Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Mark C. Steinberg Ice Rink in Forest Park

The Mark C. Steinberg Ice Rink opened on November 11, 1957 in Forest Park right in the shadow of Barnes-Jewish Washington University Medical campus on Kingshighway.



Mr. Steinberg was a native St. Louisan and a self-made man starting out as an office boy in a brokerage firm, eventually starting his own firm, the largest of its kind in St. Louis at the time.

Mark C. Steinberg (source)

His wife Etta Eiseman Steinberg was a big part of the many charitable organizations and philanthropic donations and leadership by the Steinberg's including Steinberg Hall which houses the Washington University College of Architecture, Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design, and the College & Graduate School of Art, the Steinberg wing of Barnes-Jewish Hospital and of course the Ice Rink.

Etta Steinberg was impressed by the Central Park skating rink in New York City, so she gave $600,000 toward the $1 million skating rink in Forest Park in St. Louis, known as Steinberg Skating Rink (source).


Mr. Steinberg (1881-1951) grew up in North St. Louis and was buried in New Mount Sinai Cemetery in Affton, Missouri just south of St. Louis.


The skating rink is the largest outdoor rink in the Midwest at 27,600 square foot of ice.  The rink is fully functional and available for skating lessons and all day passes for public use, private parties and corporate/charity events.  It's a mere $6.00 to skate all day and figure or hockey skate rental is $4.00; or, of course, bring your own.



The rink is typically open from mid-November through February.  There is a zamboni machine on the premises, so the surface is safe and smooth for optimal fun for all ages.  The area is used for sand volleyball May through August.  There are two regulation, lighted sand volleyball courts, again available for leagues, private parties and corporate functions.

The park area surrounding the rink is professionally landscaped and is framed by the Barnes-Jewish Medical Complex in the Central West End neighborhood, providing a  big city vibe right among natural Missouri plants and beauty.  







River Birch, Bald Cypress and other trees flank the outer edges providing a wind break and shade.  The "knees" of the cypress are spiking up in the exposed areas at the base of the trees...I love it!



There are plenty of parking spaces in the adjacent surface lot and an ample supply of bike racks for the many cyclists in Forest Park.




Other outdoor features include a large open fire pit to warm up to, lights strung over the rink providing a great scene for skating after dark and a sound system that was swinging with some classic rock deep cuts on my visit.



There are plenty of benches for spectators both inside and outside with great views of the rink on 2 of the 4 sides.




Speaking as a product of the 1970's, mid-century bowling alleys and skating are part of my formative years...so the interior of the rink is nothing short of retro gold (or in this case aqua) for me...feels like home.  When the facility was recently renovated, they kept most of the original touches (including old school time card clock in machine, bathroom fixtures, etc) and man am I glad they didn't throw up dry wall over the glazed brick. 

Here's some stuff that caught my eye on the interior of Steinberg:




 beveled aqua bricks frame the windows



 even the font and style of the staff jackets look right outta 1975



hey tough guy, don't mess with those lockers

Winter in St. Louis can be lots of fun!

2 comments:

Abigail Webster said...

Great! We're going to visit my sister who live in St. Louis this week and I'm sure my kids would be delighted to hear that there's an Ice Skating rink. We live in California so you can just imagine how excited my kids every time we go to places with snow.

Sean Nash said...

I'd like to bring my kids here to make them experience and learn ice skating. We never had that when we were kids but we were able to learn the basics eventually. I'd like my children to get a taste of real learning because they might want to be figure skaters in the future.