“Rolling, Rolling, Rolling By the River”

Susanne reminded me about roller skating at indoor rinks, and I also have her to thank for sharing the “slideshow block” in the block editor. As I write I will refer you to each of the four photos above which you can view using the arrows. Cool trick. Thanks Susanne.

I have written before about loving to roller skate outside at my grandparents because they had sidewalks. At home, however, there was no place to skate outdoors. Fortunately we lived just across the river from the magnificent Oaks Park roller rink. Built in 1905 and in use continuously since, it featured a huge Wurlitzer organ shown in the first picture. One could watch the organist through a glass window as he theatrically played the enormous instrument. A style of music which I will forever associate with roller skating plays now and then at church, causing me a quiet chuckle.

We rented skates at the counter pictured in the second photo. Generally the girls’ skates were white and the boys’ brown. To my occasional dismay sometimes they had to substitute the equivalent size boys’ skates when my size was already rented. The lace up leather skates had been used for years, but were well maintained and worked well.

The third photo shows the variety of designated times for the rink. When the light changed, for instance, from all skate to couples only, they would clear the floor and only let couples back on. As they undoubtedly planned, this was our chance to head for a snack. When things got rowdy they would flash the “Slower” sign and floor monitors would make sure we complied. You can barely make out the top direction “Grand March.” Each two hour skating session ended with one of the floor monitors holding a huge ring. You could join one of four lines of skaters radiating out from the ring. The center figure started turning in circles as we all began skating. Faster and faster we went until skaters at the end let go, leaving stronger ones hanging on.

The fourth photo shows one end of the rink where you could practice racing up and down over speed bumps. I always loved zooming back and forth there when I had the chance.

What about the river in my title? Oaks Park was built next to the Willamette River which routinely flooded. After having to repair damage after two major floods, the owners made it possible to float the floor if another threatened. Until then, things keep rolling along, although covid has closed the rink for a while.

30 thoughts on ““Rolling, Rolling, Rolling By the River”

  1. I never knew of any roller-skating rinks in London. But I was very good on roller skates, unlike my lack of talent on the ice. However, my ‘roller-rink’ was the pavemants of London’s side-streets, and the tarmac roads when traffic was light. And my skates were called ‘Jacko Skates’. They fitted over my regular shoes using straps and laces, and had to constantly be tightened after bouts of frantic skating.

    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your slideshow is perfect! I’m glad we bloggers learn from each other. 🙂 Your skating rink looks bigger and maybe a bit fancier than the one I went to, but otherwise just the same. We had a stage
    where the announcer would tell us what special skate we were doing next. I can still see him skating up to the stage, taking the mike and in a pleasant voice with exactly the same tone and inflection each time – “all right skaters, please stop skating, it’s time for the Grand March! (or, Four Corners or Couples Only.) Good times!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve probably told you this before, but our son did his undergraduate work at Willamette University in Salem.

    Going to the skating rink was the place to go for many young people before malls gained popularity.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember roller skating rinks. There is one nearby, Roll-A-Rama I think. In the 80’s they added disco lights. My kids loved it. As a child, the rinks were a favorite for birthday parties.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My husband’s son’s used to rollerskate competitively and the family travelled all over Europe for competitions. Unfortunately the UK media didn’t follow rollerskating, even though his youngest son and partner became European junior champions and even, I believe made inroads on the adult championship. You can still find videos of Peter Cade and his partner Vienna on YouTube today. When they met Torvill and Dean, Jayne Torvill was surprised at the weight of the rollerskates that Vienna had to dance in.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. He went with a school friend (primary school) to a leisure centre with a roller skating rink. and Pete has an incredible sense of balance. He injured a knee, but he’s keen on ski-ing now, when we’re allowed out of the country again…


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