September 23, 2015

These photos show Florida's rough and rowdy roller rink scene of 1972

In September 1972, photographer Bill Yates was wandering the back roads of Florida when he stumbled across the Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink in Hillsborough County.

Every weekend, for the next 7 months, Yates documented the skaters, the go-go girls, the booze, the humidity, everything. He shot over 600 photographs, but the negatives were packed away and forgotten when Yates moved to Providence to go to school at the Rhode Island School of Design. 40 years later, the photographer unearthed this amazing time capsule.

The traveling exhibit, entitled Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink, was selected in the Photolucida Critical Mass as a top 50 portfolio of 2013 and will be on display at the Ogden Museum in New Orleans from October 3 through January 17.

All photos by Bill Yates, courtesy of the Ogden Museum. 

Related:  (NSFW) Vintage shots from Daytona Bike Week in the ’70s and ’80s Parties of the past: 20 old photos from Pleasure Island Big hair, bikinis and beer: ’80s spring breakers on Florida beaches 20 pics from Paul Kwiatkowski’s book ‘And Every Day Was Overcast’ and the Superchief gallery opening party (NSFW)

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Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink - 1972-1973 - Six Mile Creek, Hillsborough County (Tampa) FL
Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink - 1972-1973 - Six Mile Creek, Hillsborough County (Tampa) FL
Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink - 1972-1973 - Six Mile Creek, Hillsborough County (Tampa) FL
Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink - 1972-1973 - Six Mile Creek, Hillsborough County (Tampa) FL
Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink - 1972-1973 - Six Mile Creek, Hillsborough County (Tampa) FL
Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink - 1972-1973 - Six Mile Creek, Hillsborough County (Tampa) FL
Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink - 1972-1973 - Six Mile Creek, Hillsborough County (Tampa) FL
Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink - 1972-1973 - Six Mile Creek, Hillsborough County (Tampa) FL
Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink - 1972-1973 - Six Mile Creek, Hillsborough County (Tampa) FL
Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink - 1972-1973 - Six Mile Creek, Hillsborough County (Tampa) FL
Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink - 1972-1973 - Six Mile Creek, Hillsborough County (Tampa) FL
Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink - 1972-1973 - Six Mile Creek, Hillsborough County (Tampa) FL
Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink - 1972-1973 - Six Mile Creek, Hillsborough County (Tampa) FL
Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink - 1972-1973 - Six Mile Creek, Hillsborough County (Tampa) FL
Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink - 1972-1973 - Six Mile Creek, Hillsborough County (Tampa) FL
Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink - 1972-1973 - Six Mile Creek, Hillsborough County (Tampa) FL
Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink - 1972-1973 - Six Mile Creek, Hillsborough County (Tampa) FL
Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink - 1972-1973 - Six Mile Creek, Hillsborough County (Tampa) FL
Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink - 1972-1973 - Six Mile Creek, Hillsborough County (Tampa) FL
Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink - 1972-1973 - Six Mile Creek, Hillsborough County (Tampa) FL