« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

By Morrie Schwinden, Fargo , Published March 24 2014

Letter: History of ice in Downtown Fargo

In the early ‘70s, I was the recreation director of the Fargo Park District and was approached by Ken Prommiseberger about adding some wintertime atmosphere to the downtown Red River Mall. Prommiseberger, I remember was working as a publicity director for the Downtown Association to promote shopping in downtown Fargo. If you remember, the mall was winding street on Broadway, with little parking.

I arranged with Matt Wolf, foreman of operations, to locate a warming house with a wood-burning stove and flood a small area near the present Swansons Health. I think we had a couple of figure skaters do some of their skating demonstrations.

Another ice rink was the Arena. It was located at the foot of Broadway, where the current Island Park pool now stands. The only thing left is the concrete façade which is the north wall of the pool. This indoor skating rink was built in late 1937 by WPA and managed by John Saul and Doc Chinn and was the largest indoor skating rink between Chicago and Seattle. I was told it had two full-size hockey pens.

During World War II, the rafters were torn out and relocated to Hector Airport for an airplane hangar. It was during this time that P.E. Mickelson established Fargo as the hockey capital of the upper Midwest with his championship teams.