Ice-Skating in Bay Village

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.

Metal ice skates that clamp onto shoes, 96.13.66A
Metal and wood ice skates with leather leg braces, 2009.C.03
Metal and wood ice skates with leather straps to hold shoes, 2023.Y.33.03AB

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.

1970 Bay Village map that shows the two ice-skating rinks at Wolf and Cahoon Roads (2018.FIC.0052). Also note some buildings no longer in Bay. The site where two cottages sit across the street from the rinks is now the Bay Skate Park. The site of the Bayway Cabin at the lower right side of the image is now the Cuyahoga County Public Library, Bay Village Branch.

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.

Map showing the proposed location for indoor ice-skating rinks in Bay Village from a Cleveland Press article on November 29, 1972.

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

Snow Portraits

We at the Bay Village Historical Society would like to wish you and yours a happy New Year in 2024.

Many thanks to all who have helped to make a difference in preserving and sharing the history of our town in 2023, whether through attending our events, volunteering at our historical buildings or giving us your monetary support. We thank you so much! Your support made it possible to continue cataloging and making our collections of objects, papers and photographs more accessible to the public. It helped to create a working model grist mill to demonstrate early industry and engineering of our earliest settlers. It has contributed to making our events, such as Cahoon Christmas, more entertaining every year. For this and so much more, we thank you!

The photos that accompany these good wishes are of two women wearing winter clothing which would be of the style seen in the 1880s. They appear to be braving the snowy winter weather outside in their cozy fur collars and muffs. Could such a perfect portrait be possible in such conditions? A quick search online for such photographs from this time period leads to many examples of subjects posing in fake winter scenes in photography studios. Some even have white “snow” on their clothing, hats and boots. Some have wintry backgrounds with painted trees and mountains, covered with snow. Others have “snowflakes” all around the person pictured. This effect was added to the negative after the photograph was taken. One description of the process to create this can be found here.

It does make for a beautiful portrait through which to show off one’s beautiful winter fashions!

Unidentified woman’s snow portrait (about 1886) 1996.P.04.008.

Unidentified woman poses for a winter portrait, circa the 1880s, 1999.P.04.011.

Please be aware that the Bay Village Historical Society’s Rose Hill Museum, Osborn Learning Center and Replica 1810 Cabin are all closed to the public for the winter season. They will be reopening in April 2024. Until then, please explore our updated website with new features to explore, including a variety of photos, articles and learning activities about the past at

1800s Sleigh at Rose Hill Museum

The Bay Village Historical Society usually asks that visitors do not sit upon any of their antique collections. In December, there will be an exception. An 1800s sleigh will be available for picture taking with Santa Claus during the Cahoon Christmas event days.

The sleigh before the remodel, D.2019.5.1.

It is unclear where and exactly when the two-seater sleigh was built. We do know that it was most likely made sometime in the 1800s. The sleigh was owned most recently by Bill and Grace Anderson Sebesta of Bay Village. Their niece, Bernardette E. Novy Enochian, donated it to the Bay Village Historical Society in 2019. It was restored soon after and painted red and black for the holiday season. The sleigh made its makeover debut for Cahoon Christmas 2022, during which Santa, Mrs. Claus, and their elves joined the festivities and posed for pictures with visitors at Rose Hill Museum.

The sleigh being rebuilt, D.2019.5.1

If you would like to take a photo of your loved ones with Santa at Rose Hill Sunday, December 10, from 2-4 p.m., sign up on our website at Cahoon Christmas 2023 and for a $20 donation, a professional photographer will take a digital photo that will be emailed to you. Walk-ups are welcome at $25 cash. The proceeds will help fund activities and collection preservation at the Bay Village Historical Society.

The 2023 Cahoon Christmas event will be held Sundays, December 3, 10 and 17 from 2:00-4:30 p.m. and Wednesdays December 6, 13, 20 from 4:00-7:00 p.m. You may find a list of special December performances and demonstrations on our website at the following link: Events Calendar. Contact us at (216) 319-4634 /, with any questions.

Antique brass sleigh bells, 2006.L.04

1899 children’s book “The First Sleigh Ride,” 2021.B.FIC.010

Winter Magic

Enjoy the magic of winter!

There are so many memories attached to snowfalls of making angels in the snow, climbing over mounds of snow at the end of the driveway, sledding down hills, icicles hanging from the roof and even frozen mittens from building a snowman.  Hope you are able to curl up with a good book by the fireplace this winter, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate, watch some gentle snowfalls and reminisce.

May these pictures from days gone by, bring back some special memories that you may have tucked away.

Huntington Beach Water Tower in the background of the Lakeshore Club along Lake Erie 1906, 2020.P.FIC.021

Irwin Fanta and his son Ronnie in the snow in front of house on Bradley, March 1, 1954, Wuebker Collection 2018.P.03.03.72B