One of the things that I looked forward to every Friday night in the late 1950's and early 1960's was rollerskating at the old Hippodrome every Friday night. The Hippodrome has since been razed but it was near Vanderbilt University and across the street from Centennial Park. This is where I learned to roller skate as a child. It was a huge building used for a variety of uses. It had a 40,000 square foot roller rink. An organ sat up in a balcony on the east end and a lady played music while everyone skated. There were skating parties and baseball was played on skates. During the Depression there were walking marathons where boy and girl couples would walk until one or the other collapsed. The stronger of the two would hold the other up and the couple that finished on their feet would win a cash prize. There were also Big Band performers like Benny Goodman and many others that performed. From 1937 until 1941. Vanderbilt's basketball team played there. In the early days of streetcars you could skate all night for a quarter. During the 1950's and 60's there was professional wrestling promoted by Nick Gulas. Wrestlers such as Tex Riley was one of the good guys. Tojo Yamamoto and the Fargo Brothers were the bad guys that wrestled there. Like most everything else it was segregated and there were the white and colored restrooms. Everyone my age should have fond memories of the Hippodrome. The Hippodrome was torn down in 1968.
|Ben West Jr's Birthday Party In 1952|