Queens County bowl­ing his­tory, Part III

Bowl-more Lanes

The Queens County Advance - - COMMUNITY - Tim Mcdon­ald Tim Mcdon­ald can be reached at lo­cal­his­to­rynut2015@gmail.com

As pre­vi­ously stated in part two, the new IGA su­per­mar­ket was built on Main Street in 1961 and a bowl­ing al­ley, called Bowl­more Lanes, was added in the base­ment of the build­ing.

For the first time in Queens County, au­to­matic pin­set­ters were avail­able to bowlers. There were eight bowl­ing lanes and a large lunch counter. There had been a grill and deep fry­ers so you could buy ham­burg­ers, fries and hot dogs. As well, ice cream in a cone, milk­shakes, potato chips, choco­late bars, cof­fee, tea and more were avail­able.

Bowl-more Lanes was a busy spot in the 1960s. Scor­ing was higher than ever on the new lanes. There were leagues ev­ery night and tour­na­ments be­ing held of­ten. There were many leagues with var­i­ous names in­clud­ing the men’s and women’s, Mer­chants, Le­gion, Bowa­ter Mersey, Mil­ton, Mis­fit, Steel and En­gines, St­ed­mans, a Port Mou­ton league and more.

By April 1962, bowl­ing was at an all-time high. The eight lanes at Bowl-more could barely han­dle the large num­ber of bowlers so it was an­nounced in the Liver­pool Ad­vance, that six or eight ad­di­tional lanes were be­ing added.

In Au­gust 1962, Bowl-more closed for a short time for the six new lanes to be com­pleted and the ex­ist­ing lanes to be re­con­di­tioned. The six new lanes were lo­cated on the other side of the bowl­ing al­ley where the bar is lo­cated to­day. The price of bowl­ing at Bowl-more Lanes was 25 cents a game at that time.

Liver­pool pro­duced many amaz­ing bowlers in the 1960s. The bowl­ing cen­ter of­fered a $50 prize to any women who bowled a triple of 350 or bet­ter and a $100 prize for any man who bowled a three game to­tal of 400 or more. In March 1965, Mil­dred Coops Win­nie Clat­ten­burg in 1962. Her Ladies High Sin­gle still stands as the record high at Liver­pool Bowl­ing Cen­ter.

bowled a record break­ing 366 triple and re­ceived the $50 prize. Kit Wells, who bowled a 397, had the clos­est triple to 400 for the men. Fi­nally in Novem­ber 1966, Frank Les­lie of Brook­lyn bowled games of 141, 120 and 140 for a triple of 401 and he be­came the first per­son to ever bowl a triple over 400 in Liver­pool.

There’s a long list of ex­cel­lent bowlers from Liver­pool. A few no­table male bowlers in­cluded Kit Wells, Frank Les­lie, Eric Whynot, Lew Free­man, Ge­orge Mitchell, Randy Whynot, and Artie Wells. The higher fe­male bowlers in­cluded Win­nie Clat­ten­burg, Mil­dred (Coops) Evans, Max­ine Coolen, Gertrude Dauphi­nee, Vi­vian Amero, Au­drey Thor­bourne, Kathryn Grant and Chris Um­phrey. There were many more!

By 1967, the orig­i­nal eight lanes at Bowl-more Lanes proved to be enough so the six new lanes that had been added just five years ear­lier, were re­moved. A new game room was cre­ated where those six lanes had been lo­cated. It had two pool ta­bles, five snooker ta­bles and pin­ball ma­chines. A De­cem­ber 1967 ad in the Liver­pool Ad­vance shows the name of Bowl-more Lanes had changed to Liver­pool Amuse­ment Cen­tre and Bowl­ing Al­leys. The man­agers at that time were Mer­rill “Chick” Kaulback and Doug Lucier.

The amuse­ment cen­ter part of the busi­ness, next to the bowl­ing al­ley, closed and Home Hard­ware moved into that space and op­er­ated there for sev­eral years. A small bar known as Al­ley 9 opened in the bowl­ing al­ley on May 6, 1994. When Home Hard­ware moved to its present lo­ca­tion on Main Street, Al­ley 9 bar ex­panded into the for­mer hard­ware store’s space. The larger Al­ley 9 bar re-opened July 26, 1996. The Grill Pit Res­tau­rant was added and opened July 11, 1998. The Grill Pit changed hands and changed names a few times, but the res­tau­rant still op­er­ates.

The bowl­ing al­ley has seen many man­agers and em­ploy­ees. Man­agers in­cluded Mer­rill Kaulback, Doug Lucier, Randy Whynot, Bill Stitt, Bob Pentz, Bob Rapp and Tony Mof­fatt. Bill Stitt ac­tu­ally bought the bowl­ing cen­ter around 1972 and sold it in 1978. Other em­ploy­ees in­cluded Mor­ton Wil­liams and Randy Rapp. Work­ing be­hind the lunch counter over the years were Bev Stitt, Marg Levy, Phillippa Ward, Hazel Spona­gle, Terry Rapp, and Judy Fran­cis. Judy was hired on Fe­bru­ary 12, 1980 to work be­hind the lunch counter. Now, thir­ty­seven years later, she still works at the lunch counter and she con­tin­ues to en­sure the leagues run smoothly. Judy has worked at Liver­pool Bowl­ing Cen­ter longer than any other em­ployee in the his­tory of the bowl­ing al­ley.

Af­ter 56 years of be­ing in busi­ness, the record scores at Liver­pool Bowl­ing Cen­ter are – High No Mark Sin­gle (Men) Vic Mcleod 99; (Women) Joyce Foster 98. High Sin­gle (Men) Michael Vi­en­neau 201 (Women) Win­nie Clat­ten­burg and Evie Fisher 157. High Triple (Men) Tim Mcdon­ald 481 (Women) Pat Man­thorne 381.

Re­cently, the bowl­ing al­ley, bar and res­tau­rant was sold. The new own­ers are Michael Vi­en­neau and Su­san Har­low.

When I was grow­ing up, many fam­i­lies were in­volved in bowl­ing, in­clud­ing my en­tire fam­ily. My grand­mother, her hus­band, my aunts and un­cles and my mom all bowled. It was just nor­mal that when my cousins and I were old enough to bowl on leagues, we all joined, too. I started league bowl­ing when I was 14 and at that time, only the one bowl­ing al­ley ex­isted in Liver­pool.

To­day, bowl­ing is still en­joyed in Liver­pool. Bowl More Lanes, which later be­came the Liver­pool Bowl­ing Cen­ter, is still a hap­pen­ing place. The his­tory of bowl­ing has come through many changes over the years but the many mem­o­ries of pin­boys, bowl­ing leagues, fam­ily par­tic­i­pa­tion and spe­cial cel­e­bra­tions that took place at the bowl­ing al­leys still live on. Hope­fully, there will be a re­newed in­ter­est in this ac­tiv­ity be­cause it was sure a lot of fun for many peo­ple over the years, in­clud­ing my­self.

(AR­MAND WIGGLESWORTH PHOTO)

A crowd of spec­ta­tors watch the bowlers at the newly-opened Bowl More Lanes.

In Novem­ber 1966, Frank Les­lie bowled the first ever triple over 400 at Bowl More Lanes.

(AR­MAND WIGGLESWORTH PHOTO)

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