Curator Snippets: Antique Ice Skates

The Kennedy Free Library has called upon the Fenton History Center to provide an historical display, which will be featured at the entrance of the library on a quarterly basis. This month, the Fenton History Center will be exhibiting a pair of Victorian ice skates c. 1890s, owned by C. Corliss Phillipps of Parkersburg, West Virginia. This antique Victorian Men’s P. Lowentraut US Club Metal Ice Skates No. 8 size 10, was donated to the FHC by Reverend Melvin Phillips (formerly from Jamestown) in May 1973 and accessioned in March 2021.

Our text label for these objects would include historical accounts from the Jamestown Journal, the Jamestown Historical and Industrial Review, the Post-Journal and oral histories, regarding ice skating rinks around Jamestown and Chautauqua County. Collections Manager, Norman Carlson, remembers reading about an enclosed ice skating rink built in 1879 at the northwest corner of Third and Washington Streets in Jamestown. It was later converted to a roller skating rink and condemned in 1882. The Post-Journal and residents interviewed by the Fenton History Center highlight ice skating rinks in Celoron in the 1890s and 1930s. Notable Jamestown ice skating rinks were located in Roseland Park in the 1940s; Ice-Land Skating Arena on Harrison St. in the 1950s; Allen Park Ice Rink in the 1970s and Evan’s Skateland in the 1980s.

Executive Director, Jane Babinsky, recalls hearing about the Norwegian figure skater, Sonja Henie, three-time Winter Olympics Champion: 1928, 1932, 1936, who set the stage (and style) for competitive figure skating. The 1932 Winter Olympics was held in Lake Placid, New York, where Henie won the Gold Medal for the Ladies’ Singles Event.

On another note, the past month has been most enjoyable for me. I have met such wonderful people and I am learning new things everyday. I am very grateful for everyone’s encouragement and support.

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