Thanks to Larry Standlee for finding and transcribing this wonderful article.
Bonham Daily Favorite, Bonham, Texas, May 29, 1939, Page Four
Former Honey Groveite Tells Of Early Days
From the Honey Grove Signal-Citizen.
From the pen of former Honey Grove citizen, who desires his name witheld, we publish the following interesting story of early days.
"The opening of a skating rink in Honey Grove to a large majority of the residents will not in any manner cause memories of any special events but to those who were living Honey Grove in the years of 1882 and 1883, it will bring back recollections full of pleasure both to young and old for the first rink, which was opened by Tom Coulter on South Sixth street about where York's garage is now located, was overrun with patronage and meals at home were irregular and sleep a secondary consideration. Skating was so popular and also profitable to the management that larger floor space was deemed advisable. No building being suitable several citizens decided to build a place both for the pleasure of the assurance of a nice profit from the investment as they were promised $100 per month which in that day was considered wonderful.
The men behind the project were W. J. Erwin, L. C. Hill, E. E. Blocker and N. F. Miller. The lot now occupied by the Texas Company at the corner of 7th and East Market streets was leased and a frame building 100 X 200 feet erected. It was rented to Tom Coulter and he operated the business for about six months in 1883. The rink was headquarters for young folks entertainment. Honey Grove had the reputation then and in a way still has for both beauty and talent. Young people from Bonham and Paris flocked to Honey Grove although the roads in 1883 were not like they are now, but they managed to get over them in some way. When the new rink was opened and weekly thereafter, Mr. Coulter would have special nights and give prizes to contestants. This would draw large crowds of spectators as well as skaters and there would be music and a jolly good time generally.
Naturally, there were better skaters than others and a rivalry soon started, each having a following of friends and admirers, who were encouraged by the management. This finally resulted in a contest between two young ladies, both of whom are still living, as to who was the best skater. The decision was to be made by their friends, voting in a special carnival night after each had given an exhibition as to their skating ability to the large crowd. People from Sherman to Texarkana were present and the building was beautifully decorated. Reflectors on oil lamps made the room bright and music lent charm to the occasion.
Excitement ran high as bidding at 10 cents a vote for the silver cup to be awarded to the best skater proceeded with first one contestant in the lead and then the other. The exact value of the loving cup was $1.50, but the desire on the part of the friends of each candidate to beat the other was so great that the receipts from the contest amounted to $100. Many spent money that they regretted later.
The rink was blown down by a wind storm and the salvage just paid the first cost of same and there was no profit or loss to the promoters. Other interests prevented re-building and so ended that features of a long and colorful record of Honey Grove activities that were known far and wide because of the type of people who have gone out to all parts of the United States.
In 1883 there was little consideration given to athletics as features of health. Bicycles had some following as did baseball. A long list of ex-skaters could be named but not all of them. This article will bring back memories to many of the citizens who lived in Honey Grove at the time of this rink and will give a diversion that will enable you to quit thinking how you can stay off of relief."