Recently I was invited to take a look inside the former Lorain Arena (which is currently for sale) by Bill Latrany, the listing agent. Bill has a pretty good connection with Lorain's roller skating heritage, as he was the Disc Jockey at Skate World in Lorain for 14 years.
It was good to get an up-close look at the former Baetz Dairy Bar and later Arena Restaurant (below). I had admired its unique styling for a long time, and wondered why it was connected to the larger barn-like building. Now I know why; this building was there first and the Arena was added later.
The former Lorain Arena and its entrance are to the west of this building. (See photo below and click on it for a closer look.)
Although I had never been inside the Lorain Arena when it was still open (my generation went to Skate World), I was happy to get a tour. While Kerr Beverage, the last tenant of the property, did enlarge the building complex to fit their needs, they did not change the Arena portion very much at all. Here are two views of the interior.
At the time of the Arena's opening, the maple floor was described as costing more than $40,000 for material and labor. According to the Lorain Journal at the time, it was laid by the Cincinnati Floor Company.
The floor is still in pretty good shape as well. Here's a close-up of its unique curved design. A little TLC and it would be ready for another generation of Lorain roller skaters!
Special thanks to Bill Latrany for the opportunity to take a look at a unique bit of Lorain history. I know that he would love nothing better than for someone to purchase the property and put it to use once again for the public's enjoyment. (For a link directly to this real estate listing, click here.)