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Bowling Alleys


northbeaumont

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Like roller rinks, it appears to me that bowling alleys are slowly becoming things of the past. Are there any still open in Houston? I don't hear people nowadays taking about being in leagues and competing with other teams. My cousin told me that he remembers a bowling alley in Gulfgate that was underground.

Ah, the sounds of the balls hitting the pins! People applauding when someone would get a strike! Twisting open the top of a cold, bottled beer wrapped in tissue paper! Playing a pinball machine! Eating a greasy burger in the cafe! It's been well over 20 years since I've bowled. Is bowling another recreational pasttime that is losing popularity to home computers and big screen TVs?

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In the area I grew up, there used to be three bowling alleys:

Big Texan Lanes, on Little York

Little York Lanes, also on Little York across from Big Texan

AMF, on Aldine-Bender

and two skating rinks:

Hidden Valley, on Turney

Airline, on Airline

Only the Airline skating rink remains open. Everything else is long gone.

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There was a very popular Bowling place on Lawndale near 75th street called The Tropicana Bowling Lanes. The building still stands but is a dime a dance joint. What a waste. The place was gigantic or so it seemed as a kid. It was the place to be for local middle class folks that used to live throughout this area on Near East End. The place finally closed doors around 1976. Only the huge concrete base for the sign remains.

There was once another huge bowling place in the Near North Side on Fulton street directly across the street from Moody Park. It was renovated and turned into the now infamous Stardust Ballroom as it was known to long time local residents of that nabe. Whole new topic, but that dance place became a launching pad for numerous local Houston dance bands in the 1950-1960's. It fell into disrepair and was eventually razed. The times got rougher so it had to be put out of its misery.

PS, I have a feeling this topic is going to be merged. Yikes! :ph34r:

There are still some good old fashioned bowling alleys in old Pasardener. One on S Richey I think?

Edited by Vertigo58
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Like roller rinks, it appears to me that bowling alleys are slowly becoming things of the past. Are there any still open in Houston?

As far as the inner-loop. the Palace Lanes on Bellaire Boulevard are still open, but Stadium Bowl on Braesmain closed down.

I used to hang out at the Gulfgate bowling alley as a kid.

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I used to hang out at the Gulfgate bowling alley as a kid.

Last time I was in that place was around 1985 then it closed shortly after that. Whenever any of us kids waited for our parents to pick us up we always said "Pick us up in front of the bowling alley" and everyone knew what that meant. Was right under Picadilly Cafeteria and the record store on the right.

Maybe I misunderstood the topic starters question is he asking for old now gone alleys or if there are still ANY period. Thats not really historical then. :wacko: There are tons of modern bowling alleys around.

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IThere are tons of modern bowling alleys around.

Yes, there are still lots of them around. My kid and his friends ride their bikes to the Palace Lanes on Bellaire fairly often. And it's always crowded. So rest assured, northbeaumont, that bowling is alive and kicking.

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Yes Northbeaumont, and they are still very popular places. They are even building NEW alleys, like Times Square, here's a link:

http://timessquaretx.com/

Excellent! That would be quite an experience bowling on those glow-in-the-dark lanes. The negative aspect would be having a harder time seeing the floor.

Willowbrook AMF on the northwest side

I remember seeing the AMF logo on the pins, on that thingamajig that would "sweep" the pins into the back, and on the machine where your ball would return. It think it stood for "Always More Fun."

Yes, there are still lots of them around. My kid and his friends ride their bikes to the Palace Lanes on Bellaire fairly often. And it's always crowded. So rest assured, northbeaumont, that bowling is alive and kicking.

It's just that it's been MANY years since I've heard anyone talk about going bowling. When I was growing up, I would always hear people talking about being on a team in a league, picking up a 4-10 split (whatever that means), advancing to the Finals, etc. I've just had a feeling that bowlings alleys are slowly but surely fading away as recreation and entertainment as roller rinks and drive-in theatres have.

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I remember seeing the AMF logo on the pins, on that thingamajig that would "sweep" the pins into the back, and on the machine where your ball would return. It think it stood for "Always More Fun."

It originally stood for American Machine & Foundry:

About AMF

but when they owned Harley-Davidson, it was commonly held to stand for something else. ;)

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It's just that it's been MANY years since I've heard anyone talk about going bowling. When I was growing up, I would always hear people talking about being on a team in a league, picking up a 4-10 split (whatever that means), advancing to the Finals, etc. I've just had a feeling that bowlings alleys are slowly but surely fading away as recreation and entertainment as roller rinks and drive-in theatres have.

