The Oldest Commercial Bowling Alley in the United States is Located in Michigan
Located in Detroit, Michigan, the Garden Bowl is the oldest commercial bowling alley in the United States.
When it comes to old-school bowling alleys, it doesn't get any older than Garden Bowl as it celebrated its 109th anniversary earlier this month.
When Did Garden Bowl Officially Open Its Doors?
Garden Bowl opened its doors back on August 1st, 1913. However, at the time, the alley was called the Garden Bowling Alley.
Garden Bowl was opened by John Bauer & Irv Giese. Back then there were 10 lanes on the first floor and a billiards room along with a grandstand that could accommodate high-profile pool tournaments on the second floor.
Before the automated mechanical device that sets bowling pins today, pinsetters were boys or young men (pin boys) who manually reset pins and return the balls. In those days the pinsetters resided in flophouses on Michigan Avenue’s skid row and set pins by hand using pegs coming out of the center pin spots activated by a foot switch.
Al Zainea bought the historic bowling alley in 1946 after hearing that the building was in foreclosure. The alley is still owned and operated by the Zainea family today.
Garden Bowl Hours of Operation:
MONDAY – THURSDAY:
11 am – 5 pm: $10/hour, per lane
5 pm – 11 PM: $35/hour, per lane
11 am – 5 pm: $20/hour, per lane
5 pm – 11 pm: $35/hour, per lane