skatepark roots

A couple of nights ago I was feeling all nostalgic and decided to search around and see if I could find some pics of my old stomping grounds from “back in the day”. I was pretty suprised to actually find some!

The first concrete park I ever rode was an old busted late 70’s era park that had been left to rot in Edgewood MD on Rt 40. My aunt lived in Belcamp, and I was constantly being driven to her hut for visits. One day I saw what I thought was a big concrete berm off to the side of the road, but somewhat concealed because it was down in a little valley. On the way home from that trip I made my mom pull over so I could see if it really was a skatepark…and it was! It looked freakin scary as hell.

The place was dying, but that didn’t matter. I just HAD to ride this joint. Unfortunately I was between rides at the time, so I didn’t get to ride the park til Christmas day (about 4 months later), which was spent out at my aunts. I had gotten a custom Skyway T/A for xmas, and I rode it all the way from Belcamp to the park, which had to be at least 7 or 8 miles in the freezing freakin cold.

The place consisted of two different snake runs and a big horribly designed bowl. This is the view from the top of one of the snake runs. If you went over the edge of that far transition, you dropped like 25 feet. I actually saw some guy jumping it on purpose one day. I thought he were freakin nuts. It was Brian Foster. He was at this place a lot because he lived pretty close. Wheel Power was the shop the local tough guys got sorted out by.

This photo is taken from the same spot but looking over at the rest of the park. One of the hot lines was to start at the top of the hill you can see in the distance to the top right, sweep around the berm, and then air out on the opposing wall. We would usually do this and land back on the incline we had just ridden down to get speed. One day out of the blue, Brian Blyther shows up with Spike Jonez and they are taking pics (they were in MD for a demo the day before at Rockville or something)…Brian takes the same line to start but then airs all the way across the dirt waaay down into one of the snake runs. It doesn’t sound that tough, but this pic is decieving. To get a feel for the scale, take a closer look at the picture and realize that there are actually 3 skaters standing on that far incline. It doesn’t look steep either but when you were standing up there it was no joke.  Brian clipped his rear wheel on the lip trying that line and got a pinch flat, so I sorted him out with a tube. I always had tubes in my car in those days.

Here is a view of the main bowl, with someone riding around the vert edge. You can see how badly shaped this bowl was…the transition actually started to level off towards horizontal before abruptly kicking to full vert. The thing was horrible. There was no way you could do a proper air in it…no one was even stupid enough to try. You would just ride around the perimeter and sort of jump out of it right about the place the photographer is standing. You can also see the ring around where the bowl was usually filled up with water. I don’t know how many skateboards were ion that thing, but there were a lot. One of the snake runs butted right up against this bowl and if you lost your board and it went flying into air, most likely it was going in the drink never to be seen again. Yes it was as scary and as sketchy as it looked, but we loved this place. I was hardly a local, but I would get out there every chance I could. All edgewood pics are from the House of Steam blog.

Years later someone told me about Landsdowne. Landsdowne was a park that someone tried to open commercially in the middle of some neighborhood, but it never actually opened due to some sort of opposition. The thing is, the park was already completelt constructed by the time the opposition happened, so instead of dozing it, the county just let it ride..er uh, let us ride…whatever.

This is a fairly recent pic of the place. Once again it was first wave skateboard style snake runs, but this place was in way better shape than the edgewood park. In this pic, you can see two freshly planted trees on the left…that was all dirt when I rode here. Word is that the county gave the place a facelift not too long ago and tried to make it legit…enforcing helmet/pad rules etc, but eventually it just went back to the way it should be..free and underground.

Believe it or not, this park of the park rarely got used. It doesn’t really look it, but the walls are actually a little tight for riding a bike on. Mainly though, othert portions of the park were just more fun.

You can see the lighter colored cement where they paved over some sections that used to be asphalt. The main bad ass rider when we went there was a guy named Mike Forney. Man he could freakin rinse it!

I had stopped riding for a while, but then built up a Profile frame and fork with some Mongoose Pro Class wheels and green comp stadium tires, so I would have something to putt around on. I lugged that thing over to Landsdown one day because I heard there was going to be a contest there. Some dude named Hal was running the show, representing a little company he had started called 2B Homecooked or something like that. I dunno I think they ran a zine and had out some shirts…real lo-fi kinda scene. The place was swarmed with bikes (unusual for that era) and after a while he was running around trying to get people to sign up to compete. He came up to me and I was like “you’re joking right?”. I didn’t even have enough for the entry fee…but he was like “just give me a couple of bucks man and do it”, so I did. It was fun and there were some guys there doing some seriously sick stuff. To my suprise, I ended up getting the “Most soulful rider of the day” award, which was a big ugly chalice looking ornamental glass cup with a 2B sticker on it. I cherished that thing for years and I am really sad that I don’t still have it. A few months afterwards, Mike Forney gave me a copy of the Homecooked zine which the contest was featured in, and I got a photo in there busting a nice flat table over the one air-able hip…I still it somewhere among my memorabilia. I’m sure I’ll dig it out and put up a scan or something someday…

Ahhh, if I could only go back to those days. On the other hand…having had to ride parks like these, I feel like I -really- appreciate how slick places like Duncan Creek are. I guess thats why I feel like I should ride as much as I can and not take having a park that close for granted.

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16 thoughts on “skatepark roots

  1. Jason says:

    Yo, yo and yo…

    No question, you and I have met…. say in a past life. I’m from Elkton, as in MD, and was one of the Forney faithfuls, in or around The Underground bowling Tournie. Also quite familiar with Mr. Foster

    Couple of things,

    I’m living in Atlanta, and use to run the Atlantabmx.com website, which is now alifeunseen.com. I happened to spot your link through George’s site this afternoon.

