Palais de Glace

A brief history of lost California ice rinks

Palais de Glace

The Palais de Glace opened on February 10, 1925 on Melrose Avenue at Vermont Avenue, attended by "thousands of ardent devotees in gala attire" who turned out for the first ice rink in Southern California. The society mavens had their feathers ruffled when a crowd of some 200 "small boys" (who couldn't get into the sold-out event) opened a valve controlling a large tank of ammonia, releasing pungent fumes all over the box-holders. Order was restored by the management, police and fire departments, but the crowd was slow to file back into the arena.

After some speeches, there were performances by "Miss Margot," who did her "dizzy gyrations," Harley Davidson, Jack Fusick, Hazel Deane, George Brian, Carolyn Trask, Charlie Uksila, Robert Mann and Emily Brown, "all expert exponents of the art of ice skating." Then Peggy Hamilton "and her skate-clad Fashion Show" with her 20 famous stage and screen stars" brought down the house. There were multiple parties both before and after the ice rink's opening, including ones attended by Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford, Hancock Banning, E. L. Doheney, Jr. and Sr., and Alexander Pantages.

The rink had been constructed beginning the previous fall and a January opening had been hoped for. The building was 140' by 325' with seating for 4500 people. The ice surface was 70' by 170' (which met regulation hockey requirements at the time). The ice surface contained 47,000 feet of pipe laid one inch apart. The "solution tank" held 20,000 gallons of brine, which is forced into the pipe by pumps. Ammonia is used to ensure an even ice surface in all temperatures.

In September 1934, a fire broke out early in the morning that destroyed the Palais de Glace at Melrose and Vermont.

Polar Palace

Palais de Glace

Tropical Ice Palace

Pasadena Winter Garden


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