|Hub Roller Skating Rink Concession Stand before the Axle Remodeled.|
Music by Freddy Arnish, Organist at the Hub.
The skating had set "styles of skating" displayed on a lighted sign when the organ music would change tempos. Most of the time, the skating style was "All Skate" Some other skating styles were: Couples Only, Waltz, Fox Trot, and a few fancy dances such as; Collegiate and the 14-step.
A two-story office and the coat room separated the lobby from the rink. The only access to the rink area was through a large opening at the west end of the lobby.
The Pro Skate Shop in the Axle Roller Rink in Niles, Illinois, in my case, gave me the first credit account I had when I was only 14 years old. I put down $60 on a great pair of professional men's roller skates, a special order. It had leather above the ankle boot, high-end wheels, hubs, trucks, and a jump bar to keep the trucks from breaking off under stress. I set the trucks so loosely that they would wobble when I lifted my foot and jiggled it. After about 6 weeks (about 15 skating sessions), the shoes were broken in, and I could wear thin socks without getting any blisters!
They were expensive, $175 ($630 today), but I skated there on weekends (2 or 3 times, including Sundays) for 5-6 years, so it paid off for me. Here's how it worked. Every time you went skating, you'd have to give the Pro Shop at least $5 and your shoes to store. After skating, you return the skates to the Pro Shop and provide them with the roller skates to store until you return the next time. I never told my parents until the day I paid them off (in a little over a year) and brought them home.
During the Intermissions, the rink held age-related speed races. I won a lot! The winners would get a free pass for their next admission.
The Axle locations were:
- Countryside, IL: Route 66, just East of LaGrange Road. (Closed Mid-1978)
- Norridge, IL 4510 North Harlem. [Formerly: Hub Roller Skating Rink, Chicago]
- Niles, IL: Milwaukee Avenue just north of Golf Road (Closed August 8, 1984)
Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.