Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Lorain Arena Part 3

By the 1960's, the Lorain Arena was running this ad fairly often in the Lorain Journal (this ad is from June 1, 1960). But the Lorain Arena was not just for roller skating. Like its predecessor, the Coliseum, it hosted many concerts and big events.

According to this October 2009 article in the Morning Journal, the Lorain Arena once hosted a Dick Clark Review that included acts like the Coasters, Bill Haley and the Comets, Bobby Rydell and Annette Funicello. In the article, Bob Catalano (son of Angelo Catalano, a former owner of the Lorain Arena) offers an interesting anecdote about meeting Annette Funicello there.

Meanwhile, the distinctive building attached to the Arena at the front of the property (the former Baetz Dairy Bar) became known as the Arena Restaurant. Here's one of their ads from June 4, 1960.

I wonder what a Roller-Burger tasted like?
Sometime in the late 1960's, the Lorain Arena finally closed, bringing Lorain's westside roller skating legacy to a temporary halt. But within a few years, Skate World opened up a little further west on Route 6 and it was time to strap on the skates once more.
The Lorain Arena's huge space apparently became desirable for a few companies in the 1970's, as it hosted a motor home business and then Penton Imports Motorcycles. Finally, it became the home of Kerr Beverage for several decades, until it closed earlier this year.
Next: Inside the Lorain Arena – today!

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