I had the privilege of meeting the family and staff who run Skateland Raleigh, East End, and Cordova Skating Centers. The goal was to discover if and how Skateland Raleigh was in connection to the Skateland on Old Summer road. In the end, I left with so much more. The family who runs the business are a pure delight, warm, and they keep their office cozy. In one corner near the entrance, is a mass collection of memorabilia and keepsakes of roller skating’s historical past: pictures of skate champions, a case of wooden wheels (how skate wheels were first made), and a display of old roller skates are just to name a few. Posted on one wall is “Spalding’s Official Roller Skating Guide,” listing rink rules in 1910 which included the prohibiting of:
a. smoking (except in the smoking room) and tobacco spitting
c. stopping (not even for an instant, except to assist a lady)
f. climbing stairs with skates on
And Ladies and gentlemen should make every effort to skate in couples for this is most graceful.
Skating in pairs and even in fours was quite common at Skateland. They offered skating lessons and trained a number of great roller skaters aimed to compete at state and national championships. Today, East End and Cordova Skating Centers still offer skating lessons by 84-year old Coach Caroline, a woman who has been a part of the crew for a lifetime and basically a part of the family.
After discovering a portion of Skateland’s history, we walked over to the actual rink. When I first stepped inside and laid eyes upon that maple floor, a feeling of nostalgia overcame me. It had been a good number of years since I stepped inside a roller rink, and while I had never been skillful on the skates (mostly when stopping), I consumed a bit of desire to take on a couple of laps. I believe it must be natural when we are in the presence of a bowling alley, a carnival, or a skating rink, a bit of our childhood emerges from us. If nothing else, perhaps fond memories are recollected.
Take Ted and Gretta Moyes for example.. they first met at the old East End skating, fell in love, and in 1979 opened East End Skating center on Mount Moriah.
I am told roller skating goes through phases. At times it’s huge and other times it phases out but people always come back. They remember coming as a child and so they bring their children. No matter what age the kid is when visiting the rink, 9 or 29, roller skating will always be remembered.