SEVERAL READERS RECOGNIZED the November picture from the past as the old Pavilion Skating Rink that was located on Front and Cherry streets where the Peninsula Daily News warehouse is now.
The photo was taken some time in the 1950s before the streets beyond Oak to Tumwater were filled in.
The rink was built in 1912 by Perry Jackson Woods, a prominent contractor at the time.
He helped with construction of the original Eighth Street bridges and area houses.
According to his grandson, Gerald “Jug” Johnson, Woods built the rink as much for the sailors as the kids.
The rink was accessed by planks from First Street by the site of former KONP.
Johnson also commented that there was a rink before this one that was located at Front and Oak streets where there was once a Salvation Army Thrift Shop. (The Clallam County Historical Society has a photo in its archives.)
Johnson lived in the apartment above the rink with his new wife when they were first married.
Prices at the time for skating were 25 cents for ladies and children and 50 cents for men.
It’s interesting that men paid more.
The wooden wheels were ground rough so as to grip the maple floor.
Velma Johnson, his mother, learned to skate when she was 5 or 6.
There was a mechanical organ that played music for the skaters.
There was a railing around the top part of the building so viewers could watch the skaters below.
A 1915 Port Angeles Daily Herald article said “Pavilion proves Popular Resort For The Ladies.”
“Davis and Wood’s Rink, finely constructed and equipped and well managed, rapidly gains patronage as recreation place of city,” the article said.
The article claims the Pavilion was one of the best in the state with a 50-by-100-foot maple floor.
The rink had 40 to 50 pairs of the finest aluminum roller skates.
The building had a spectators’ gallery with seating for hundreds of people.
The roof was dome-shaped and built with solid 50-foot beams.
The music was supplied by a Wurlitzer military organ, electrically operated.
The article concludes with the statement that “the Pavilion is equipped for dances, sports, and other entertainment and had a number of those events planned for the future.”
At one time the Clallam County fair was housed in the Pavilion. In 1924, Fred and Rose Owens purchased the Pavilion and they held it until 1946.
Chelsea Cnockaert Alwine wrote that the photo was the roller skating rink that had been her family’s business.
The photo shows it before the area was filled.
Alwine said her grandfather, Fred Owens, procured the skates from another roller skating rink in Oregon.
After his death, her mom, Lois Owens Cnockaert, and her sister, Marjorie Owens Lundgren, were co-owners.
Her aunt Marjorie sold tickets at the window in the wall beside the main door.
She also changed music records (78s) and pushed the buttons that lit up the sign that designated whether the next song and skate pattern would be a “Ladies’ Choice” or “Reverse.”
Alwine’s mom checked coats and sold pop and candy.
When she was old enough and could reach high enough to hang the coats, Alwine was allowed to help her mother.
Her father, Louie Cnockaert, checked out the skates and used a grinder to keep the wheels clean.
Both her parents watched the floor and used their whistles to make sure the children weren’t skating too fast or aggressively.
Her dad also taught skating lessons.
Her parents were both skate dancers and beautiful to watch, Alwine said.
Alwine said she and her parents lived in the apartment upstairs at the rink for the first six months of her life.
After that they moved to her present address and there were other tenants in the apartment.
Her dad died in 1958 and her mom and sister stopped using the building for skating sessions.
Instead the building was used for dances and guest appearances.
One of Alwine’s friends reminded her that the Whalers were in concert there.
Ted Bedford wrote that the photo was the old skating rink before the harbor was filled in.
He remembered skating in the 1950s but was never very good at it.
He also remembered dances held there.
James Hansen of California wrote, “That is a great picture of the old roller rink in PA before the landfill. I remember going there a number of times as a youngster in the ’50s and being so impressed with looking down into the dark water and seeing the waves moving spookily under the walkway and the rink. I also remember limping away from there with a sore tailbone on more than one occasion after my skates failed to keep me upright.
“Somewhat later, during 1960-62 I remember going to dances there and seeing, among others, Merrilee Rush and her band, Merrilee and Her Men, perform. (A Seattle girl, she went on to have a modicum of success and a Grammy nomination for her recording of ‘Angel of the Morning.’)”
Hansen also remembered coming back to the Pavilion and performing with his band, Sonny and the Conservatives, in the spring of 1963.
James Thomsen wrote that he believed the building in the photo was the skating rink when it was over the water.
He said that people had to walk on a wooden bridge which extended from the sidewalk.
He was living in Sequim from 1946 to the early 1950s and went skating there during group events.
The area where the rink stood was filled in starting around 1954.
The entire project took several years but it is unclear just how long the access to the building was on pilings.
Some of the fill came from the truck route (a short connecting route between U.S. Highway 101 to Marine Drive in downtown Port Angeles) which was completed in 1966.
The Owens sold to Clallam Grain in 1965.
By 1985, the Peninsula Daily News had purchased it for a warehouse.
In 1999, the Joyce Bible Church dismantled the old building and rebuilt it at their Joyce site.
Gwen Porterfield wrote, “The Pavilion Roller Rink had significant architectural merit with its wonderful interior heavy timber trusses and a reservoir of rich cultural history. It was demolished in November 1999. The heavy timber trusses were salvaged for a new church building outside of the downtown area.”
After the closure of the Pavilion Skating Rink, it was 1979 before Sybil’s Roller Skate Center opened at Seventh and Chase streets.
The Skate Center was in business for more than 40 years with different names and owners.
Sandra Locke was the last owner and she sold it in 2017.
Two comments came in late when the Sekiu story was printed last month, so they are included here.
Linda Williams wrote that her grandpa and her uncles built Woody’s Cafe in Clallam Bay and they ran a charter service out of Sekiu in the 1970s.
She grew up there and went to school. Arlene Shofstall was her mom.
Dick Woodward, Tuffy Woodward, Wayne Woodward and Esther Woodward were her aunts, uncles and grandparents.
“The Cove resort is the building with the tobacco truck in front of it,” wrote George Williams.
His dad, Ron Little, owned that building and lived on the top floor, and later when the resort was closed and became the general store, he moved to a new building farther north.
Williams managed the Cove Resort during the last year it was open.
Alice Alexander is a Clallam County historian, author, and a descendent of an Elwha Valley pioneer family. She is a recipient of a 2014 Clallam County Heritage Awards. She can be reached at [email protected].
Alice’s Clallam history column appears the first Sunday of every month, alternating with Linnea Patrick’s Jefferson County history column on the third Sunday of the month.