Roller Skating Rinks – Are they extinct?

Lately, I’ve had several occasions to travel down a road that was a huge part of my childhood. It’s a nondescript, busy city street, but it housed the place that I spent loads of time at…a roller skating rink.

I skated all through my childhood and into my teen and young adult years. I looked back through my pictures and I don’t have a single print of me in skates, which is a bummer. So it’s all memory pictures. Of school skating parties. Of Mom dropping me off to skate for the night. Even overnight skates.

I skated in the races for a free pop. I did the Hokey Pokey with everyone else. I met my first husband there.

The coolest thing about this particular rink? My mother skated there when she was a young woman. And I had the opportunity several times to take my daughter skating there. In fact, one of my funniest stories is hers. She’s very outgoing and was even more so as a child. I was divorced at the time, so she’d decided it was her job to find me a new guy and proceeded to tell one of the regulars there all about our lives and that I was looking for a new husband. Mortification, anyone? It’s something we laugh about to this day.

But time marches on, and before my daughter hit double digits, the rink was torn down in favor of a lot to sell cars. To this day, I refuse to step foot on that property and will never buy a car from that business (which has changed names several times, but I can hold a grudge with the best of them.) And it’s still bittersweet to drive by there. Mostly sweet because I have so many happy memories of that place. I miss it still and it’s been 30 years since it closed.

Skating rinks are slowly dying off around here, much like drive-in movies. There’s now only one local rink left. Do you have a skating rink in your area? Or a drive-in movie, for that matter? Any places from your childhood that fill you with fond memories?

And, since I don’t have a skating picture, here’s a picture of teenage me, maybe on a night when I’m getting ready to go skating? By the way, aren’t those some lovely olive drab drapes? Hard to believe those were ever popular, but they were. lr 2


11 responses to “Roller Skating Rinks – Are they extinct?

  1. Valerie J. Patterson

    What a very lovely YOU! Our local rink was converted into many office spaces, which is sad because the local kids have nowhere to go now. The rink I “grew up” in is still back home and still functioning. I’ve gone to quite a few skating parties with my nieces and nephews over the years, though it has been probably a decade since I was last there. Friday nights were for football and basketball games, but Saturday nights were skating nights. Locally, we still have a drive-in, too. Though, the current owner is the main reason we do no patronize it any longer. You see, he searches cars for snacks and drinks and either asks you to throw it out or to leave. One of the reasons families go to drive-ins is because it’s far less expensive than a theater and you didn’t have to use the concession stand, which is also expensive. He’s been known to flash a light in car windows to see what you’re eating and drinking, too, which goes beyond ridiculousness. He nearly had to close last summer because he’s lost so much business, but he still doesn’t get how offensive he is. Sadly, new technology will force many drive-ins to close.

    Anyway, thank you for the stroll–er rather–skate down memory lane, Laurie!

    • That drive-in owner has gotten so concerned about the bottom line that he’s forgotten about the magic that sent us all to these outdoor movie venues. That’s sad. And not a place I would want to patronize.

      But I do miss skating. And it sounds like I’m not the only one. I forgot to mention all the school skating parties I went to and took my kids to, so thanks for bringing that up. Lots of fun memories.

  2. Funny we drove by the local skating rink the other day. My kids went there and then the grand kids. It’s still operating but in my day the rink was out on one of the lakes. I was never good at skating, no balance but that didn’t keep me from going. I hope the rinks see a resurrection they were a good healthy place or least the local one here was.

    • One of the lakes…ice skating, right? It’s funny. I was always pretty good at roller skating, but can’t ice skate for beans. Weak ankles, I guess. and I agree we need a resurrection. This is good, wholesome, fun exercise!

  3. They finally closed the last skating rink in Kelso and no drive in movie (turned into par three golf and then sold to a church). Like you I have fond memories of those when I was little. Strange though, when we moved to Rainier we never dis that anymore, probably bwcause of the bridge toll.

  4. We never really had outdoor movies here in the UK, but boy did we have skating rinks. I grew up near the sea, and we had a huge skating rink on the local common. After skating we’d get ice cream and take a walk along the seafront to the funfair. Happy times. Thanks for the reminder, Laurie. Love the photo!

    • I miss roller skating, but I’d probably break my neck if I tried these days. Lol. I’m so glad we’ve all be able to take a little walk down memory lane, because skating was a huge part of my growing up years.

  5. Lovely post and fab photo! Where I lived we didn’t have any roller skating rinks, but the area had three ice-skating rinks – which I could not do, couldn’t even stand up on the skates. We used to roller skate in the streets, and boy! it was fun. I was good at that, about the only type of race I could win. Yes, we fell over lots, but that was half the fun. Great days. Lovely to be reminded.

    • No way can I (or could I) ice skate. Weak ankles, I guess. I did have a pair of street skates, too. I don’t remember doing that as much as in the rink, but I’m sure we did. I”m glad you liked the memory visit. 🙂

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