September 21, 1906 – Roller Skating Craze Again Seizes Ansonia

The opening of the Ansonia Opera House as a skating rink under the management of Walter V. Fitzsimmons and Frank McNamara, last night, was a far greater success than had been imagined, or prepared for. A large attendance had been expected, but the size of the crowd that presented itself was far ahead of any expectations.

During the first three-quarters of an hour every pair of skates was rented., and during the evening from fifty to seventy-five people were unable to get skates. This morning, the managers telegraphed an order to New York for more skates, and they will meet the demands put upon them hereafter.

Skated to Music

Besides the big number of skaters, there was a large attendance of spectators, the gallery being well filled. Zeigler’s orchestra was present, and furnished excellent music. Music by an orchestra will be a regular feature on Wednesday and Saturday evenings, beginning next week, and there will be music every evening.

Four competent instructors were present, and assisted beginners in the art of managing the rollers. These attendants will be present every evening for the purpose of extending their services to all who may desire them. Perfect order reigned. There was not the slightest disturbance, any attempt at such would have been immediately squelched, as two officers were in attendance. The managers will conduct the rink on the best principles, and will make it a place any lady may visit.

The patronage by ladies last night was especially larger than had been expected. Many of them expressed themselves as highly pleased with the rink, and stated they would be attending as regular patrons.

The size of the rink gives abundant room for the accommodation of large crowds, and the floor is satisfactory. Last night, although it was the first night of the season the skaters reversed as promptly as if the rink had been going for several months, and they were all habituates of the place.

Revival of Sport Here

The great popularity of roller skating at present has not escaped Ansonia, as was manifested last night at the opening of the rink. It is some twenty-five years since the roller skating craze went over the country, and Ansonia at that time had its Bristol’s rink, now the Columbia bowling alleys1. This was patronized by large crowds, as it was evident that the Ansonia rink will be. Since the days of the Bristol rink there has been little roller skating. Ten years ago or more, when High Rock Grove2 was at its height of popularity, there was a fine rink there, and many Ansonians will remember pleasant hours put in gliding over the smooth floor, and listening to the band as it discoursed in a little gallery or pen built over the rink.

The patronage of the rink, last night, was not only of local people, but also from Derby, Shelton, and Seymour. The managers are receiving many congratulations over the success of their enterprise.

  1. Bristol’s rink opened as the Columbia bowling alleys on May 2, 1906. It was located on Mechanic Street.
  2. High Rock Grove was located between Beacon Falls and Naugatuck.