Thursday, December 16, 2010

1884 Roller Skating Rink

Just a few years ago, at the corner of West Grand River and North Ann Street, a very large, white building stood and was used by the Fowlerville Lumber Company as the storage building for their lumber. When the lumberyard was closed, this building was dismantled and moved to a farm on South Fowlerville Road, reconstructed, improved, and is now being used as a vehicle-maintenance building. This is the recent history of this building.
The old history is this large barn began in 1884, when it was constructed. The following article was found in an issue of The Fowlerville Review:
Mr. E. Sheldon, of Byron, has leased a piece of land in R. Fowler's orchard, corner of Grand River Avenue and Ann Street, and will erect thereon a roller skating rink. The building will be 40x120 in size and 16 feet high, with a gallery around the entire building on the inside. The building will be built at a cost of about $1,800, and will be the first building in the county erected exclusively for the purpose.
A few months after the building was completed, one of the first events was,
The Fowlerville Firemen will give a dance at the roller skating rink this evening. The boys are in need of a little money, and as the cause is a worthy one, all who indulge in that kind of pastime should make it a point to attend.
It would appear the editor of the paper was quite fascinated with the rink as he would sometimes wax poetically, such as,
An exchange thus poetically does the rink business: If all of life could be as smooth as roller skating in the rink, no charm would be required to smooth the many ills from which we shrink; mankind might glide through life in peace, unmindful of the bitter fates, and all things move as slick as grease -- as smooth as life on roller skates.
And, he was always vigilant in keeping everyone up to speed on improvements, such as,
The ceiling of the roller rink is being covered with builder's paper, which will add much to its warmth and appearance.
And now for a few rules when roller skating, as published by G.L. Adams in The Fowlerville Review, that maybe should have been adopted for the Fowlerville roller rink:
The new skating rink at Sidney, Nebraska, have adopted the following rules, and we suggest that they be adopted by our new rink. They are the latest rules on skating rink flirtation:
One leg in the air -- catch on.
Two legs in the air -- head me off.
Making a back somersault and lighting on your neck -- I'm mashed.
Mashing one's self and partner into the wall -- let us expire together.
Casting yourself headlong on the floor -- my despaire is great; ye love me not.
To make a rush for the banisters and fall down -- fly with me my true love.
Punching your neighbor in the stomach with your foot -- beg a thousand pardons.
Remaining on the floor in a sitting posture -- will someone please assist me?
A backward flip or the heel and a sudden adhesion of the knees to the floor - I adore you.
Squatting down and causing the skaters to be piled up three feet deep on top of you -- excuse me.
Suddenly placing your legs horizontally on the floor like a letter V -- you make me tired.
Catching your feet in your partner's dress and tearing the trimming off -- please don't tell your mother.

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