Skating and Sledding in Old Peoria

Photos and research assistance courtesy of Peoria Public Library Local History Collection

Pictured above: “Prior to 1900 the vast fields of ice on Peoria lakes formed ideal skating and thousands of Peorians enjoyed it… Crack skaters would vie with each other in long-distance races Peoria to Mossville to Chillicothe and even further north. South of Peoria the river did not freeze in a way so favorable to skaters, but… once during a particularly hard winter, a skater made the entire distance between Peoria and St. Louis.” —Peoria Journal-Transcript, January 28, 1940

Today, we have Owens Center and PNC Winterfest for ice skating. But Owens Center, which opened to the public on October 3, 1980, actually marked the fifth generation of ice skating for the Peoria Park District.

The Peoria Park District first offered ice skating at the Glen Oak Park Lagoon, then graduated to flooded tennis courts, which led to the flooding of a small, level area of ground at Bradley Park, and then the construction of an artificial rink in Lakeview Park.

Ice skating at the Glen Oak Park Lagoon

Ice skating at the Glen Oak Park Lagoon

As demand increased, another facility for ice skating was constructed in Logan Park, which eventually was equipped with a temporary air structure, offering Peoria’s first indoor facility. Community interest eventually led to the creation of another indoor year-round skating facility, Owens Center.

Ice skating at Logan Park

Ice skating at Logan Park

Finally, sledding was another favorite winter activity of Peorians. Before the automobile ruined the snow for sledding, almost every neighborhood had its own favorite slide.

Sledding Spring Street hill...


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Submitted by jwright on Tue, 12/19/2017 - 09:10

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