You could be right, it could be a slow fade. But at least at the Palace Lanes, I know there are lots of teams that play regularly. I'm confident that other bowling alleys are equally busy. And the kids still love it. Go to a bowling alley on a Saturday morning and you'll probably see a few kids' birthday parties going on.

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September till May Tuesday nights at Pearland lanes on 518. My wife and I both bowl in league play. A lot of the lanes in town have closed but the ones in the burbs are going strong. There are two on Bay Area Blvd within a mile or so of each other. One is between 45 and Highway 3 and the other is farther down across Highway 3 past El Camino Real. Aramadillo Lanes on Fuqua in South Belt still has real wood lanes not the synthetic ones. Spencer Highway inside the Beltway. I am not sure on Meadowcreek lanes on Richey in South Houston but I think they may still be there.

Alleys I know have been lost from years past, Belfort Lanes corner of Mykawa and Bellfort, Gulgate Lanes in the basement of Gulfgate Mall, Mimosa Lanes right off the Gulf Freeway near Airport, Tropicana Lanes on Lawndale.

I also know there is still a bowling alley on Holcomb near West U.

They are still around and believe me bowling is actually still growing in number of participants. I still get the USBC Bowling magazine.

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There was a very popular Bowling place on Lawndale near 75th street called The Tropicana Bowling Lanes. The building still stands but is a dime a dance joint. What a waste. The place was gigantic or so it seemed as a kid. It was the place to be for local middle class folks that used to live throughout this area on Near East End. The place finally closed doors around 1976. Only the huge concrete base for the sign remains.

There was once another huge bowling place in the Near North Side on Fulton street directly across the street from Moody Park. It was renovated and turned into the now infamous Stardust Ballroom as it was known to long time local residents of that nabe. Whole new topic, but that dance place became a launching pad for numerous local Houston dance bands in the 1950-1960's. It fell into disrepair and was eventually razed. The times got rougher so it had to be put out of its misery.

PS, I have a feeling this topic is going to be merged. Yikes! :ph34r:

There are still some good old fashioned bowling alleys in old Pasardener. One on S Richey I think?

Ah yes, the Tropicana. My dad took me there to bowl when I was little and as I got older I had many fridaynight dates there. I guess the last time I bowled there was in 1973 my sophomore year.

When I moved to Pasadena I went to Rock n Bowl at Fairlanes on Spencer. That was a blast. All the overhead lights were off and rock n roll was blaring. The only light was from the concession stand and the pin setters.

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September till May Tuesday nights at Pearland lanes on 518. My wife and I both bowl in league play. A lot of the lanes in town have closed but the ones in the burbs are going strong. There are two on Bay Area Blvd within a mile or so of each other. One is between 45 and Highway 3 and the other is farther down across Highway 3 past El Camino Real. Aramadillo Lanes on Fuqua in South Belt still has real wood lanes not the synthetic ones. Spencer Highway inside the Beltway. I am not sure on Meadowcreek lanes on Richey in South Houston but I think they may still be there.

Alleys I know have been lost from years past, Belfort Lanes corner of Mykawa and Bellfort, Gulgate Lanes in the basement of Gulfgate Mall, Mimosa Lanes right off the Gulf Freeway near Airport, Tropicana Lanes on Lawndale.

I also know there is still a bowling alley on Holcomb near West U.

They are still around and believe me bowling is actually still growing in number of participants. I still get the USBC Bowling magazine.

That shows how long it's been since I've bowled. I've only known wooden lanes. Are synthetic lanes made out of some kind of hard plastic?

It originally stood for American Machine & Foundry:

About AMF

but when they owned Harley-Davidson, it was commonly held to stand for something else. ;)

It amazes me how fast you and a lot of other people on this forum can come up with things so fast.

Ah yes, the Tropicana. My dad took me there to bowl when I was little and as I got older I had many fridaynight dates there. I guess the last time I bowled there was in 1973 my sophomore year.

When I moved to Pasadena I went to Rock n Bowl at Fairlanes on Spencer. That was a blast. All the overhead lights were off and rock n roll was blaring. The only light was from the concession stand and the pin setters.

That's what I'm wondering, how can someone clearly see the floor when they are getting ready to roll their ball?

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When my dad was growning up one of his first jobs was as a pinsetter in a bowling alley before they had the automatic pin setters.

I think the Palace Bowling Lanes either are or were owned by the Houston Turnverein. Can someone verify this?

You mean that a person had to stand up ten pins all by hand? That meant that it took a long time for someone to bowl just one game. Did that person also roll the ball back to the bowler?

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You mean that a person had to stand up ten pins all by hand? That meant that it took a long time for someone to bowl just one game. Did that person also roll the ball back to the bowler?

