The roller skating craze claims 106 young lives in New York City in a ten-month period in 1912. "Pay[ing] the price for the venturesome pleasure," adventurous kids coast down hills while gaining speed and crash, at times into heavy trucks and automobiles. The fad began in 1905 and spread across the country, contributing to the health and influencing the fashion of Americans despite its dangers. Read more about it!
The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/). Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.
Jump to: Sample Articles
- April 1905. Cities in New England and New Jersey open roller skating rinks, beginning a revival of a sport that was last popular two decades prior.
- November 1905. Roller skating is favored over dancing and other forms of amusement. Health benefits are also linked to the craze.
- Throughout 1906. The craze works its way into rural areas of the western United States. More and more roller skating rinks open in major cities along the Pacific coast and Hawaii.
- November 1906. Newspapers begin running stories covering fashions related to the craze.
- January 1907. Washingtonians embrace the craze (now in the form of steel and ball bearing skates) both in rinks and on asphalt.
- November 1912. The National Highways Protective Society reports that 106 children in the Greater New York area have died in the first ten months of 1912 due to the roller skating craze.
Suggested Search Strategies:
- [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as
phrases using Search
Pages in Chronicling America.] Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as a phrase using Search Pages in Chronicling America: roller skating, roller skate, craze.
- It is important to use a specific date range if looking for articles for a particular event in order to narrow your results.
- To narrow results, search between 1905-1912.
Sample Articles from Chronicling America:
- "Revival of Roller Skating,"
The Jimplecute (Jefferson, TX),
April 01, 1905, Page 7, Image 7, col. 5.
- "Young St. Louis on Roller Skates Enjoys Fad so Intensely that Dancing and Other Forms of Winter Amusement are Neglected,"
The St. Louis Republic. (St. Louis, MO),
November 12, 1905, PART II, Page 13, Image 13, col. 1.
- "The Craze has Come: A Roller Skating Rink will Open March Third,"
The Hawaiian Gazette. (Honolulu, HI),
February 13, 1906, Page 1, Image 1, col. 2.
- "When the World Takes to Wheels,"
The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, CA),
February 25, 1906, Page 11, Image 11, col. 1.
- "Chinese Diplomat's Joke: Took Him Three Weeks but He Had His Fun,"
The Sun. (New York, NY),
April 22, 1906, Third Section, Page 36, Image 36, col. 4.
- "Latest Fad is the Roller Skate Two Step,"
The Seattle Star. (Seattle, WA),
September 01, 1906, Last Edition, Page 1, Image 1, col. 5.
- "Costumes for the All-Absorbing Craze,"
Los Angeles Herald (Los Angeles, CA),
November 25, 1906, Page 35, Image 35, col. 1.
- "Roller Skating,"
The Logan Republican. (Logan, UT),
December 22, 1906, Second Section, Page 12, Image 12, col. 2.
- "Even Beauty Yields to the Roller Skating Craze,"
The Washington Times (Washington, DC),
January 27, 1907, Magazine Section, Page 37, Image 37, col. 1.
- "More than Hundred Lives Sacrificed to Roller Skates," The Washington Herald (Washington, DC), November 24, 1912, SOCIETY AND DRAMA, Page 16, Image 16, col. 5-6.