I thank the skate gods everyday that I didn't grow up out in the country with dirt roads when I first discovered I wanted to skateboard. Instead, I grew up in Garland, Texas. Everyone feels differently about Garland as a city, but I loved growing up there. The first place I started skating was the sidewalk/street in front of my house back in 2003, but once I found myself doing ollies down the curb, I branched out.
The area where I grew up was littered with old/new buildings and typically sketchy loading docks. To this day, they are still one of my favorite type of spots to shred. There's just something magical about tetanus being inches from your face when you fall that fills my heart with joy.
Today, I'd like to take you around some of the most important spots to my upbringing. I'd like to make this into a video eventually, but that will have to wait, I suppose. Now this isn't EVERY spot in Garland. This focuses mostly on the spots my friends and I would skate. Leave me a comment on which spots you used to skate if you're from the area!
Northlake could be considered the most skated spot on this list. It was only 4 streets over from my house and my friends lived even closer (Minus my friend Neil, but luckily he was the only one who could drive to meet us.) It had a bike rack area we would practice flatground on and a 5 stair that can only be described as the worst possible stair set I've ever skated.
The run up was crooked with spikey bushes filled with bees (rumor was a body was in there.) there was a crack at the top and bottom. The bottom crack was so bad that it made the landing tilt inward. Directly after the crack, there's a curb. Despite all of its flaws, I learned more tricks on that thing than any other stair set/street spot.
Later, they added a 6 stair that was wooden coming from the portable buildings. There were little things all around the school too. I will forever have a place in my heart for this skate spot.
Albertson's off 78
I don't think the landing of this ledge has ever not had glass at the bottom of it. If you're looking for a sketch ledge, look no further. This was the first ledge I ever racked my self on and the first spot I landed a double flip on other than flat ground.
This Albertson's is long gone, but the ledge is still sitting beautifully in the same spot. I'm not sure what the kick outs are like here now, but I'll probably be back again soon!
Centerville and Northwest Highway Area
This has to be the largest cluster of skate spots in Garland or at least used to be. Some spots have been torn down, but if you explore this area, there are some real gems. Unfortunately, all of them have broken glass and needles awaiting you upon landing, but hey, that's what makes a skate spot really great, right? ...right?
Gold's Gym/UA8 Theater Area
If Northlake had the most visits, this area certainly comes in second. Every Friday we would go see a movie at UA8 and then pull our boards out of Neil's car and skate the whole area.
Although nothing in the title exists there anymore (Gold's Gym and UA8 have closed down), the spots are all still there. The nice 8 stair pictured above with the wall reaching out to kill you. The spot behind the gym where the ledge was killed by all the heavy skate hitters of that time. The small little ledges and stairs found all over the property with enough cracks to break all of our mothers backs.
Besides the one time I was kicked off by police from the gym, we were all left alone mostly. I'm still waiting for the day when someone 50-50s the tall rail that goes down the long steps facing Beltline Rd. If it's already happened, send me a link!
Behind Tom Thumb
Exactly a mile from the house I grew up in, Tom Thumb off Pleasant Valley was the cleanest spot to skate that was available to us. It smelled terrible usually, but I can't complain too much.
There is a small ramp up/manual pad, a ledge, great flat ground, and a few small gaps. There was also a ditch you could skate about a block from it. I saw someone break their ankle here once too. Gnarly.
Garland High School 9
If you lived in around Garland, you know about the Garland High School 9 stair. It was one of the most famous Dallas area skate spots until a few years ago when the handrail was removed. Sad times.
My first kickflip on a 9 went down there (pictured above) as well as my first boardslide down a stairset that big. Ask around and you'll find that every skater has a story from the Garland 9, plus a clip or two. I even broke my head open here once. I love/hate you, Garland 9.
("Revisiting Old Skate Spots in Garland, Texas" video coming soon!)