web analytics

Bowens Roller Skating Rink

On 52nd  St. and Division Ave., Grand Rapids

Building Bowen’s roller rink at 5200 S. Division c. May 1948. Robinson Studio Collection, GRPL Local History Room


It’s called “The Fun Spot” now. Below link is a Google Maps Street View of the building March 1, 2016


Scott Fannon Oldest Existing Business in the City Of Kentwood. Opened as a Roller rink and still a Roller Rink to this Day! Kentwood Fun Spot. I have been the owner for 14 years. 3-15-2018

18 Responses to Bowens Roller Skating Rink

  1. RICK JENSEN says:

    Saw Cheech and Chong there, and Alice Cooper another time at Bowen. I know Ted Nuggent and the Amboy Dukes played at the Note down in the Hastings area, so did Frank Zappa. The little roller rinks were the spot in the late sixties and early seventies.

  2. Suzy Losey Frederick says:

    For Doug Taylor…

    ‘The Place’ on Plymouth Rd. formerly Skate-o-Rama. Our pros were Howard and Goldie Engle (1961). You took 2nd place in State, Tom Corder & I (Suzy Losey) took fourth in pairs dance and went on to Nationals. A group of us still get together each summer, talk over ‘good’ old times, recall names of old friends, some gone now. Contact me if you wish by email.

  3. Kayla says:

    Hey, everyone!

    I am wondering anyone would know of a roller rink that was at 2150 Plainfield Ave NE in the 1950s-60s?

    I keep seeing articles about their being a roller rink at this location but haven’t been able to find a name or any other information.

    Thanks in advance!

  4. PAT TOWERS says:


  5. Tom Kirby says:


    The comment you quoted is so true. People ask me all the time if I know this guy or that guy or if I ever saw and heard this band or that band. And the answer is, no. Unless, by chance, they were sharing the stage with us at a gig, we seldom had the opportunity to see other acts. We, as were many of the bands, were all playing somewhere at the same time.

    I like to get together with you, too, and spend some time talking. But, you would have to be able to make it to Grand Ledge for me to be able to do that. So, if you can, just let me know and we’ll make it work.


  6. Tom Kirby says:

    Thanks Doug,

    Now that you mention the name “The Place”, I believe you’re right and that is where we played. And, as you mentioned the stage was at one end like in the pictures in the link you provided. You also made referrence to the roller rink in Grand Haven. If you listen to the interview I did with the DJ with Lansings Classic Rock radio station in 2012, he talks about that rink. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TB74ciitxyY

    You posted a poster for the last Rock and Roll concert held at the “Old Place”, I believe, which appeared to be headlined by The Maxx. My friend Joe Panessidi, a classmate of mine at Grand Ledge High School, was the drummer with the Beaux Jens prior to The Maxx. Unfortunately, I was serving in Vietnam during the time of The Maxx and never had the pleasure of seeing them.

    As always, topics discussed on your site has brought back many wonderful memories of my time with Tonto and the Renegades.

    Thanks again,


    • Tom, Your not alone on the “bringing back wonderful memories”, as I would like to believe that this site is responsible for getting several bands back together from the 60’s & 70’s and 3 reunion concerts. This site has grown in leaps and bounds and as of March 1, 2016 it has logged 5 million hits since we launched it in August 2011. I must say, that this site is very interesting and believe it or not, I actually use it for research, even though I posted just about everything in here.

      Most musicians tell me that they go down the list and read about every musician and what I hear all the time is “I didn’t know that guy played in that band, because I was gigging at the time”.

      I just wish that more people would come forward and give us musician and band names that are not on our lists. The Interaction is what makes this website period!!!

      We need to chat on the phone sometime soon, or better yet meet. I missed that Fenton Record Reunion in Sparta.

      Regards, Doug Taylor

  7. Tom Kirby says:


    Was there more than one roller rink in Grand Rapids that also showcased bands? I remember that we played at a GR roller rink with Scott Richards Case. But, I don’t recall the name of the rink or much else about the place. Seems to me there was a stage at one end of the rink. It would have been some time around 1966 or later because we had a record out at the time. But, again, I can’t remember which record it was. The roller rink in Grand Rapids would have been one of the first stops on one of the tours we made around the state. I believe we played another roller rink in Grand Haven, too.

    Tonto and the Renegades

    • Tom, There was 2 roller rinks in Grand Rapids that showcased bands, “The Place” and “Bowens Roller Rink”. The biggest one was “The Place” on Plymouth N.E. and is probably the one you played at, because both had stages, but “The Places” stage was built into the end wall. “Bowens Roller Rink” was on 52nd St. 1 block East of South Division Ave. The only time I was at “Bowens Roller Rink” we went to see “Cheech and Chong” Summer of 1972, just before I went into the Air Force, but I spent a lot of time at “The Place”, before it was a dance club. I went roller skating there a lot and got a Silver Metal (second place) in Men’s Sub-novice Freestyle in State Competition in 1961, when it was Skate-O-Rama. A guy I speed skated with Mike Figard married the daughter of the guy that owned Grand Haven Skating Rink and they also had a lot of bands play there and a lot of Battle of the Bands. I think I have seen a poster of SRC band from “The Place”. Doug Taylor – Admin

      Bowens Skating Rink is called “The Fun Spot” now and this Link shows the building in Google Maps Street View: https://www.google.com/maps/@42.8695204,-85.6633575,3a,75y,138.39h,84.75t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s94Uoq3DEvm069P7wtvvjYg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1

      You can see photos of “The Place” at this link: http://www.westmichmusichystericalsociety.com/the-place/

  8. Kevin S says:

    I saw Uriah Heep there with my friend Mike Furman. Best time and obviously unforgettable.

  9. Red says:

    I remember going there to see Cactus. Had to be ’71-’73, somewhere in that time frame.

  10. admin says:

    I went to see Alice Cooper about the time that I’m Eighteen was a hit at the 52nd st roller rink. The band that did Green-Eyed Lady, Sugarloaf, was the back up band.

    I do not have a poster or ticket stubs but the concert was most likely after November of 1970. Eighteen was released in Nov. 1970 and Green Eyed Lady in Autumn of 1970. According to this website http://www.alicecooperechive.com/tourdates/index.php?date=love the concert was on May 15, 1971 at Kentwood Memorial Hall. (Kim Rush)

  11. Tom M. says:

    I heard that Alice Cooper once played at Bowen’s. Does anyone have a poster or ticket stub they’d care to post for us?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *