FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — On November 11, 1950, Roller Dome North on Coliseum Blvd. opened its doors for the first time.
73 years later, the business celebrated its anniversary Sunday. Owner Kim Wall said they celebrate a day later on November 12 rather than November 11 in order to not take away from Veteran’s Day.
Wall literally grew up in the Roller Dome. After he was born 68 years ago, he was taken right to the Roller Dome. His family lived in the back of the building.
He told WANE 15 it has been a fun journey. He looked back at photos on Sunday that reminded him that Coliseum Blvd. was a dirt road when the rink first opened.
Other than their close neighbor, Don Hall’s Hollywood Drive-In, there wasn’t much else around the Roller Dome other than a gas station.
“We were five miles outside of town. The edge of town was State Boulevard,” he recalled.
As a lot has changed around them in the last 73 years, the Roller Dome has remained a constant at the corner of Coliseum and Lima Rd.
“We’re very pleased. The city of Fort Wayne has supported us beyond belief,” Wall said. “When COVID was over, they showed up in droves to come out and support us. We’re now in our third and fourth generations of skaters. Great grandparents are bringing their great grandkids to come out and skate, and that’s really neat.”
Wall’s mom Marg, known as Mrs. Wall, worked at the Roller Dome until she was 93 years old. He and his 11 siblings were always around.
Down the road, Wall told WANE 15, the rink’s ownership will move to a third generation of family ownership when Nikki Burns takes over.
“I take pride in it. It’s something that I take pride in, that we’re still here, that we’re still a family-run business, that – if you walk in – there’s at least two, three family members working [or] skating,” Burns said.
She, like Wall and the rest of his family, have spent years inside the skating rink, seeing familiar faces. Soon those familiar faces were bringing their children to skate. Eventually those familiar faces were bringing their grandchildren to skate. In some cases, as Wall stated, they’ve seen great grandchildren of some of the original patrons.
Wall said they hope to have a big celebration for the business’ 75th anniversary. They’re looking to partner with Hall’s next door for some type of block party since both businesses have been around for close to the same amount of time.