LOLL no he didn't set them by hand. They were called "pin-spotters", and they used a big triangular shaped rack with holes big enough for the pins. The rack was lowered to the floor, and the holes would widen just enough to leave the pins standing when the rack was raised out of sight.

Most alleys had two sets of pins for each lane, which allowed the spotter to stay a little ahead of the game. He had one set in the rack ready to put down as soon as the other set was knocked over and he could clear them out of the way. Today's automatic pin-spotting machinery still does it the same way. A fresh set of pins comes down instantly after the first set is cleared. The machinery then sorts the downed pins and slides them upright into the rack to get ready to go down again.

On a busy night the pin-spotters of old worked their butts off, and yes they also had to roll the ball back to the bowler. That was usually done first, followed by resetting the pins. Depending on how fast the pin-spotters could do their thing, games could move right along almost as fast as they do today. You could always tell when the spotters were getting tired though. The games really slowed down.

Edited by FilioScotia
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LOLL no he didn't set them by hand. They were called "pin-spotters", and they used a big triangular shaped rack with holes big enough for the pins. The rack was lowered to the floor, and the holes would widen just enough to leave the pins standing when the rack was raised out of sight.

Most alleys had two sets of pins for each lane, which allowed the spotter to stay a little ahead of the game. He had one set in the rack ready to put down as soon as the other set was knocked over and he could clear them out of the way and rack them up. Today's automatic pin-spotting machinery still does it the same way. A fresh set of pins comes down instantly after the first set is cleared. The machinery then sorts the downed pins and slides them upright into the rack to get ready to go down again.

On a busy night the pin-spotters of old worked their butts off, and yes they also had to roll the ball back to the bowler. That was usually done first, followed by resetting the pins. Depending on how fast the pin-spotters could do their thing, games could move right along almost as fast as they do today. You could always tell when the spotters were getting tired though. The games really slowed down.

Filio described it just as my father did, but it was a dangerous job. You had to stand up on a ledge above the pins and, of course, pins went flying and could hit you. Sometimes they splintered and sometimes the jerks bowling would roll the ball while you were still setting the pins

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That shows how long it's been since I've bowled. I've only known wooden lanes. Are synthetic lanes made out of some kind of hard plastic?

It amazes me how fast you and a lot of other people on this forum can come up with things so fast.

That's what I'm wondering, how can someone clearly see the floor when they are getting ready to roll their ball?

At the end of the alleys right over the pins the pinsetter gave off plenty of light. Its the same place that lights up when you get a strike. The concession lights were very bright.. especially the lit up white overhead menus. Way more than enough light for teenagers.

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Filio described it just as my father did, but it was a dangerous job. You had to stand up on a ledge above the pins and, of course, pins went flying and could hit you. Sometimes they splintered and sometimes the jerks bowling would roll the ball while you were still setting the pins

I can only imagine how the jerk/bowlers get after a few drinks!

On a brighter note, this had to be one hell of a work out for the pin spotters. Lose weight quick with all that running around and dodging pins and bowling balls. There are some real good Bowling places out in Austin. ^_^

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Filio described it just as my father did, but it was a dangerous job. You had to stand up on a ledge above the pins and, of course, pins went flying and could hit you. Sometimes they splintered and sometimes the jerks bowling would roll the ball while you were still setting the pins

Yes, that's a negative aspect of selling alcohol almost anywhere.

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Palace Lanes on Bellaire is the main place to go in the city, but once in a long while i'll head to MaxBowl East in Baytown (Ward Rd.)

there used to be a place in Sharpstown i'd go to once in a while too, but it's exact name and location escapes me

there is supposed to be a Lucky Strike opening in the upcoming Houston Pavilions, but after catching a glimpse of the one in Chicago i'm not terribly excited about it.

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Like roller rinks, it appears to me that bowling alleys are slowly becoming things of the past. Are there any still open in Houston? I don't hear people nowadays taking about being in leagues and competing with other teams.

Say what? Did you know that bowling is the most popular sport in the United States? All the other sports played in this country combined, amateur and professional, don't come close to matching bowling in the numbers of people participating. Bowlers outnumber them all.

Bowling lanes are everywhere. You just haven't been noticing them.

Edited by FilioScotia
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QUOTE(sevfiv @ Wednesday, June 20th, 2007 @ 10:29am) *

Like roller rinks, it appears to me that bowling alleys are slowly becoming things of the past. Are there any still open in Houston? I don't hear people nowadays taking about being in leagues and competing with other teams.

Say what? Did you know that bowling is the most popular sport in the United States? All the other sports played in this country combined, amateur and professional, don't come close to matching bowling in the numbers of people participating. Bowlers outnumber them all.

