Bowling Alleys
Bowling Alleys
Posted by: Kchi (
Date: November 10, 2010 10:47AM

Just like movie theaters, Chicago had at one time many small bowling alleys, most of which are now gone.

I remember going in the 60s to:

Humboldt Bowl
Congress Bowl Milwaukee Ave
Fireside Bowl Fullerton Ave
Diversey River Bowl Diversey Ave

Believe it or not, I found some newspaper articles of bicycle races at Humboldt bowl in the 1930s. How this worked, I don't know.

In addition in the 20s and 30s, many Catholic parishes had several manual bowling lanes. Several years ago, there was a newspaper article that was about St. Mary of the Angels on Hermitage still having I believe four bowling lanes.

Would appreciate postings identifying locations of these long gone bowling alleys or any memories people might have bowling at these old fashioned bowling alleys or even those with human pinsetters.

Re: Bowling Alleys
Posted by: shoreline (
Date: November 10, 2010 11:28AM

The bowling alleys I remember from the 50s and 60s were:

Devlin - Devon and Lincoln
Hartnett's- 6700 N Lincoln
Nortown (Bud Shabley's)- Devon and Maplewood - 2nd floor
Theater- Pratt at Western
Sunset - 7300 N Western
Markay- Touhy at Western- 2nd Floor
Morse - 1400 W Morse " "

Both Devlin and the lanes on Morse Ave had "pin boys" during the 50s.
Other than Sunset, none of the above mentioned had more than 12 lanes.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/10/2010 11:46AM by shoreline.

Re: Bowling Alleys
Posted by: 222psm (
Date: November 10, 2010 02:45PM

Drake bowl- Montrose and Drake
Monte Cristo bowl- 3326 w Montrose

The Monte Cristo was one of the last places the Schuessler-Peterson boys where seen,
before they where murdered.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/10/2010 02:46PM by 222psm.

Re: Bowling Alleys
Posted by: Kchi (
Date: November 10, 2010 03:16PM

I stumbled across this website that has pictures of some old bowling alleys.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/10/2010 03:17PM by Kchi.

Re: Bowling Alleys
Posted by: bwalsh (
Date: November 10, 2010 10:21PM

I remember there used to be one on Archer Ave, somewhere between Kedzie and Halsted I think, that was on the second floor.
The one closest to me was Scottsdale Bowling Alley, that was located at 83rd and Cicero (site of an Aldi's now) in a former airplane hangar. Ashburn Flying Field was originally located there and when the neighborhood was bought and plotted out as single-family homes, the airport was history. The hangar was also the site of the parish church before its semi-permanent building was built further down 83rd st.
And.. there used to be a bowling alley in Ford City on the north side of the shopping center (where Sears, etc is/was now) - that was the former site of the Libby plant.

Re: Bowling Alleys
Posted by: b.a.hoarder (
Date: November 10, 2010 11:29PM

I bet you are thinking of Peterson Bowling Alley which was on 35th St. right off of Archer. It was best known as "The Home Of The Peterson Classic" which was a big money tournament held every year. Might also have been the first tournament of it's kind, anybody know for sure?

OK, I just googled it and here is the correct name of the bowling alley, Archer-35th Recreation.
The following website gives a history of the Classic, scroll down a bit from the top.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/10/2010 11:37PM by b.a.hoarder.

Re: Bowling Alleys
Posted by: bowler (
Date: November 11, 2010 04:43PM

The "Petersen Classic" bowling tournament was held ay Archer/35th Recreation bowiling alley until about 15 years ago when the bowling center was torn down to build townhomes. The tournament itself moved to AMF Hoffman Lanes along with the original lanes and sitees:

The tournament was (and still is) unique because the lanes are a bit of a throwback. There are no arrows on the lanes, they are purposely not kept up so the boards are uneven, dust is on the lanes and the pins are consistantly offset by the pinsetter. It still boasts a $25,000 first prize and most bowlers compete because the quirkiness of the tournament and the fact that pro bowlers have less of an advantage due to the condition of the lanes. AMF Hoffman Lanes has enclosed the "Petersen" lanes apart from the rest of the bowling alley and the tournament is kicked off by ringing a huge bell just as it used to be at Archer/35th lanes.

Re: Bowling Alleys
Posted by: shekaago (
Date: November 11, 2010 11:32PM

My father, in his younger days, worked part time as a "pin boy."

I remember bowling at Turner's which was a bowling alley and gym. It was torn down a few years ago and there are now condos on the old site which is at 6625 W. Belmont.

Re: Bowling Alleys
Posted by: Steve B. (
Date: November 12, 2010 10:03AM

One time in the mid 60s, my friend and I bowled at Petersen Lanes since my uncle lived nearby. I remember walking up a flight of stairs and seeing the lanes for the first time. 'bowler' is correct. No arrows, no spots, just a foul line - and the pins looked very old. I had a high 180's average at the time; but I did poorly that day and never went back. Of course at the time, I didn't know anything about the famed tournament and the reverence the place had. After that, we went back to our old favorites: Gage Park Bowl on 56th and Western (gone), Marzano's Miami Lanes on Archer and Pulaski (gone) and Jay-Bee Bowl on 51st and Damen (gone). Jay-Bee converted from pin boys to automatics about 1959 or 1960. We also went to Bleeker's Bowl on 95th Street in Oak Lawn, which I think is still there. There was also a 2-lane alley in the basement of the Sacred Heart Parish recreation center on west 46th Street and Wolcott, but was not being used and in disrepair. That building is gone also.

