Good Times Still Rolling At Longstanding Soap Lake Rink
If you live in North Central Washington and are looking to get your skate on - roller, that is - you might think it's necessary to roll the wheels of your car to the Westside to get your fix...but actually, you don't have to roll too far at all!
Thanks to new owners Robert and Margy Rice, the good times are rolling once again in Soap Lake at the all-new Neon Skateway.
The roller rink, which is located at 48 Moses Lake Avenue Northwest, isn't exactly new, however. The building actually dates back to 1952, when William Patrick built it with the help of the Army Corps of Engineers. And legend has it that shortly after its construction, Patrick had the rink inspected by an engineer from the University of Washington who said a locomotive engine could easily be suspended from the beams of its ceiling without bending a single one. Talk about not building them like they used to! No wonder its stood the test of time so well and is still going strong after over seventy years!
Patrick operated the facility as a skating rink until sometime around the mid-1960s, when it was turned into a dance hall called "Granny's Pad", where notable acts of the day like Paul Revere & The Raiders entertained patrons.
After the wooden planks of its floors had switched from hosting roller skates to dancing shoes, the rink closed down in the early 1970s and was used as a storage facility for several years.
Then, in 1977, Delbert and Elberta Kuehnel of Bellingham purchased the rink and reopened it for its originally-intended purpose.
The Kuehnels named their phoenix on four wheels Lakeview Roller Skating Center, and the business was operated by their family members, Roland and Melinda Ratzesberger, for forty years before they retired in 2017.
The Ratzesberger's three children grew up at the rink and all worked there throughout their respective childhoods. Melinda says the money the family made running Lakeview helped put all three of her kids through college and made them quite popular to have as friends during their younger years.
The rink didn't sit idle for very long and was again purchased and re-opened shortly after the Ratzesbergers retired.
Now it's been passed down once again, with the Rices taking over earlier this year.
As Neon Skateway, the rink still features all of the classic fun that it always has for roller skaters, and also welcomes rollerbladers too.
In addition, the Skateway features an arcade with classic video games, an updated concessions stand, and even hosts roller derby and indoor pickle ball events. Roller skating lessons are also available for beginners and those who want to improve their skills.
Robert Rice says the rink has been quite busy since reopening on May 1, and he's excited for more people to roll in and check things out.
By the way, there are only sixteen roller rinks in all of Washington State, and only four are located east of the Cascades!
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Gallery Credit: Waylon Jordan