Ramsey County History Summer 2023 – Roller Skating

Ramsey County History Summer 2023 – Roller Skating
Heidi Heller

Volume 58, Number 2: Summer 2023

Rolling through the Decades
Roller Skating in Ramsey County

Author: Heidi Heller

What better way to spend a Saturday night than rolling ‘round and ‘round a skate floor with friends? Some will remember the disco era, complete with a sparkly, mirrored ball and the upbeat music of the Bee Gees and Donna Summer. Roll back a little farther in time to recall skating to a thunderous organ—girls in poodle skirts; guys with slicked-back hair and leather jackets. Did you know that, in Ramsey County, roller skating rinks go back farther still? In fact, the first two rinks—Wigwam and Market Hall—opened in 1883 (albeit briefly). And, was there ever an uproar! Pastors and doctors debated the pros and MANY cons of this new “fad” in local newspapers. Eventually, the naysayers quieted—perhaps because they, too, strapped on a pair of four-wheeled skates and got caught up in the fun. In the following article, author Heidi Heller shares the history of the sport and the many county and city rinks, along with memories from those who worked behind the skate counter, won recognition in competitions, or simply spent every weekend night at the rink as teenagers.

PDF of H. Heller article.