Jackson Skating Rink

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.

12 Replies to “Jackson Skating Rink”

  1. Mr Wilferth was my principal at Washington Elementery School for my tenure there. He was a major contributor in setting my values that I still use in my daily life. What a Great Man he was and always had time to listen to my problems and guide me to a proper solution.

  2. Loved to go skating at the Jackson Skating Rink when I was in high school and later when I was home from college. I remember Woody Seabaugh ran the Jackson Rink (which like you, Ken, I never called Roll-O-Fun). I didn’t know Mr Wilferth was a partner. When I was younger, I skated at the Mary Ann Skating Rink on Kingsway until it closed. I also skated at Chaffee and Hanover a few times.
    I can’t help but remember the skating rinks everytime I hear Billy Swann’s hit song, “I can Help”, I call it roller rink music. I have always wondered if he got his musical beat for that song from the old Mary Ann skating music.

  3. I just read Keith Slinkard’s comment about Mr Wilferth and I would second his comments. Sorry to say, I was not a model citizen in Miss Nellie Kreuger’s Franklin School. It only took one visit to Mr Wilferth’s office, who in 1958 was now Principal at the Junior High, to realize after a “man-to-man” talk in his office for some offense, that I never wanted to disappoint that man again. I never was sent to the Principal’s office for any trouble after that talk!
    When my class moved up to the high school, Mr Wilferth went with us as assistant principal and became principal when Mr Sheets retired from that position.

  4. Dances with a live band when Mr. Woody Seabaugh owned it! Mike Smith & the Runaways played usually! We referred to it as Jackson Teentown then! Always a full house rock’in to songs like “Wipeout”! Funtimes!

  5. Mr. Wilferth was man of quality and value and expected the same from all he was around. I had one experience with Mr. Wilferth in High School, as a sophomore and was totally impressed by this man.
    I was asked to write a satire on school in an unnamed English class. I jumped at the assignment! My satire on “HOMEWORK” was masterpiece of creative writing. It dripped with satire and words like “half- crazed teachers”, and really funny sophomoric lines throughout the essay of about one page. The teacher was not impressed that one of her flock (hint on the wenches name here dude) would wite something like this. She was so Irate she wrote “Insulting” in her grade book by my name. Which was as close as it comes to a permanent record black mark, at least I though it at the time.
    Two hours pass and I am sitting in study hall minding my own business and Barbara Hobbs comes up and tells me Mr. Wilferth wants to see me! I was of the mind that ALL higher authority was to be avoided at all costs and I was now going to have my first audience with THE authority in the school and maybe the whole world, Mr. Wilferth!
    I went down stairs and sat outside the office…”cooling your heels” was great technique to get people nervous and getting them off their game and showing your power. I used this same technique in business in my later life. It worked, I was putty in his hands when he finally called me into the office.
    I sat down and he said as he handed me the one page satire “ Did you write this?”
    I took the paper and looked at the page and said “yes, sir”.
    He read the “half-craved teacher line” and asked again if I wrote this line. I said, “Yes, sir it was satire and supposed to be biting and funny”. I sat there for a long minute while he re-read my paper. I saw a slight smile on a man who did not smile much, least around students…He said, “Go back to class”.
    I had escaped my first brush with authority and lived! Mr. Wilferth was human and had a good sense of humor and I had lived! (It was a master piece and funny, if you read it in the proper frame of mind.)
    Here a guy who saw a kid who had followed instructions to write a biting satire and was being picked on by a teacher who took it personally. He could have thrown me under the bus and sided with the teacher, but did not. My hat was off to this man and I always will tell this story when I get a chance.
    We all were surrounded by a group of very caring and capable adults in our young lives. Cape was a pretty good place to be a kid!

  6. Woody and Jean Seabaugh helped raise most of the young kids in Jackson at the rink. Today their son and daughter in law are among my very best friends. Daughter in law Renee works for me and has for over 33 years.We are sisters! Ms Jean is still going strong. There are many wonderful memories from there and I will share this sight with Mike and Michelle, the Seabaughs son and daughter. I never knew about Mr Wilferth and skating either! Got to check this out.

  7. It really surprised me too, to learn that Mr. Wilferth and his father-in-law were the ones who built that skating rink! It’s a shame that the rink is no longer used for skating and a hangout for the teens in Jackson. None in Cape either. We were so lucky to have those skating rinks and Teen Town when we were growing up. They were a real safe haven for kids because of the caring parents who were there to keep an eye on us. God Bless them all! Mr. Wilferth was my principal from Washington School, Central Jr. High and Central High School and one of the finest men that I have ever had the privilege to know. I still think of him often. Good picture of him.

  8. Mr.& Mrs. Woddy Seabaugh were the best people in the world,they did alot for the Kids in Jackson they made sure the kids always had a place to go.

  9. Grandpa Woodie and Grandma Jean always loved making kids happy. It was such a blessing having my Grandpa in my life. He helped shape who I am today. I miss him so much…Man do I miss him.

    I remember sitting behind the counter at the roller rink and sipping my nice cold orange soda. I also remember the skates he had. Man he was an epic dude. Way ahead of his time. I still have a skateboard he made out of a plank of wood with his orange sticker on it. Something I will cherish forever. I love and miss you grandpa! See you in heaven!

    Grandma Jean was the rock of the family and still is. What a classy lady. You will not find a more classy lady in all the world. I love you Grandma! I miss you! Can’t wait to see you next summer!

    As far as the rink itself, it is a shame for what it has become. It should be preserved. Someone needs to clean up that corner and bring that place back to life even if it is not a revenue generator. If I could I would in a heart beat!

  10. “Firm but fair. Honest. Soft-hearted. Great man.” These are all words that I have grown up hearing when people tell me about my grandpa, Fred “Bill” Wilferth. He was, and still is in so many ways, quite a man and role model for all of us men striving to do life right. Grandpa showed me how to treat a woman, take care of my finances and love The Lord. He raised his son, my father Fred “Rock” Wilferth, with the same standards that he lived by and dad fills grandpa’s shoes so well. From roller skating to squirrel hunting and from the pulpit to the pearly gates, grandpa did it right and has paved the way for so many others to live selflessly and with a servants heart. With every one of your encouraging comments about my grandpa, I feel his presence, hear his voice and shoot to be the best man, husband, father, brother and son I can be. Grandpa would have no other way. Blessings

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