The History of the Detroit Skating Club

In 1910, Detroit skaters enjoyed gliding across the frozen lakes and rivers surrounding Belle Isle as well as at a small artificial rink at the General Necessities Corporation downtown.  As a group of local skaters grew more dedicated, and the sport’s popularity grew across the nation, it was apparent that a more modern rink was warranted.

As a result, David Brown established the first modern ice rink in the Detroit area and quickly thereafter Gladys Salsinger organized a figure skating club. However, once World War I broke out, the arena was closed by government orders.

After the War was over, some local enterprising young men built the “Olympia Stadium” and Mrs. Salsinger, formed the new “Olympia Skating Club.”

The Olympia Skating Club held carnivals, featuring the outstanding amateur skaters of the time, including Sonja Henie, Pierre and Andrea Brunet, and Papez and Swack. But due to their fast decreasing ice time, the group was forced, once again, to reorganize.

In 1946, the members purchased a facility, previously used to house the horses of automotive magnate Charles T. Fisher, and call it home. In 1949 the club changed its name to “The Detroit Skating Club, Inc.”

As the club grew in size and stature, many Olympic and World Champions trained there. The expanding world of figure skating demanded a larger facility, and in 1978, the club took the opportunity to move to its present location in Bloomfield Hills. With the completion of an Olympic size rink 1994, the facility boasts three ice surfaces as well as off-ice training and locker rooms.

The Detroit Skating Club is one of only a handful of clubs in the United States that continues to own and operate its own facility.

Throughout the years, many National and Olympic-level skaters trained at DSC.  Included in this list are Gary Visconti and Tim Wood in the 60s, along with Doug Ramsey, who perished in the 1961 U.S. World Team plane crash; Melissa Militano and Johnny Johns (Pairs) and Johns and Mary Karen Campbell (Dance) in the 70s; 90s members Todd Eldredge, Nicole Bobek, Team Elan, Tara Lipinski, Danielle and Steve Hartsell (Pairs), Elizabeth Punsalan and Jerod Swallow (Dance); Jessica Joseph and Charles Butler (Dance), Jamie Silverstein and Justin Pekarek (Dance), Naomi Lang and Peter Tchernyshev (Dance); 2000s included Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto (Dance), Naomi Lang and Peter Tchernyshev (Dance), Alissa Czisny, Jeremy Abbott, Meryl Davis and Charlie White (Dance), Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker (Dance), Patrick Chan (Canada), Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje (Canada, Dance), Alexandra Paul and Mitch Islam (Canada, Dance), Valentina Marchei (Italy), Danielle O'Brien and Gregory Merriman (Australia, Dance), Nathalie Péchalat and Fabian Bourzat (France, Dance), Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohu (Dance), Elladj Balde (Canada).

As proud as we are of our history, we know the best is yet to come.