Thursday, January 31, 2013

Skating on Ridley Creek by the Media Waterworks

Someone mentioned to me that way back when Ridley Creek always seemed to be frozen over.  I knew what he was talking about because I was right there with him when we skated on it years ago as kids.  That was a time when you could put on your skates and play hockey all afternoon after school.  Skates didn't fit? No problem, we still had Bill Battey's Sporting Goods that was the premiere place in the area for trading and getting a new pair of blades.  Pucks, sticks and pads, they had it all and lots of it too.  Come to think of it, we never really wore the pads, as the rule was the puck couldn't leave the ice.  Fair enough, we were there to skate.

Growing up, ice skating was very territorial.  Upper Providence kids had their secret spots, Media had theirs, and Middletown had Linvilla and what was considered the  "big leagues," Glen Loch lake at the bottom of Mt. Alverno Road.  Big games went on down at Glen Loch as it was a vast area with a lot of enthusiasts making sure it was shoved and thoroughly prepared.

We spent a fair amount of time at the Media waterworks also.  It had a decent space, was close to home and had an adventurous aspect which included a long stretch that paralleled Ridley Creek Road.  I don't know how far it actually was, but it felt like you were skating for a long time up the creek towards Rose Tree Road.  The ice started to thin out in that area, so I never made it very far, but is sure added to the adventure.

Anyway, it was good to drive up Baltimore Pike and see people skating on Ridley Creek last Sunday. So good, I stopped to take some pictures.  I haven't been skating in a few year and don't have skates, but had Bill Battey's been still around, I may have just made the effort to get out their again.   Winter's not over yet, there's still a chance.



  1. Tedman I love reading your comments from let's say "the good old days". We've lived here for 32 years (in May) and I did not know about the ice skating areas back in the day. Someone(s) is doing a documentary on the Golden Mile in Springfield and one has been done on the Bazaar of All Nations. I would love someone to do one on State Street and surrounding streets in Media. You brought to mind Bill Battey's and oddly enough just yesterday I was talking to a gentleman who family has lived in Media for 5 generations! Just a short list of what we came up with: The School Bell, the A & P that became Thriftway, Roger Russell, the fact the firehouse used to be were Tancreeds is now.... of course there are more! If some printed copy or video already exists I would love to know about it.

  2. The biggest adventure at the water works was the ice underneath the Baltimore Pike bridge. It was so tempting to skate in there because it was not exposed to the elements and so it was as smooth as glass. But it was getting close to the actual dam, and so the ice was not as thick.

    There were definitely som ewinters in the early eighties where the ponds were frozen for weeks.

  3. I remember, back in the 1950's, ice skating on Bromall's Lake. It was all open, no fences to keep you out. The Media Police would be there to make sure it was frozen enough to be safe. When Police Officer Barney Bonner said "O.K." hundreds ,young and old, would rush on to the ice. I had a friend who could skate backwards and do figure 8's. It was a winter wonderland.

  4. Hey! Maybe if we all chip in and buy a new dam,the public could ice skate on Broomall's Lake. Let's ask .....

    1. Don't ask, just do to it. The Flyers could practice on Bromall's Lake. It could be a real money maker.