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Cascade Skatepark

Cascade skatepark, is located off Route 40 in Catonsville, in Baltimore County. The remanence of parts of this skatepark still remain, yet today it is hidden amongst bush, dirt and just scrap, yet this is a very cool spot that was once a huge part of skateboarding history in Baltimore.

Cascade Skatepark in 2020 filled in with junk.
Jason Stone 2020

Cascade Skatepark was built by Lee Plate and Lee had a dream when he was a kid to race cars, yet could never find a safe place to do so. So when his son David became obsessed with skateboarding and the fact that there was no safe, legal place to do so in the area at the time, it gave birth to an idea which would later develop into the construction of the skatepark.

Lee took the plunge and sold his stake in an auto service station in which he was a co-owner and partnered up with another local businessman Joe Mullaney. Both Lee and Joe did a lot of research a year before the construction of the skatepark, they visited parks up and down the East Coast and were able to gain inspiration and also identified mistakes that were regularly being repeated. They are quoted saying

“When we were ready to start designing Cascade we knew not what to do”. Lee Plate

It ended up being a 250,000 USD facility on two acres that housed 7 different types of outdoor bowls / pools that varied in skill level, which were opened in August of 1978. The variety that this place had would have been epic, we stumbled across an old flyer that was made for the park and they had really thought of a lot when it came to the variety of terrain, which included a double pool with vert section, 50 metre banked downhill slalom, freestyle competition area, and snakeruns. There was also one indoor pool that was geared for more advanced skateboarders. The indoor pool was 24 feet wide and 10.5 feet deep, which was opened in Jan of 1979.

Lee Plate, owner of the Cascade Skatepark being interviewed by The Evening Sun, March 1st 1979.
The Evening Sun - March 1st 1979

Interview of Lee Plate, owner of Cascade Skatepark. Article ran in The Evening Sun, March 1st 1979.
The Evening Sun - March 1st 1979

Original flyer from Cascade Skatepark.
Original flyer - David Plate

During a short period after the facility opened, there were a few invitational contests that were held at Cascade. One was held on the 3rd of March 1979 and this place was a hub for skateboarders in Baltimore during the late 70’s. During this time there was Cascade and one other skatepark, the Concrete Wave, that existed in the area at the time. From what we can gather this place held and still holds a lot of sentimentality to many skaters of the 70s generation.

Riders in one of the many pools that were located at Cascade Skatepark.
Tim Morris CIRCA 1978 /1979

Photo from the Cascade Skatepark half-pipe, from either 1978 or 1979.
Keith Lenharr CIRCA 1978 /1979

Riding the indoor pool, located at Cascade Skatepark either 1978 or 1979.
Denny Riordon CIRCA 1978 /1979

So as we move into the 80’s unfortunately the majority of the skatepark was destroyed, yet one bowl would remain for an unlikely reason. Apparently this bowl was built to also act as a water drainage system. During the construction of the skatepark the amount of soil that was shifted and the fact that the grounds were slightly slanted an agreement was made with the county to build this bowl which would also act as a water run off station, that still is hooked up to the county storm water system to this day. Ironic that during the past few decades it has still been skated and survived despite having a number of heavy objects along with dirt and branches dumped into wider areas of the bowl.

Cascade Skatepark broken up into rubble in 2020.
Jason Stone 2020

Cascade Skatepark covered in junk during 2020.
Jason Stone 2020

Now looking at how this spot has been used over the decades, it seems like it has been used infrequently. Despite the attempts to make this place unrideable. It made a feature in Powell’s Chaos during 1992, during the Bucky Lasek section, he is skating the steeper pipe at the beginning of the bowl, and lands a decent size ollie. It is also said to feature in an addition of Thrashers epic spots: the places you must skate before you die. From what we can gather it has always been a known spot that did gather skaters during the 80’s and 90’s and people would risk trespassing to get to skate it.

Powell "Chaos"from 1992 skip to 2:51 for Bucky Lasek skateboarding Cascade.

There is a bit of a legend that the indoor bowl still exists, yet this has not been confirmed. It is said that it still sits there on the property but no one has been able to ride it due to the whole property being guarded off.

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