Saints Duluth Roller Skating Center, 1978

Forty-two years ago today — July 30, 1978 — the Duluth News Tribune published a feature about the Saints Duluth Roller Skating Center on the cover of its Today’s Living section. Featured in photos were Rory Wohlstrom, Tammy Bergman, Lynda Gill, Tommi Peterson and Henry Miltakis.

When the saints go rolling in?
At any age, skaters roll to rock n’ roll

Story by Janet Burns
Photos by George Starkey

If the word means anything, the Saints Duluth Roller Skating Center on the Miller Trunk is a beehive.

On the desk of manager Jerry Weber is a sign. “I’m too busy to be neat.” His desk is an unbelievable mess. Just ask him.

A popular teenage rendezvous, the roller rink rocks to music six nights a week as hundreds of skaters whiz by on the 11,000-square-foot floor. There is a pattern to it as a disc jockey changes records and calls the turns. The seventh night is disco dancing.

But there’s also skating weekend afternoons, a slimnastic session during the week for women, and if you’re male, 72-years old and skate several times a week, it’s on the house during 1978. “If he has guts enough to skate as often as that,” says Weber, “he can come any time he wants to.”

They come in all ages and sizes. But probably there are more age 11 to 14 than any other, Weber reports.

There are experts and “tyros.” The latter are advised not to wear shorts — skinned knees are a sign and curse of the novice.

Some parents, now convinced that bad concepts of roller skating were a figment of the imagination, join in on family nights.

Flashing lights add a psychedelic effect to certain numbers. Special events are the order of the day.

Even the boss is sold on skating. “I love my work,” grins Weber. It’s my day off and I’ve been here since 8 a.m.”

Saints roller rink first appears in the Duluth city directory in 1977 at 2620 Miller Trunk Highway, with Jerome Webber listed as manager. The News Tribune renders his name “Jerry Weber.”

The name of the operation changes to Ridgewood Roller Rink in the 1987 city directory, with Laura Webber listed as manager. In 1990 the address changes to 4189 Haines Road, and then it disappears in 1992.

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