Downtown Kalamazoo Theatres

Excelsior Roller Rink (1884-1890)

Located behind and beside the residence at 131 Portage Street. East side of Portage St, north of South St. (entrance off South Street)

Built and operated as a roller skating rink from November 1884 until the end of 1890, the Excelsior Rink hosted skating contests and events, plus other forms of entertainment, including dances, concerts and other social events.

Managed by A. M. Dayton, the Excelsior Rink was 75 by 180 feet in size with a hardwood floor and seating capacity for eight hundred spectators outside the rink. It opened to the public on Monday evening, 10 November 1884.

portage-street-map-1887-598.jpg 

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map (detail), 1887
Local History Room

Western Cart Company

From 1886 to 1889, the building was occupied by the Western Cart Company, a local manufacturer of buckboards, roadcarts and wagons. Company president, Luke Cooney, Jr., who maintained the 6,000 square foot Excelsior Rink within the same building, was a well known local businessman and inventor. Cooney held patents for such items as a grain separator, water and air motor, gas generator, air compressor, gas and steam engine, adding machines, voting machines and a cash register. Cooney studied law at Kalamazoo College, and later became Secretary and General Manager of the Chicago Cash Register Company.

In 1891, the building operated for a brief time as H. B. Sortor, manufacturer of handmade stone hammers and stone cutter’s tools.

Downtown Kalamazoo Theatres: map and index