During the 1940s, ice skating flourished on what was then called the Provo Boat Harbor (Utah Lake State Park). Before there was a harbor, however, there were very few safe places to skate on the lake.
In an effort to keep skaters out of harm’s way, Provo City and the federal government’s Works Progress Administration cooperated to open an ice skating rink in the old baseball park that once stood on the land now occupied by the Provo City Recreation Center.
In November, 1938, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, Boy Scouts of America, and BYU’s Associated Men Students sponsored activities to help raise money for the construction of the temporary rink. The Jaycees sponsored a work day where leveling and banking were completed, and men flooded the rink, which measures approximately 400 by 600 feet.
Men sprinkled water on the rink every night for the remainder of the cold season. Laborers hung roughly 2,000 square yards of canvas over the ice to help protect it from the sun. Warm weather delayed the opening of the rink, but authorities finally sanctioned a limited opening of the outside facility to “children only” on December 14, 1938, and 300 kids attended. Ballpark lights illuminated the rink at night.
Children monopolized the rink until a grand opening on January 3, 1939. Provo City gathered Christmas trees and placed them around the ice to make the rink look “realistic.” So many patrons attended that evening schedules were divided into an early session for those age 12 and under, and a later session for those over 12. A public address system provided music for the skaters.
Children under 15 years old were admitted free. All others paid 10 cents. Skaters could check their shoes for an additional 5 cents. These fees helped pay for lighting and sprinkling expenses. The rink closed on February 23, 1939. It opened again for the next two winters and then was discontinued when safe skating became available on the partially completed Provo Boat Harbor. During its short history, over 23,000 skaters used the rink in North Park.