn down from floods, hurricanes, and economic depression that it necessitated a major renovation to bring it into the modern era. Today, its stage is fit for Broadway-scale shows, the behind-the-stage balcony is gone, and air conditioning protects against summer heat and litigious snowmen.