    Jon Arrigoni and I through together a video many, MANY moons ago – 9 to 5 ham and Eggers. I’ve since loaded the 2b contest section on youtube.

    Rough upload, but you get the point.

    Drop me a line if you want to ride, or catch up on MD history. I’m living in town (ATL) but was thinking about hitting Duncan Creek tomorrow (Sat.) or possibly Sunday.

    Cheers man,

    Jason

  2. robertashton says:

    hey!
    I had started to look at Atlantabmx.com just before you changed the name. Great pics man!! Thanks for getting in touch. Maybe I’ll see you around Duncan Creek (I always go wicked early in the morning to avoid deck rats)…thats pretty much the only place I ride (for now). I kind of just soul ride…carve around and not do anything crazy. I’m too old to do anything crazy
    I’m easy to spot, I’m the “old guy” on on the Gray Giant Modem.
    So being from Elkton, did you ever ride that park in edgewood down rt 40?
    b-

  3. Jason says:

    yeah, I was a bit too young to ride edgewood, but was there one time.

    I eventually started to ride and hang out with Bruce and Chris, whose last name escapes me. They lived in Churchville, just over the bridge. Huge mini-ramp set up – two spines and series of hips, etc.

    Anyway, Bruce had about 2000 photos of the Fosters (Alan and Brian) riding Edgewood.

    I spent MUCH more time at Landsdowne from say 1991 until about 1995 when I moved to DC.

    I’ll drop you a line if I head to Duncan Creek. I was actually thinking of going this evening, but WAY too hot…

    Cheers,

    Jason

  4. melbeanerz says:

    bob .(former leader of Trik Inc.)..i remember u bobbl..hehe….said mike forney…..anyone remember the siKK ramp he built in his backyard?..two minutes from skatepark in landsdowne…i DO…messed myself up bad…mike the pusher..rofl…go go go…faster..lol..one crazy dude.many many days/evenings spent in landsdwn3…those were the days… anyone who rode there has scars to prove…concrete.HURTS…good times

    • robertashton says:

      concrete does hurt thats for sure

    • Aaron J. Condron aka Rome says:

      I remember those backyard ramps. I grew up in Lansdowne, still here in fact. I used to ride the Lansdowne bowl a lot before the 2008 makeover. I’m talkin 90 to 97. I always thought Mike Forney was kind of a Dick but I gotta give it to the guy, on a bike, he can shred. He used to tear it up at the bowl. I miss those days. Good to remember. Peace out, Rome.

  5. Jeff says:

    Great story about the concrete skatepark in Edgewood MD. We used to call it the Edgewood Bowl. It was in further decay than when your photos were taken (i think). The center bowl had a clogged drain and was full of debris and a couple feet of water. Though, it may have been cleaned later.

    Do you know what it was called or when it opened and closed? We’d have to get a ride from our parents. I had a 11th birthday party there around 1987ish. It was beyond awesome.

    Thanks you so much for taking the time to scan those photos in.

    • robertashton says:

      Glad you git a chance to ride there Jeff! I don’t know what it was called when it was actually open, but I do know that further south on RT 40 in Rosedale there was a skatepark called “Concrete Wave”. Dunno if the two were affiliated, but they may have been since they were on the same highway.

      Thanks for checking out the post and the pics.

  6. Curtis says:

    Referring to the edgewood bowl: The place was originally called “earthwave” skate park. It opened in ’78 and closed in ’81, and finally dozed in ’93. I was a local there and it was awesome. Around ’91 a bunch of us locals went down with shovels and brooms and cleaned it up real good, some one actually got a water pump and we pumped all the water out of the bowl and cleaned the junk out of it. I spent everyday possible from ’87 to ’93 there. Man those were some great times. Thanks for the great article and pics

    • robertashton says:

      I would have loved to have seen that place when it was properly open, with all the late 70’s skate action. Thanks for the info on the name and dates.

  7. Terry says:

    I just came across this while surfing the Web. I literally lived right across the street from it and had spent many of days riding the bowl along with Curtis. On a few occasions myself, along with Curtis and countless others had stopped demolition efforts by harassing the dozer operators. They finally got the job done while most of us were still in school.

    Great write up, sorry I found it so late.

  8. Chris says:

    Edgewood……… So much fun. I need to get all of the pictures from bruce and post them somewhere so that every one can enjoy. Im sure there’s a bunch at my dads house. Jason, the last name was Dombeck and we had some good times together, remember the hospital. Caz that sounds like you and im not sure if Larry has chimed in but remember him. I know most of these are old post but what the hell.

  9. Patrick says:

    Every once in a while I stumble across another site dedicated to my home on wheels. I was a local, bike madman. Rode on the Wheel Power team and worked a bit in the shop. I remember chucking rocks at the dozers as well, right alongside Curts and Caz. That place meant a whole lot to me.

    So one weekend, my aunt let me borrow a video camera and we started dorking around with it at the bowl. We took it about as seriously as we took everything back then, and if I would have known it would be the only video ever shot there (minus about ten minutes shot by Eaton and Jones of the Plywood Hoods before the battery died in their cam) I might have spent a bit more time on it.

    A year or so ago, I edited it and put it to music. Enjoy

    • robertashton says:

      Patrick the video of action at the bowl is AWESOME! Thank you so much for sharing. So many great memories there.

  10. Jeff Brody says:

    Wow…I used to ride edgewood around 1987- 90 with Chris Donato, Greg Jones, Greg Vineyard…The place was great!…went to Landsdowne a few times as well…vibe was a bit different there…but looking at those pictures… Brings back the memories…

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