By Dave Sclair
An overflow crowd of over 100 crammed the Lakewood Library’s meeting room to hear about the Lakewood Ice Arena and share memories of the former Lakewood facility.
Hosted by the Lakewood Historical Society, the audience was split almost evenly among community members who skated at the arena or whose parents visited the rink or they had heard about it. The other half was junior class students from Curtis High School in University Place. Taking an advance placement history class, they decided this would be a practical class in local history to which they could relate.
And, as a bonus for all, Elizabeth Poinsett (left), who will turn 100 on Feb. 17, attended the meeting and shared her experiences with many of the students. She and the students also posed for group photos together.
LHS President Becky Huber and Vice President Glen Spieth opened the evening by showing numerous photos of the ice arena and the skaters who frequented it. A number of Olympians and US and World ice skating medalists used the center as a home rink.
Many of the photos came from the Shanaman Sports Museum in the Tacoma Dome while others are from the Tacoma Public Library archives.
A number of those who skated the arena years ago attended the meeting. Don Gilbertson, who helped run the snack shop and worked in the ice arena, provided background information from his days working there with his moth who ran the snack shop. Marc Blau (right), from the Shanaman Sports Museum, also provided a lot of historical background on skaters and the arena itself.
Originally opened as a dance hall, it was converted into the ice arena in 1938 by the late Norton Clapp who also build today’s Lakewood Colonial Center and other local buildings.