Skating club celebrating 75 years of history

Members of the Rochester Figure Skating Club pertform on the ice at the Mayo Civic Auditorium.

Dawn Nelson skated with the Rochester Figure Skating Club in the 1980s. Her daughter skates now.

This is her fourth year on the board of directors.

She loves history and likes to write.

And now she's the unofficial historian of the club. Is there a more logical choice?

"I enjoy it,'' she said. "I learned a lot. And still am.''


The club is celebrating its milestone 75th anniversary this week, highlighted by three shows at the Rochester Recreation Center.

Nelson said it was a perfect time to compile the history of the club and that she has done. A digital version of the club's history will be available. soon.

Large ordeal

The project wasn't easy. She started last fall, going through scrapbooks and photos, and then more photos and more scrapbooks.

Anything she could get her hands on. Plus, there were plenty of phone calls to be made, too.

One of her biggest discoveries came when she found boxes and boxes of club memorabilia at the Rec Center, the only trouble being that nothing was labeled.

"I don't know how many people I talked to about identifying the photos, but it was a lot,'' she said.

Most interesting was chatting with club members who skated in the 1950s.


"They talked about all the changes, then and how things have changed now,'' she said. "It was very enlightening, a lot of stuff I didn't know.''

Back then, they skated at the Mayo Civic Auditorium.

Drew Olympic hopefuls

Rochester was only one of four cities in the United States to have an enclosed ice facility and it wasn't uncommon for Olympians or potential Olympians to train here in the summer.

"They really utilized the catwalks above the rink (at the Auditorium) to hang props such as swings from them,'' Nelson said. "One year, hoses were strung across the catwalks to create an authentic 'Skating in the Rain' number. The catwalks were also used to make the skaters 'fly' in 'Peter Pan' and 'Mary Poppins.' ''

There's a lot of history over 75 years.

"We needed something that was accurate and compiled in one place,'' she said. "Call it a labor of love.''

The digital history of the club is going to be available through the club's website at

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