My Geneva Is …

December 4th, 2020

By Becky Chapin, Archivist

My Geneva is

Girls of various ages ice skating on an indoor ice skating rink…..Cold Sunday mornings at the Geneva Rec Center, many, many years before it was glassed in. The Lake Country Figure Skating Club had three ice times a week, but my lessons were Sunday morning at 7:45am. I was working so hard my hands were always too hot for gloves. I spent over 11 years skating on that ice.

I’ve written about ice skating before in relation to our sports exhibit, but the subject is a big part of what Geneva is to me. I have incredibly fond memories of the recreation complex and of its staff. Sam Smock was the rink manager for as long as I could remember, when I left for college and came back to skate during breaks, he remembered me and asked how I was doing. After grad school I returned to Geneva and had some time on my hands during the week so I got my skates out and headed to a public skate during the day; now director of recreation, Dave Sharman, also remembered me.

I remember meeting Martha Wilson as a young kid getting my season pass to skate, I didn’t even know she was the director, but she was incredibly nice to my sister and I. Martha retired the year before I graduated high school and when I was looking for her retirement date, I found out she attended Ithaca College- my own alma mater.

With the creation of the skating club, I rarely ever went to public skating anymore. The rink was too crowded for me and skating around in circles didn’t appeal anymore. But Sam and Martha were almost always there during our ice time. I like that they valued the figure skating club and not just hockey. Though more often than I’d like, the skating club was booted out of our ice time for hockey games.

One thing I remember is that when the announcement about closing in the rink was made, us figure skaters heard that it was because the college hockey players were complaining about the cold. We used to make fun of them because we’re the ones who went out in tights and skating costumes- we should have been the ones complaining (though I’m sure we did, I just don’t remember it!).

I went to look at public skating hours for this fall and found out there was no public skating yet due to the pandemic. I was looking forward to getting back on the ice and building up my muscles again now that my skates are out of our sports exhibit. Maybe one day soon I’ll be able to get back out on the ice. Until then, I’ll just watch our old shows on the VHS tapes we still have.

Everyone has their own Geneva.  If you could capture your Geneva in just one photo, what would it be?  A favorite restaurant or store?  A place from your childhood?  An individual or group of people? A street?  A place connected to favorite memory?

The Geneva Historical Society is collecting these photos for the exhibit My Geneva is …. The exhibit will be made up entirely of photos submitted by community members. Along with a photo, submissions should include a narrative about why the photo captures your Geneva and a description of who or what is depicted.   Some submissions to My Geneva is… will become part of the Historical Society’s photograph collection.  The deadline for submissions is January 4, 2021.  My Geneva is …. will be on display at the Geneva History Museum from January 25 through June 26, 2021.   

If you have questions or submissions, please email Becky at

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