The Shake & Bake Family Fun Center, including a 40-lane bowling alley and a 22,000-square-foot (2,000 m²) roller-skating rink, is a landmark of African-American culture in Baltimore. The non-profit, National Public Radio, WEAA-FM featured the Shake & Bake in the first episode of the documentary series “The Rise of Charm City” and provided a remarkble piece of roller skating history.
By the beginning of the 1970s, Baltimore’s downtown area known as the Inner Harbor had been neglected and was occupied by a collection of abandoned warehouses. Problems faced downtown during this time in the form of economic depression, housing abandonment, gangs, prostitution, crime, and racial rioting. Baltimores’s nickname “Charm City” came from a 1975 meeting of advertisers seeking to improve the city’s bad reputation, and which should pale “Mobtown” into insignificance, a nickname that has been in place for a long time.
In the episode of the radio show Glenn Doughty, professional football player for the Baltimore Colts from 1972 to 1979, recalls the time and his objectives to support the re-development of the neigborhood with building the Shake and Bake Family Recreation Center in the Upton neighborhood of Baltimore in 1982.
Also local skating star Arsenio Gee, and many roller skating regulars remembers the past and discuss their hopes for Shake & Bake’s future. Great show, which reminds me of the quote by Tasha Klusmann, founder of the National African-American Roller Skating Archive:
“Roller skating is urban.”
Link to the feature: Episode One: Keep Shaking and Baking