A longtime staple of entertainment in Swanton will be closing next month. The June 3 closing of the Swanton Coliseum roller skating center was announced Thursday on Facebook.
Many who have grown up in the Swanton area have fond memories of the business, as evidenced by the outpouring of comments on the center’s Facebook page.
Owners Gene and Linda Wyse Bridges say it is time, since both are in their 70s and hope to spend more time with their family and travel.
“We hope we have always been a positive influence for the community and for our skaters,” Linda said. “Thanks to everyone for the memories.”
The property will be sold, and Linda said they do not know what the new owner has planned for the building. She added, “We are certain it will not remain a skating center.”
Regular hours will continue until June 3.
Bob and Dorothy Wyse built the Swanton Coliseum in 1957. After being told he was crazy by several banks, they finally found financing. They built their dream and the rest is history.
During the 60 years of operation, the Coliseum provided family entertainment for the entire area. During the early years, Saturday night became record hop night. National celebrities Neil Sedaka, Jan and Dean, and Johnny and the Hurricanes appeared along with many local bands.
In the mid ’60s, family friends Norm and Donna Tiplady leased the business for several years. They were very successful, but in the late ’70s the Wyse family got involved again. Son Tom and his wife Beth Perkins Wyse did some redecorating and opened to entertain the next generation. That was the beginning of the All Night Skate. Also, disco music came in, and the Coliseum was the place to be.
In 1982, Tom and Beth moved to Arizona to open a new roller skating center, and Gene and Linda Wyse Bridges took over management. They have had that privilege for 35 years.
The Facebook post proclaimed, “If you were a floor guard or candy girl, or you met your husband or wife there, or if the Coliseum was your favorite place to go on Friday or Saturday night, please join us one last time on Saturday night, June 3, from 8-10 p.m. This will be your last chance to say, ‘See you at the Coliseum.’”