Roller Skating in Lincoln, 1877

The young city of Lincoln in 1877 offered its citizens many forms of recreation, including roller skating. The Daily State Journal, March 30, 1877, described local skaters: “We looked into the Academy of Music [near Eleventh and O] last evening to see how the skaters were getting along, and found the hall comfortably filled, with at least one half the persons present on wheels.

“A good many individuals imagine they can skate when they can’t, and it takes several healthy tumbles to convince them to the contrary. One young gentleman, radiant in a split tail coat, and high standing collar, spent most of his time in a horizontal position on the floor, while another young man, whose face beams through various apertures at the post office every day, waltzed out in the middle of the room, executed several uncertain curves, bowed to the floor as if recognizing an old friend, whirled once and a half around, then with a specie of leg acrobatism truly wonderful came down in a graceful heap. In fact, when one stood up three fell down and it is likely that at one time or another every gentleman in the room made the acquaintance of the floor. A number of the ladies were present but only three or four had the daring to mingle with the throng.”

The Journal commented in a second article, “About fifty ladies were in attendance at the skating rink yesterday afternoon, and we were told that it was an amusing sight, even that the ladies fell down occasionally and bumped their little noses, much to the amusement of the lookers on, all of whom were of the gentler gender, we are pleased to say. It was very wrong in the management, however, to exclude the young fellows in these afternoon soirees for didn’t the young men fall down, turn somersaults, and stand on their heads for the amusement of the petticoat fraternity[?]”

The Journal also noted, “Mr. Fenton has turned over the management of the roller skating rink to Mr. Geo W. Wells, who will hereafter have charge of it and conduct it in a manner that will continue to make it attractive and popular in every respect. Mr. Wm. H. Daniel, the celebrated champion roller skater, has charge of the floor. He will remain for some time yet to delight and instruct those who attend.”

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