Bowling lanes are everywhere. You just haven't been noticing them.

that's weird - i didn't write that!

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Say what? Did you know that bowling is the most popular sport in the United States? All the other sports played in this country combined, amateur and professional, don't come close to matching bowling in the numbers of people participating. Bowlers outnumber them all.

Bowling lanes are everywhere. You just haven't been noticing them.

It's just that it's been many years since I've heard anyone talk about having gone bowling. Just like it's been a real long time since I've heard anyone talk about having gone roller skating. There's only two bowling alleys over here, one in Beaumont and one in Port Arthur. There used to be more but they all closed down, just like drive-in movie theatres and many roller rinks did.

Edited by northbeaumont
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that's weird - i didn't write that!

You're right. It IS weird. I cut and pasted that quote out of the first posting in this thread, which was made by "northbeaumont". I have no idea how your signature got attached to it when I replied to it. But my point is the same.

Edited by FilioScotia
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I wrote the first paragraph. But not the second that begins with "say what", nor that final sentence.

If you check about five postings back, you'll find one with my name - Filioscotia -- on it that boxes in the quote from northbeaumont that appears in the first posting at the top of this thread. Then I say "Say what? etc".

I'm getting confused, but that's a permanent condition with me. There's always a light on for me down at the Home for the Bewildered.

Edited by FilioScotia
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If you check about five postings back, you'll find one with my name - Filioscotia -- on it that boxes in the quote from northbeaumont that appears in the first posting at the top of this thread. Then I say "Say what? etc".

I'm getting confused, but that's a permanent condition with me. There's always a light on for me down at the Home for the Bewildered.

Yes, sometimes we all feel like we are entering The Twilight Zone.

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It's just that it's been many years since I've heard anyone talk about having gone bowling. Just like it's been a real long time since I've heard anyone talk about having gone roller skating. There's only two bowling alleys over here, one in Beaumont and one in Port Arthur. There used to be more but they all closed down, just like drive-in movie theatres and many roller rinks did.

We have two bowling alleys, a roller rink and a skating rink in Clear Lake.

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We have two bowling alleys, a roller rink and a skating rink in Clear Lake.

I was racking my brain trying to figure out what the difference was between a roller rink and a skating rink before I realized you meant the ice skating rink off of the Gulf Freeway.

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I was racking my brain trying to figure out what the difference was between a roller rink and a skating rink before I realized you meant the ice skating rink off of the Gulf Freeway.

I learned to be specific when referring to ice skating versus roller skating. But they were the same thing to me because I busted my butt many times doing both of them. The only difference was that one was hard cold ice and the other was hard hot wood. Now that I remember, sometimes the floor at the bowling alley was so slick that when I rolled the ball I slipped and busted my butt on that floor, too.

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If you walk into the Men's Club on Sage Rd. and try not to look at the stripper poles, leather couches and naked woman you can almost imagine the Windsor Park Bowling Lanes. Well okay, you can look at naked women ;)

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If you walk into the Men's Club on Sage Rd. and try not to look at the stripper poles, leather couches and naked woman you can almost imagine the Windsor Park Bowling Lanes. Well okay, you can look at naked women ;)

I'm not that kind of a guy. I always turn my head whenever I see stuff like that.

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Actually there is a bowling alley where "clothing is optional". Its not in Texas though. Its west but cant say or others get angry. :) Honest.

I would assume that the bowlers would at least wear bowling shoes. I don't know if I could bowl that way, with all of that flopping around and all.

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I would assume that the bowlers would at least wear bowling shoes. I don't know if I could bowl that way, with all of that flopping around and all.

women could wear flip-flops.

Imagine the draft in the joint? How would one keep score? :wacko:

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women could wear flip-flops.

Imagine the draft in the joint? How would one keep score? :wacko:

Every bowler gets a split every now and then. And you'll be able to see a spare. What about a perfect game? Ah, the air from the vent where the bowler usually lets the air run through his fingers before he picks up his ball.

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I asked this question awhile back, but do not think anyone knew the answer.....Back in the 60's-70's there was a large bowling alley in what is now the Galleria area. It probably was on Post Oak about where Transco Tower is and where old KPRC studio was. That general area. It had an indoor archery range, slot car tracks and of course bowling! It was not a small place. I believe it was called ???????? USA Bowling. Anyone remember it?

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  • 4 weeks later...
I wonder where they hold the pencil between frames. :blink:

joe

Behind their ears. But the last time I went to a bowling alley, I saw that the bowler's scores were automatically kept, I assume by some kind of a computer system. They didn't have to write down anything. After the ball hit the pins, the number of pin knocked down and the position of the pins left standing up was displayed on the overhead monitor.

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