The History of the Parquet Floor
The parquet floor that dawned the floors of the Boston Garden was as synonymous with the establishment as the Green Monster is with Fenway Park.
How did this oddly patterned surface come to fruition?
In 1946 Celtics owner Walter Brown funded the construction of a new floor for the team to play on. The floor, which cost about $11,000, was set in the Boston Arena (currently the Mathews Center home of the Northeastern Huskies).
The East Boston Lumber Company used scrap wood, originally cut in Tennessee for World War II purposes, as the material for the floor. The scraps used during a lumber shortage after the war were pieced together in an alternating pattern in order to get the most out of the material they had. When the Celtics moved to the Garden in 1952, the floor went with them.
Each of the 247 pieces were 5′ by 5′ and 1.5″ thick and they were held together by wood planks and brass screws that were connected by 988 bolts. In order to put the floor together, it took a team of many two and a half hours.
Many opposing players and coaches complained about the hodgepodge floor, as they claimed it had dead spots. Red Auerbach claimed the floor wasn’t nearly as bad as the floor at Madison Square Garden, but he said that didn’t stop him from using that notion to his advantage.
When the team moved to the Fleet Center in 1995, they brought the parquet with them. The floor was officially retired in 1999, as it was disassembled. Many of the pieces were sold as memorabilia and parts of it were integrated into the new floor.
When you think of the Garden, the picture of the mosaic floor immediately comes to mind. When you think of the Celtics and their famed decades of dominance, the famous plays that come to mind have the backdrop of the parquet.