Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

A history of the Skate House


Dawn Fossand

The Kimball Friendship Center now occupies what was once a popular hangout for Kimball youth and adults, The Skate House.

"Every limbo boy and girl, All around the limbo world, Gonna do the limbo rock, All around the limbo clock." Chubby Checker - "Limbo Rock"

Once upon a time these lyrics could be heard as youngsters in Kimball skated under the limbo stick at The Skate House – a place where many may have spent Friday and Saturday nights, as well as the occasional Sunday afternoon.

Recent activity to restore and re-open The Goodhand Theater may have some Kimball citizens reminiscing of other now gone businesses, such as The Skate House.

Now the Kimball Senior Citizen's Friendship Center, in 1895 the location owned by Maude and Anna Clarkson, sat vacant of any buildings.

In November of 1901 the land was purchased by Julia M. Prouty and in 1937 Wilma Maud Rodman, wife of Kimball banker Charles Rodman, purchased the location at a tax sale.

Charles Rodman owned much of Kimball's real estate at the time, but on the very same day his wife sold the land to Horace Samuel Prouty, a native of Kimball who had served in the Army during World War II.

The location was then purchased by Dorthea Gatenby in Sept. of 1956 and a year later sold to Albert Eby.

After a full decade Eby began erecting the first structure to be built on the land in 1967, primarily with used materials. The only new material used on the structure were the concrete blocks and the roofing, according to local historian Karen Bivens.

On March 2, 1971, at the request of Governor Exon, a group of citizens establish a Senior Citizens Opportunity Center in Kimball.

Within two weeks the group had 73 members and they assembled for their first potluck supper. The group first began meeting in church basements, then soon started renting a home on Chestnut Street for their purpose.

As time moved on the organization grew and in 1974 they began a Handi-bus service to transport seniors and handicapped citizens. Then in 1976 a separate nutrition program was initiated to provide meals for five days a week.

By 1981 the group, in need of a larger facility, purchased The Skate House for $65,000 from Bob and Clara Eby.

As they moved into the newly remodeled building the group changed it's name from The Senior Citizens Opportunity Center to Kimball Senior Citizens Friendship Center.

Since that time the Friendship Center has served lunches, hosted special events and served as a gathering place for seniors to get together, make quilts and crafts, exercise or play a game of billiards.

Twice a year the Friendship Center hosts a rummage sale to raise funds for the center and each year they host a soup supper during Farmer's Day weekend.


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