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BY MIKE AVITT
I’ve waited many years to get an early photo of Mount Ayr’s roller rink and here it is. Thanks to Linda Swanson for this week’s picture.
In 1931, Fay Bryant built the sandwich shop on the northeast corner of the Mount Ayr square. In 1939, Mr. Bryant was hired to be the first manager of the new Mount Ayr Livestock barn cafe built at the corner of the Watterson road.
In 1941, Fay Bryant built a roller rink in the sale barn parking lot that was 44’ wide and 130’ long. The new rink was equipped with lights and indoor toilets. There had been previous rinks under tents outdoors and the old opera house had supported skating, but Bryant’s Roller Rink was the gem of Ringgold County.
Asa Huggins bought Bryant’s Roller Rink in 1946 and sold it to Mr. and Mrs. Lowell Greene in 1948. The name was changed to Greene’s Skating Palace.
Mr. and Mrs. Greene sold the rink in 1958 to Mr. and Mrs. Hubert “Whitey” Wiseman. Mrs. Wiseman was the former Leta “Jo” Davis Farmer. Harold Webb and Raymond Barker bought the rink in 1960.
I don’t know when the Roll-In Cafe was built onto the rink, but the first mention of it I see is in 1961. I’ll ask the readers to help with that information. The name of the rink in 1961 was Mount Ayr Roller Rink and the floor managers were John Snedeker and John Campbell.
Raymond Barker must have passed away because Lloyd Glendenning bought half interest in the rink from Mrs. Raymond Barker and Harold Webb in 1962. Two years later, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Osborne bought Harold Webb’s one-fourth interest.
In early September 1965, fire caused a great deal of damage to the rink and the owners sold out to Gary McCullough and Don Straight. The rink was repaired and opened in December 1965.
On June 1, 1968, Mr. and Mrs. Nick Duros became the new owners of the Mt. Ayr Roller Rink. An ad in the January 23, 1969 Record-News says Ronnie and Karen Rinehart are the managers of the rink. Another ad announces John and Shirley Henry as the new management of the rink. On April 1, 1977, Pete and Ruth Cavender bought the Mt. Ayr roller rink.
Pete and Ruth had it until 1980 when it was sold to Debby Worthington. The new name was Debby’s Skating Palace.
Larry Weir was the owner of the building by 1982 and Larry’s Country & Western opened in December 1982. It burned to the ground in December 1983.