Lombard Roller Rink closing later this spring, owners say

John Garcia Image
Friday, March 3, 2023
Lombard Roller Rink to close this spring
There are precious few roller rinks left in the Chicago area and now there will be even fewer as Lombard Roller Rink is set to close later this spring.

LOMBARD, Ill. (WLS) -- Roller rinks were once a huge draw for kids and adults alike in most towns, but now they are disappearing from the landscape much in the same way as drive-in movie theaters.

"The few left are relics and we should appreciate them while we have them," said Dan Lund of the Elmhurst History Museum.

There are just a handful of roller rinks left around the Chicago area, and soon one more will be gone as the owners of the Lombard Roller Rink have announced plans to close in the spring.

"It's really sad. These are one of the few places where you can still have a family event and everybody has a good time. It's reasonably priced. It's safe and it's fun," said longtime customer Sandy Vilips.

The Lombard Roller Rink is among many Midwest rinks chronicled in Tom Russo's 2017 book "Chicago Rink Rats." He said the Midwest was a hub for roller skating and there was a whole culture associated with roller rinks.

Many rinks were social hubs that hosted everything from kids' birthday parties to roller derby and dance parties. And they were a place where many couples met and eventually married.

"We see them rapidly disappearing unfortunately because they really are community assets. It's where kids go," Russo said.

"It's too bad because roller skating is a fun activity," said Lund.

Many roller rinks, including the one in Lombard, are family-owned businesses. In this case, the family has decided to step back and slow down. They are selling the property. They have not announced the final closing date but it will be sometime in the next couple months.