|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” that were displayed on a lighted sign when the organ music would change tempos. The majority of the time the skating style was “All Skate” Some of the other skating styles were: Couples Only, Waltz, Fox Trot, a few fancy dances such as; Collegiate and the 14-step.
|The Axle Roller Rink - Norridge, Illinois. Formerly the Hub Roller Rink.|
The Pro Skate Shops 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 which 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 when I lifted my foot and jiggled it, the trucks would wobble. 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 very expensive, $140 ($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 returned the skates to the Pro Shop give them the roller skates to store until you came back the next time. I never told my parents until the day I paid them off (in a little over a year's time) 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. That helped me pay off the skates quicker because my parents gave me money for the admission cost, skate rental fee, and snacks.
The Axle locations were:
- Countryside, IL: Route 66, just East of LaGrange Road. (Closed Mid-1978)
- Chicago, IL (Norridge): 4510 North Harlem. [Formerly: Hub Roller Skating Rink]
- Niles, IL: Milwaukee Avenue just north of Golf Road (Closed August 4, 1984)
Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.