From the early 1940s to the mid-1960s, Pla-Mor Roller Rink at 10626 Cedar Avenue was the only skating rink in Cleveland that welcomed Black skaters. Pla-Mor had its start as the Coliseum, a large hall that opened in 1940 in a decommissioned bus garage and, in addition to featuring a large roller rink, hosted trade shows, sporting events, concerts, and large parties. In 1942, Elmer “Al” Collins became the manager, renovating the cavernous Coliseum as the Pla-Mor and hiring Walter Peabody as skating instructor and Sherdena Walker as organist. Collins went on to found the National Roller Rink Operators Association, based in Detroit. The organization held its Black freestyle and speed skating national championships in Pla-Mor and at a rink in Chicago. Even as African Americans tried to gain access to the nearby Skateland, a larger rink on Euclid Avenue where white management and skaters harassed Blacks attempting to skate, Pla-Mor provided a warm welcome. Beginning in 1950, Pla-Mor was owned and operated by Bill and Mary Tucker. In addition to roller skating, Pla-Mor hosted popular bands in its ballroom. After changing its name to the University Party Center in 1965, the venue burned down during the Hough Uprising of the following summer.
- “Count Basie’s Orchestra to Play for Coliseum Opening.” Call & Post. October 5, 1940.
- “New Owners Take Over at Pla-Mor.” Call & Post. March 11, 1950.
- Polk, Anita Lewis. “Destruction of Old Pla Mor Recalls Days When Building Was Focal Point.” Call & Post. September 3, 1966.
- Souther, J. Mark, and Timothy Klypchak. “Pla-Mor Roller Rink.” Cleveland Historical. clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/621.
- “Sues Coliseum for Injury on Skating Rink.” Call & Post. March 1, 1941.
- Toppin, Russell J., Sr. Interview by J. Mark Souther. 19 June 2013. Cleveland Voices. clevelandvoices.org/items/show/2398.
- Wilson, Sunnie, with John Cohassey. The Life and Times of Sunnie Wilson. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1998. digital.library.wayne.edu/item/wayne:WayneStateUniversityPress4363/file/HTML_FULL.
- Wolcott, Victoria W. Race, Riots, and Roller Coasters: The Struggle over Segregated Recreation in America. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012.