Neat finds and fun stories, New Stuff

Celebrating Westbrook Rink, Biddeford!

The lovely Courier article about Westbrook Skating Rink this week got me thinking about ice skating in the area, and I wanted to see what I could find about it in the newspaper archive. And guess what?

2021 is indeed the 100th anniversary of Westbrook Rink!

The founder of the Westbrook rink was Mr. Philias Laverriere (also found as Lariviere and Lariviers). The earliest article, by the way, was about a rumor that Mr. Laverriere was selling rink ice (which was false, by the way). His obituary give us the information that he was the founder, and started the rink in 1921.

[From Biddeford Weekly Journal – Dec. 29, 1922]
[From Biddeford-Saco Journal – Nov. 12, 1968]
[From Biddeford Weekly Journal – Jan. 30, 1925]

The year prior, the first “commerical” outdoor rink opened on the other side of town, near what is now Rotary Park, at Thacher’s Creek. This rink may not have lasted a long time, as I didn’t find any later articles about this rink!

[From Biddeford Weekly Journal – Dec. 23, 1921]

There was always skating in the twin cities, much of it on the river, which was dangerous. The stories of river skaters throughout the area, breaking through the ice and drowning, can be found in the papers each winter season.

[From the Union and Journal – Jan. 2, 1863]
[From Maine Democrat (Saco) – Jan. 2, 1866]

The fear of losing a child in the river seems to be the big push to get skating rinks set up in the cities, and at times there were numerous rinks all around the town!

[Biddeford Weekly Journal – Jan. 2, 1920]
[Biddeford Weekly Journal – Dec. 5, 1924]
[Biddeford Weekly Journal – Jan. 2, 1925]
[Biddeford Daily Journal – Jan. 5, 1931]