The feature image of this post is of a 1976 drawing by Ethel Sadler of the early days of ice-skating in Bay Village, 2023.B.23.01.
The 1976 Bay Village Historical Society coloring book tells of the first pond made for ice-skating in Bay. “The original pond, dug especially for skaters, was just north of City Hall where the tennis courts are today. A pond was needed for recreation, as Lake Erie was becoming more treacherous and creeks were too shallow. Later on, a pond was dug at the corner of Cahoon and Wolf Roads. A shelter and benches were provided for comfort.”
In our collections are several examples of ice-skates from this earlier period of Bay Village history.
We see much talk about skating rinks in scrapbook pages and maps from the early 1970s. Two outdoor ice-skating rinks could be found at the corner of Wolf and Cahoon Roads, just across the street from Bay Middle School. In one West Life article from 1972, professional figure skater and graduate of the Bay High Class of 1966, Karen Kresge, said she learned how to skate from the age of 8 years-old on the Cahoon Park ice pond. In 1972 she was starring in a touring ice show and Bay Village Mayor Henry Reese declared March 1st of that year, Karen Kresge Day, to celebrate her return to perform in Cleveland.
This same year plans were quickly taking shape to construct a large twin ice arena building in Bay Village. This privately owned arena was supported and approved by the City of Bay to be built on the very southwest corner of town, just north of Naigle Road and east of the border with Lorain County. It would have had a dedicated rink just for open skating and another for hockey games and practice. It would also have served many other sports year ‘round, including tennis courts and even a pool! There were many local winter sports enthusiasts who voiced their support for a rink in Bay, stating its profitability and the taxes it would bring to the city annually. There were also some concerns, voiced by residents living along Bradley Road, that it would bring too much traffic to the area. As we now know, this recreation center was never built. We do not have a definitive reason in our collections as to why the rink wasn’t finished and neither does the Recreation Department. Some say it came down to cost. Other rinks proposed for Avon Lake and Independence also fell through around this time.
Also, in 1972 was mentioned the ice rink at Clague Road Park (Reese Park). It was a large rink that would need to be relocated due to the building of the I-90 intersection. Today, the ice-skating rink in Reese Park is the only official ice-skating rink in Bay, weather permitting. A long spell of good, cold weather is needed to open it. If the conditions are just right, it will be accessed along the pathway behind the restrooms area at the park.
We hope you enjoyed this glimpse into early ice-skating in Bay Village. If learning historical information such as this is important to you, please consider a donation to the Bay Village Historical Society. Find out more on our website Donate page. You may also contact us by phone at (216) 319-4634 or email email@example.com.