BARLOWS SKATING RINK

Barlows Skating Rink

Photo courtesy of Joyce Hughes

Believe it or not, Barlows starts here.....

( Bet you didnt know there once was a huge ice skating rink in Kanawha City )

The idea that they thought an ice rink would fly in 1937 is very interesting.  They must have done a fairly good business that first year however because one year later, they added 50 feet to the length of the rink.  They assumed that they would be hosting semi professional Hockey. Another  interesting thing is that it appears the rink was only open in the winter, even though they had their own ice making equipment.  This rink was located on 35th Street and Virginia Ave.  

And this is where Barlows comes in......

After just a few years, the ice rink failed. Another wouldnt be built until the mid 50s when Mr Lynn built his at the Middleburg Auditorium, after opening it first as a roller rink.  (That ice rink failed also.)  So now we have a big empty building,   and that's where Dick and Margaret Barlow come in....



The  year is now 1942, and Barlows opens in the old "Ice Sports Inc" location.





In the late 40s Barlows moved to the West Side.  It was there that people of my generation remembers them.  ( I wouldnt skate there until around 1961 however).  Barlows still ran ads with the heading "Barlows Roller Rink", and that's what me and everyone I know called it until the day they closed.  But they had a new sign out front and now new ads that said "Skateland",  and many people only know it by that name.

I loved Barlows for many reasons, but especially because they had a concrete floor that allowed you to stick to it like glue, unlike the wooden floors that were more slippery.   They used to throw tickets on the floor and when the music stopped, you dived for them. These would usually get you in free.  








barlows
1945









Barlows
 Raymond Sheppard, who's mother took this photo circa 1959-60







Barlows did very well for 20 years in that location.  They at one time held dance parties on Saturday nights after skating was over. Margaret Barlow was quite a
 character in her day.  She was a pretty petite blonde that carried a pistol, and brought more than one person to justice when they would attempt to break into the rink or steal parts off her car.  She was also a really good organ player.  Margaret and Dick would go on to divorce and she remarried a short term city fireman named Tucker.  They would move to Florida in the late 60s when she refused to allow Blacks into the rink.   It was torn down and nothing but the memories remain.











POST SCRIPT
As most of you know, I have been searching for a good photo of Barlows for two years now.  It's amazing that a popular business could be open that long without many pictures being taken.  If you know of any, please contact me so that I can add it to this page.


Newspaper articles courtesy of  The Charleston Gazette and The Daily Mail


n

Back to Index