A Missourian news brief from Aug. 17, 1950, announced, “Elmer Seabaugh and Fred W. Wilferth, his son-in-law, both of Cape Girardeau, will build a roller rink at Jackson, and expect to start the building shortly.
“It will be 110 by 50 feet and will be largely frame. The floor will be made of maple. The hall will be near the west edge of Jackson Highway 61. The Elfrank company will erect the building.
“The rink owners have ordered equipment, including 150 pairs of skates. Mr. Seabaugh plans to move to Jackson, but Mr. Wilferth, principal of Washington School, expects to stay here.”
Woody and Jean Seabaugh
Woodrow “Woody” Seabaugh and his wife, Jean bought the rink in 1954 and ran it until 1983.
In 1960, the rink was renamed the Roll-O-Fun, but I never heard it called that. Cliff Wilson bought it in 1983 and named it the Jackson Skating Center. The Missourian’s Sam Blackwell did a long piece on the rink in 1998.
Roller rink became local landmark
The skating rink quickly became a landmark to refer to in planning and zoning stories: “… condemnations discussed involved the sewer trunk line and lateral district running from near the skating rink to near Farmington Road and Route D….”
All of the area skating rinks showed up in accident reports for broken bones and sprains. A Mar. 31, 1975, Jackson brief said that the Jackson Citizen’s Band Radio Club was planning a skating party. I hope that’s the kind of “Breaker, Breaker!” they encountered and not the first aid kind.
Skating rink for sale – $75,000
A real estate ad in 1975 offered a “SKATING RINK in small community. Join the kids and share their fun! $75,000” It was listed by a Jackson reality company, but it didn’t say if it was the Jackson skating rink that was for sale. Another ad in the Apr. 5, 1978, Missourian listed under “investment properties, 2 acres with skating rink” for $89,900. Again, it doesn’t say where it is.
No longer a skating rink
I couldn’t find a story that told when the building stopped being a skating rink. It looks like it’s occupied by a sign shop and a flea market these days.
Fred Wilferth was CHS principal
I was surprised to read that Central High School’s principal, Fred W. Wilferth, had been involved in the roller skating business. This is the way I remember him: sort of solemn, steady, firm but fair. When he was holding that mike, I wonder if he ever felt tempted to holler, “ALL SKATE!” or invite everyone down to do the Hokey Pokey? Of course, I never expected office secretary Helen Ketterer to cut loose at a wrestling match, either.