A handful of patrons take to the rink at Temple Hills Skating Palace in Hillcrest Heights, Maryland, on March 28. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)
A handful of patrons take to the rink at Temple Hills Skating Palace in Hillcrest Heights, Maryland, on March 28. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)

A Prince George’s County landmark known as one of the D.C. region’s most infamous teenage hangouts may close its door April 5.

Temple Hills Skating Palace has long blared hip-hop and R&B music from its speakers for birthday parties, community events and local fundraisers. During the 1980s and 90s, go-go bands performed at the rink which many locals affectionately call “Crystal Skate.”

The venue’s name was changed from Crystal Skate to its current moniker in 2007.

General Manager Lashon Andrews said Monday that a new owner recently purchased the entire property which includes the skating rink, a pawn shop and other businesses.

Andrews, who’s worked at the skating rink for three years, declined to comment on the identity of the new owner.

“Anytime you have a new landlord and they are doing improvements to the business, of course they want a rent increase,” she said. “But we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. We’re still [involved in] negotiations and I can’t go into the particulars. But tentatively, the closing date is April 5.”

She said 50 to 60 employees work at the skating rink which opened in the early 1970s. Most of the rink’s personnel work part-time but three members of the staff work full-time.

People line up outside Temple Hills Skating Palace on March 28 for what could be their last time if the popular venue closes as currently scheduled on April 5. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)

Andrews added that several of the employees, when they’re not working, enjoy skating at the rink — an activity they’ve enjoyed since their formative years.

“They’re hurt. They’re crying. They’re depressed,” she said about how the employees feel. “Community members have been calling and wanting to help out. It’s very overwhelming right now.”

News of the Skating Palace’s closing spread quickly on social media after an announcement was posted on its Facebook page Thursday.

“The decision to close was not an easy one,” according to the company statement. “The generations of families and all of our customers have meant so much to us. Your loyalty and support over the years made our business what it was and we want to thank you very much.”

To celebrate the rink’s last full week, adult skate events will start 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, featuring Norman McHugh, better known as ‘DJ Stormin’ Norman.” As of 2:10 p.m. Monday, exactly 145 comments had been posted on the rink’s Facebook page.

John Bailey IV, president of the Camp Springs Civic Association, summarized how thousands of D.C.-area natives made “Crystal Skate” part of their heritage.

“Crystal Skate was at the top of the list where you could meet with friends whether they could skate or not,” Bailey said in a text message on Saturday.

“The goal was to congregate outside of school and the neighborhood. The music was always a draw, either with a DJ or a go-go band. [Kids got there by] being dropped off by a parent or an individual in [their] immediate circle who had a car for the evening.”

He continued: “Crystal’s was the place for us on the weekend. It will be truly missed and we should celebrate it as a national treasure in our community.”

Coverage for the Washington Informer includes Prince George’s County government, school system and some state of Maryland government. Received an award in 2019 from the D.C. Chapter of the Society of...

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