May 2, 2024 - Culture

Throwback Thursday: Golden Gate Park's skating origins

roller skaters

Luster Farias Jr. of Belmont leads a line skate at the Skatin' Place in Golden Gate Park in 2019. Photo: Josie Norris/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

There are few things as "totally San Francisco" as Skatin' Place on the JFK Promenade in Golden Gate Park.

Driving the news: The city recently began renting roller skates at Skatin' Place so that folks without their own pair of skates can still take part in this very San Francisco activity.

Flashback: Skatin' Place was established in the mid-1980s, according to the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department.

  • Leading up to its creation, David Miles Jr. had become the de facto leader in 1979 of the Golden Gate Park Skate Patrol, a group of skaters that fought against a parkwide ban on roller-skating, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
  • The Skate Patrol later successfully lobbied for Skatin' Place, a $70,000 project that transformed the area at JFK Drive and 6th Avenue into a place for roller skaters.

Of note: The history of skating in the park goes all the way back to 1891, when Golden Gate Park designer John McLaren brought a roller rink to the Children's Playground, according to the city's parks department.

What they're saying: Now, Skatin' Place "is an example of how roller-skating can and should be integrated into the public park system of every city," Miles, who is also the founder of Church of 8 Wheels on Fillmore Street, previously said.

  • "It serves as an oasis of joy for thousands of people to enjoy."
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