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Memories of Playland roller-skating rink

Today’s post is very much thanks to the research of frequent commenter Audrey Lerew. She’d been digging in to info on York’s roller-skating rinks at the Heritage Trust library, and she sent me all the details, saying, “It would be cool to see how many other people remember.”

She also included the photo above, which shows Playland inside and out. Audrey spent a lot of time there, and said she really enjoyed finding out so much information!

What follows are Audrey’s notes. I encourage you to take a look and see what memories this information sparks for you. I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts on Playland and other skating rinks!

First roller skating rink was at the corner of Pine St & Reineke Place. It was destroyed by fire in the late 1890’s.

On the west side of 525 E. Market St there was an abandoned tannery. It was to become The Great White Rose Arena. It was renovated and remodeled. That was 1898. They had bicycle races, radio acts and played polo on skates. Skates were ball bearings and had to be oiled frequently.

They had a wood floor. 250 to 300 people skated. This was owned by J.W. Richley and managed by Charles “Poppy” Harkins. They eventually had live organ music.

I am trying to find the exact date it burnt down. It was in the 1948 City Directories but not in 1950. York Theatre was in the front.

I had told you before at the railroad track was Arena Cigar & News, M & H Pure Food Store, L & H 5 & 10, Bury’s had a restaurant, and then the theatre.

Also found out in 1906 the second floor of the Latimer Small building on North George Street opened as a rink for three seasons.

Playland Skating rink had a concrete floor. They started building it in 1941 and in July a wind storm came through when half built and destroyed it all. So next day they rebuilt and it opened Nov 14, 1941. It lasted 44 years. After the war it was renamed Roller Rink. Eventually it became Roll R Way East and another was built in the rear of the Delco Plaza which was Roll R Way West. Roll R Way East burnt and completely destroyed Nov 23, 1985. I am including a nice picture from a postcard of the exterior and interior of Playland. That was located across from East York Walmart. Playland was owned and operated by David Sternberg. They had live organ music.

Donald Faircloth who was a York City Bus Driver opened a rink in Weigelstown. I am not sure how many years it was there.

There was also a rink in Hanover. And Haar’s of Dillsburg also had a rink.

While researching, I found the original skates only had one wheel in the front and two in the back. Later they came out with what they called the “straight spindle” which gave you four wheels.

As a kid, I used to skate around the blocks and I had metal skates with four wheels and two clamps on the front sides, which you tightened to your shoes, and then a strap came around the ankle.

Audrey, thank you AGAIN for sharing this with us. Any other skating memories? I have my guesses as to who will respond… based on previous comments!

5 comments on “Memories of Playland roller-skating rink

  1. I went to roller way east til it burnt down then I went to roller way west I started skating when I was 4 when I was 17 I became a mom and lost interest in skating. I have so many memories from both rinks but mostly west. I even remember some names of people I met there! My first kiss even happened there! I stopped going in 1995 was anyone else there in the late 1980s til 1995?

  2. I was a professional roller skater being taught by Jim Wells at Playland in the late 1950 and 1960 John Conway ran the place for. Mr Sternberg

  3. I remember both Roll R Way East and west. Spent most of my time at Roll R Way East and met most of my girlfriends there. I fell at the beginning of a scare session and hurt my knee. It felt better when I moved it so I continued to scare. At the end of the night, I went to York Hospital ware I was told I had a broken knee. When I woke after surgery, a 17 year old nursing student came in and took care of me. We have been married for 33 years and she is still nursing me. I was stationed in Groton CT with the navy and went to a roller rink there. One nite I saw one of the floor guards from Roll R Way. I talked to him and found out the owners were Sue Perkins and her husband, I don’t remember his knee. They were the same owners of Roll R Way East.

  4. My husband now Larry Trimmer was speed skater there He skated for competition and raced all around the county. York ,Dauphin and the Harrisburg areas and the compition was based on trophey along with silver gold and sterling medals. In fact that is where I use to go on dates at Playland East with Larry. What wonderful memories

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