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Modern Skating Rink Opens in Phoenix in 1960

A photograph in the Medford Mail Tribune of March 16, 1960, shows building contractor Meyers Jones of the Siskiyou Development Co. handing the keys to Merle Van Hoosen, manager of a new roller skating rink.

The building, located 2 ½ miles south of Medford near Phoenix on State Route 99, was known as the Jackson County Rolla-rena.  The largest roller skating rink in Southern Oregon and advertised as the most modern, it soon became popular with adults and youngsters.  Fees were 35 cents for Saturday morning, 50 cents for the afternoon and 75 cents for evenings.

A 1960 newspaper advertisement for a 7 p.m. session reminded skaters to “Dress neatly!  No jeans or Levis except Sat. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.”   The dome-shaped, metal-sided building had a pecan veneer skating surface.  The snack bar served coffee, soft drinks and sandwiches. Skaters glided across the floor to live organ music played by Jerry Miller every day except Sunday.

Eventually the Rolla-rena closed, but the building on S. Pacific Highway still stands and houses the Picker’s Paradise store.

Sources:  Truwe, Tina. "Medford Building Notes." Southern Oregon History, Revised, idmind.net, 2017, id.mind.net/%7Etruwe/tina/buildingnotes.html. Accessed 9 Feb. 2017; "Jackson County Rolla-rena." Medford Mail Tribune, 23 Oct. 1960, p. 8, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/96774288/. Accessed 15 Feb. 2017; "Paradise The Pick of Southern Oregon." wordpress.com, 9 Apr. 2012, https://oregonpick.wordpress.com/tag/paradise/. Accessed 11 Feb. 2017.

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.