Re: Bowling Alleys
Posted by: Richard Stachowski (
Date: November 13, 2010 03:14PM

[b]How about 4801 s. Honore? There was a small alley above the tavern on the S.E. corner across the street from the power station.[/b]

Re: Bowling Alleys
Posted by: daveg (
Date: November 14, 2010 01:06PM

There was a bowling alley at Hines VA in Maywood. The VA turned over several buildings to Loyola U. Medical Center and the gym and bowling were among them. I worked at the Med. Center back in the 70s through the early 80s. Not sure if anyone ever used the bowling alley but the gym was popular.

My guess is that those old VA styled red brick buildings are all gone now.

Re: Bowling Alleys
Posted by: chgobill67 (
Date: February 03, 2011 08:47PM

For those of you who lived on the Near North Side, there used to be a bowling alley just south of Diversey on the east side of the street called, if I remember correctly, "Parkway Bowl" - I believe it is a shoe store now. It was just about straight across from the old Parkway Theater. I used to frequent both of those places the early 70's.

Anyone else remember Parkway Bowl? Anybody have any pics? I'd love to see it again.

Bill K.

Re: Bowling Alleys
Posted by: chevyliddle (
Date: February 14, 2011 06:47AM

Don't forget Laredo Lanes on Southwest Hywy near Cicero? I bowled there in the 1970s and I think it's still there under a different name. That house was one of the last with wooden lanes.

Re: Bowling Alleys
Posted by: BEARZ (
Date: April 16, 2011 12:55AM

Bleekers Bowl in Evergreen Park is very much open.
My husband and I have owned the place since 97. Though the outside is pretty much the way it's looked since the 50's, we gutted the inside,brightened it up, added a beer garden and most recently a grill. If you are still in the area, stop in, mention this site and have lunch and a couple games on me!
I'm 51 and I grew up in Back of the Yards. I bowled with my daddy at Miami and then again there with my sister where I was league secretary. Oh, how I miss keeping score with pencil and paper!
When I was younger, my dad also bowled at Jay Bee on 51st and Damen and then it burned down. Lots of stuff tended to burn down in the old hood! I remember when he had to climb to the charred second floor to get his ball out of the locker.
I also remember the day Gage Park Bowl burned. I lived on 53rd and Hermitage and still it was hard to see in my house the smoke was so bad.Yecch.
Miami was my favorite. When we got Bleekers, I hoped we could maintain the beautiful wood lanes like that. You can keep our corporate competition, Brunswick Zone (the old Arena) and their synthetic lanes and their cosmic bowl nonsense.(And the fact they have to close at ten because of gangs is pretty scary, too.)
My daddy's average hovered around 195. He bowled for 45 years.
My average was in the high 150's. I would say it's the Pollack in us that made us somewhat decent bowlers.
But my older sister's average was 89. haha
Anyway, it was a nice surprise to see our livelihood mentioned here!Kathe

Re: Bowling Alleys
Posted by: HOLTANEK (
Date: April 16, 2011 10:54PM

Growing up in Norridge,our lanes were the Norridge Bowl, The Holiday, and Corral, all gone.

Re: Bowling Alleys
Posted by: chipandkathy (
Date: April 17, 2011 01:57PM

Growing up in South Holland in the '60's, I remember a bowling alley right on the main street (South Park Avenue), easy to walk to and not far from the library and the old "five and dime" with the wooden floors and penny candy!

Funny, I just Googled a map and it's still there, oddly enough called the South Holland Bowling Lanes ;)

Re: Bowling Alleys
Posted by: Richard Stachowski (
Date: April 17, 2011 06:25PM

[b]I lived on 50th & Wolcott and knew all the guys and girls on 53rd and Hermitage. Richard Stachowski[/b]

Re: Bowling Alleys
Posted by: Steve B. (74.7.39.---)
Date: April 18, 2011 06:49PM

To: BEARZ - wow, you hit all my memory buttons! Starting with Jay-Bee Bowl, I bowled there every Saturday morning for several years in a row. My father was in the V.F.W. on 43rd and Honore Street and I bowled on their Bantam and Junior leagues at Jay-Bee. When I started there, they had manual pin spotters then converted to automatics (in the early 60s?).
Miami originally had 64 lanes, then added a new wing and expanded to 84 lanes which made it the largest in the city.
I don't think Gage Park Bowl burned down. I know for certain their roof collapsed after a snowstorm and never reopened. I think it was the blizzard of '79. The rubble may have burned, but fire was not the initial demise.
My uncle (Ted Visnic) was the bartender at Bleekers Bowl in the 70s and 80s. He lived in Evergreen Park and has since died, but did bowl a 300 game there and was on several scratch leagues.
Great memories!
Steve B.

Re: Bowling Alleys
Posted by: bowler (
Date: April 18, 2011 07:59PM

My father used to be a part owner of Lawn Lanes 6750 S. Pulaski. It's still there. One of the few bowling alleys on the South Side of Chicago still open.

Other bowling alleys in the area that closed were: Scottsdale Lanes, Ford City Bowl, Miami Bowl, Archer Kedzie Bowl, Argo Bowl, Evergreen Towers, Oak Lawn Bowl.

Re: Bowling Alleys
Posted by: bowler (
Date: April 18, 2011 08:00PM

Oh, and how can I forget Clearing Bowl (insert plug for Clearing Industrial District Program)

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