Wed, Jan 18, 2012 08:21 AM
With the fluctuating temperatures this winter it has been
difficult for the Proctor skating rink to stay open for more than a
few days at a time. But when the temperatures have cooperated the
rink is still fulfilling its original purpose of "a clean, safe
place" for skating as it has done for 88 years.
After a trip to the Proctor Free Library I uncovered a story about
how the idea of the skating rink came about.
According to Marble Chips Magazine, the Proctor Rink originated in
1920 when "some of the boys, just returned from fighting the war
which was to end all wars but didn't, tried to maintain a skating
surface on Beaver Pond."
About four years later the American Legion Post in Proctor decided
to build a rink as a community welfare project and one of the first
artificial rinks in Vermont opened. The Legionnaires decided to
flood Warner field, the high school baseball diamond and a small
warming shanty was built. The rink continued in that location for
about ten years when in 1933, for various reasons, members of the
Post decided to move it to the grove to the east and build a new
The new location was wooded and it took 400 man-hours to cut down
the trees, dig down six feet and cart away the dirt with a
wheelbarrow. There was even a story about how the commander of the
Post seemed to have mistaken his foot for a root while swinging his
Believe it or not there was also a bobsled run constructed that ran
from the top of Olympus Road, with banked turns that went around
the skating area and spilled out onto the baseball diamond. The
slide was iced by spraying and bobsledders could reach speeds of up
to 60 miles per hour. The bobsled run was finally abandoned for
reasons deemed "difficult to maintain as well as somewhat
Today, the rink is just as popular with the Proctor residents. Ice
is made by flooding the area using a fire hose and then grooming it
using a Zamboni that attaches to a tractor. Rink managers this year
are Bonnie and R.J. Elrick and Denise and John Anderson. The
Elricks ran the rink the three past seasons.
If you don't have skates you can borrow some at the rink. Their
stock of ice skates has grown over the years with many donations.
They have everything you might need inside the rustic warming hut
including bathroom facilities and a television playing family
movies to entertain you while you munch on your giant chocolate
chip cookie and hot chocolate.
The rink also offers hockey and if you don't own your own stick you
can most likely find one there to use too. Helmets are required if
you want to play hockey. The ice rink emphasizes safety and there
are a number of helmets for use lining the walls and many stacked
milk crates that can help the beginning skaters get their
The current rink hours are Monday-Friday 4:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.,
Saturday 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. and Sunday 12:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. During
school vacations they are open Monday-Friday 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
You can always call to double-check at 459-2819. You can get daily
updates on ice conditions by looking up their facebook page as
During extended closings, they hold movie nights and "hang out"
nights for area youth. Thank you to the ice managers and volunteers
who make it possible for everyone to enjoy skating in such a
beautiful location- it really does feel like you are in a Norman