Exploring History on Harry Hines Blvd.


There’s a conspicuous blue building on Harry Hines Blvd.  I drive by it daily.  Its sign has big unmistakable letters identifying it far and wide.  And in case there’s any doubt, there’s also a large beckoning banner: Open to the Public.

Now before you panic and wonder what type of business on Harry Hines Blvd I’m speaking of, I’ll identify it.  It’s Janitor’s World.

Aside from my dreamy imaginings of a building full of cleaning supplies, this place has an even more compelling reason to attract my attention.

History!

The building started out as the Star Lite Rollercade.

Click the link to read a Dallas Morning News article from October 30, 1960 that discusses the steel structure.  You’ll also see a black and white photo in the article.  I love the sign. DMN-Newsbank-Delta Steel Buildings Co.

Here’s a color postcard of the Star Lite Rollercade.  Source: the DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.

Below is a current photo of the building.  (Courtesy of my new dash cam!)  Notice how the facade has changed.  (Click image for larger view)

 


With all my research and fascination— I had to visit.  I wanted to see if it felt like a skating rink inside.  I feared the worst.

My friend Tore and I walked in last Saturday.  I was immediately distracted by the aisles of cleaning supplies.  Tore pointed to the floor.

The original floor remains.  Not in the entire structure. But a good portion.  I imagined myself transported to the former skating rink days.  And if you need help being transported, here’s yet another Dallas Morning News article dated November 6, 1965.  It’s a charming discussion of the youth, their music and the Star Lite Rollercade.  DMN-Newsbank-ComboCraze-StarLite

Now let us admire the floor….

We were greeted by an employee who asked if we needed any assistance.  I hesitated but replied, “this is going to sound weird— but we came because we’ve read this was an old skating rink.”

The employee replied, “yes it was.  In fact we had an elderly woman visit us who said she used to skate here as a kid.  The owner of the building has photos of this place when it was a skating rink.”

The employee went on to explain the back portion of the building had the flooring removed since it’s more of a warehouse space.  I had to see.  Take a look at the steel from the Delta Steel Buildings Company.  Even though this was my first visit, I felt such a connection to this building!

We walked up and down every aisle.  I admired the weathered wood flooring as well as the tantalizing professional grade cleaning supplies.  There were wall mounted air fresheners and countless scents to choose from.

I discovered cleaners I never knew I needed.  Sponges and scrapers.  My own janitorial cart.  Floor buffers. Toilet paper dispensers.  Vacuum bags.  Tile cleaners.  Products called defoamers— which apparently help get rid of excess foam residue in carpet.

We spent a long time there.

Ever wonder what the restroom at a Janitor’s World is like? It lives up to its name.  It’s well stocked with supplies.  I felt inspired.  🙂

Of course I purchased items. Bought exciting new cleaners for the home.  The prices were fair too.

The cashiers were friendly and very concerned about a clean appearance.  The cashier commented that she wasn’t thinking when she wore a white t-shirt to work (I think she had already gotten it dirty).  Then there was a young woman at the other register.  She was in a painter’s suit, painting the register counter white.

There was a refreshing sense of pride in this store.  I am glad the Star Lite Rollercade building is in good hands and is serving the community as Janitor’s World.  I hope it remains this way for years to come.

 

I still haven’t stopped thinking about the wall mounted air freshener that I need for the office.  I predict I’ll be returning soon.

And yes, you too can visit. Just know it closes at 3 pm on Saturdays. Because Harry Hines Blvd. 😜

 


This post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t end it by referencing the postcard link again.  The back of the postcard lists the owners of the Star Lite Rollercade:  Lester & Geraldine Young.  If you missed that detail, visit the postcard link here:  Star Lite Rollercade.  Source:  the DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

I was able to locate their obituaries.  Mr Lester Young seems like quite a loved grandfather and great-grandfather.  He passed away on January 16, 2014.  He was 85 years old.  Mrs. Geraldine Young passed away recently – on October 2, 2018.  She was 89 years old.  May they Rest in Peace.


 

 

Hopefully this little post inspires you to observe and learn more about your own city or community.  It can make a daily commute much more interesting.  If you are interested in researching, here are a few tips I’ve learned:

  • Get a library card – particularly one that subscribes to Newsbank.  With Newsbank you’ll have access to a treasure trove of newspaper articles.  I newly discovered the Plano Public Library subscribes to Newsbank and I’m able to access it from the comfort of my iPad.
  • You can also visit many libraries and access Newsbank without having a library card.  I have done this method at the Dallas Public Library downtown.

 

9 thoughts on “Exploring History on Harry Hines Blvd.

  1. How interesting indeed.I enjoyed this so much.I frequently went to The Star Lite.I remember it so well.So many memories of my youth there.Birthday parties,girls,even fights.I can recall so many of the employees and regulars every weekend.I loved the snack bar ,they had a drink called the “suicide”.They played much from the Saturday Night Fever Sountrack and Grease..along with the Bay City Rollers,Sweet,Kiss,Ted Nugent,and Disco hits.A different time ,so long ago..

    1. Andrew,
      Oh wow! I’ve not ‘met’ someone who was this familiar with the skating rink! Thank you for sharing all the fun details! The place comes even more alive with your memories.

      Have you been there recently, now that it’s Janitor’s World?

      AND any chance you have photos when the place was a roller rink?

      Denise

  2. I worked at Starlite rollercade for several years while in school between about 1967-1970. I maintained and gave out skates and worked the snack bar. The Saturday night dances with live music were very crowded and could get rough.

    1. Blair,
      Oh wow! It’s a pleasure to “meet” someone who remembers the Starlite AND who worked there!

      Do you have any photos or ephemera from the Starlite? Maybe a check stub? I’ve come across embroidered patches for other rollercades but have yet to find one for the Starlite. Did you have any patches?

      If you haven’t visited, you should stop by and visit the location now that it is a Janitor’s World. I bet despite the transformation it will bring back memories!

      Thank you for stopping by my blog and commenting!

      Denise

    2. Blair….for YEARS i have been trying to find a recording of the song that was played for The Birthday Skate…i am SURE you heard it a THOUSAND times. Do you have any input on the song at all? i have GOOGLED and asked and researched and i cannot believe NOBODY knows anything about the song….this is going to sound ridiculous but the only line any of “my crowd” can remember is the very first line “Todayyyyyyyy is someone’s birthday…”…..LOL…do you have anything to offer?

      1. Hi Ayn,
        Wow, oh wow! Now I’m curious about this song. I hope we do hear from Blair! (** Blair, we’ve gotta hear from you!**)

        Last weekend I spent a little bit of time researching a jingle I remember for Furr’s Cafeteria. The search came up empty but I can relate to your wish to find the birthday song. Then there’s a Drug Emporium jingle I cannot find but heard a million times while working there… but alas, I deviate. 🙂

        Thanks for writing and hopefully you are able to get closure!

        Denise

  3. Denise. I have nothing but memories. But I remember the owners and a few of my co-workers. I wish I had photos.

    1. Ah, that’s a shame! Yet, comparing then and now, I think you have the better deal with the memories. These days everyone is so busy taking selfies and other photos, not really living in the moment. But those times at the skating rink, you were living in the moment! Cherish those memories!

      Also, not sure if you noticed but someone else commented on this blog about the Starlite, his name is Andrew Aguirre. I don’t know what time period he was at the Starlite, but he indicated he remembers some of the employees. Wouldn’t it be fun if you two know each other?!

      Denise

Leave a Reply!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s