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Bowling alleys in Greater Dayton
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2 posts
Dec 04, 2008
10:57 AM
What was the name of the bowling alley that used to be between Dorothy Lane and Stroop Rd? I believe it is now a night club
15 posts
Dec 04, 2008
6:45 PM
It was Driftwood. I bowled there for a few years on Friday nights in the 1980's. They had great butterflied shrimp in the restaurant.
2 posts
Dec 12, 2008
4:33 PM
The Pastime Bowling Alley on North Dixie was a good place to go up thru the late 60s also
61 posts
Dec 15, 2008
9:42 AM
When i was a teenager i used to bowl at the Trotwood Lanes. Is it still there and how dangerous is it. I just heard that some guy got thrown out of a bar and came back and opened fire and hit 6 people killing one. Boy, that kind of stuff never happened when i lived there. A fist fight maybe at Frishes at most.
19 posts
Dec 15, 2008
6:43 PM
bigbob, I am pretty sure that Trotwood Lanes closed several years ago. Was it located on Free Pike (East Main St.)? The bar (location of shootings) near there is named Higgins Station.
20 posts
Dec 15, 2008
7:32 PM
I am no longer an active bowler. I hurt my knee a few years ago. Since I can't bowl, I will try to remember some of the facts and stories about when and where I did bowl. Dayton was and still is a great bowling town.

I bowled in leagues at the following bowling establishments:
McCook Bowl (Keowee St.) (Closed)
Congress Lanes (Troy St.) (Just a Bar now?)
Bowlero (Siebenthaler Ave. or Klepinger Rd.) (Open)
National Lanes (off Brown St.) (Closed)
Varsity Lanes (N. Main St.) (Demolished)
Driftwood Bowl (Kettering Blvd.) (Now a Nite Club)
Belmont Lanes (Watervliet) (Demolished)
Beaver-Vu (N. Fairfield Rd. in Beavercreek) (Open)
Crossroads Lanes (Foley Dr. in Vandalia) (Demolished - now a parking lot for Fricker's)
Thunderbowl (N. Main St. in Englewood) (Open)
The newer Marian's (Brandt Pike in Huber Heights) (Open) (Some of the lanes from the old Marian's were used)

I learned to bowl at McCook Bowl in the late 60's and early 70's. My fondest memories were in the 1980's. It was home, and the Zavakos family made you feel welcome there. I remember Leo Zavakos behind the front desk. John and Linda Coston ran the lounge. Elmo Edmonds drilled balls in the pro shop.

A few years ago, when they were selling the guts of the Royal Z McCook building, I got copies of some pictures and the newspaper article from the grand opening in 1941. I will share some of that history on this post in the near future.

In the meantime, I would also like to know more about where others bowled and their memories.

Last Edited by on Dec 15, 2008 7:46 PM
12 posts
Dec 16, 2008
7:24 PM
I was on a Saturday morning league at Trotwood Lanes when I was 13. What I remember most was the arrow on the screen that showed you where to aim your ball to get a spare. That has helped me ever since (not that I am a great bowler)but I still can see it in my mind when I bowl. My dad bowled there on a league too as well as a lot of other bowling places, Belmont especially.
108 posts
Dec 17, 2008
11:26 PM
bo68chev: The Crossroads Lanes were also managed (and possibly owned if not mistaken) by the Zavakos family. My Mother worked there in the snack bar and in the Crossroads Restaurant. I learned how to bowl there in elementary school...we would go on field trips for gym on a school bus, we had boy's and girl's leagues, and played there while in school, on field trips in gym through high school. The kids that showed up with their own bowling balls and shoes were the masters!
Do you remember the name of the bowling alley in Clayton, it seems that is was on or near SR 49 across from the Melody 49?
Didn't the Pastime have GREAT pork tenderloins?
I am not and never was much of a bowler. Liked it, but never did well at it...loved food too much.
171 posts
Feb 16, 2009
11:39 PM
TEW: Royal Z? Zavakos? I wonder. Good thing for the teachers to have, and I loved that bowling alley. Family friendly. Timeber Lanes was the name I remembered. ~c
86 posts
Feb 17, 2009
5:47 AM
I think I remember this location right. Back in the last 60's I bowled at a place on the West side of South Dixie N of Dorothy Lane. I remember it was the same night as COMBAT was on TV and it was a rush to get home to see the show. What was the alleys name? I also was in a league at Poelking down off of Dorothy Lane somewhere.
162 posts
Feb 17, 2009
7:49 AM
Would the bowling alley on South Dixie be Capri Lanes? I bowled in a mixed league there in the late 80's and it's still going strong.

Does anyone know if Bowlero on Siebenthaler is still in business? When they publish the high scores in the Dayton News for each bowling alley, I never see Bowlero listed.

Last Edited by on Feb 17, 2009 7:49 AM
23 posts
Apr 19, 2009
7:38 AM
I had a shoe shine kit that I would take to McCook Bowling Alley plus I set pins there from time to time, if I remember correctly we earned 10 cents a game? This would have been around 1952 maybe, having been born in 42. I bowled some but not much, sprang my thumb a few times too many.
4 posts
Apr 20, 2009
1:35 PM
Capri Lanes (on S Dixie N of Dorothy Lane) is still open. The Driftwood was further south, on Kettering Blvd., S of Dorothy Lane. I started bowling in a school league too, at the Driftwood in the 60s.

Used to also hang out there when my parents were bowling or with friends while their leagues were bowling. One of my fond memories (besides all the good looking girls) was when they put a strange-looking machine in the pool room called Space Invaders. Back then you could play for 10 minutes on one quarter.
15 posts
Apr 29, 2009
11:17 AM
When I was about 4 years old, my mom used to bowl in a league in the mornings at Woodman Lanes. She would put me in the nursery there and I can remember getting large animal cookies with pink frosting on them. I loved those cookies, but they would also show cartoons. One of the cartoons was the scariest thing I ever saw. It was of the "pin-cushion" man in the land of the "balloon" people and he would try to "pop" them with his pins. It obviously had an impact on me because I remember it 40 years later!

I loved going into the bowling alley though. It remained almost exactly the same up until a couple of years ago when they remodeled the entire inside and updated with computerized lanes. I don't mind the computers since I could never learn how to keep score, but I miss the old seats!
3 posts
Apr 30, 2009
9:38 AM
Bowlero closed last year. Someone mentioned memorabilia from McCooks that he had secured when it closed: I was able to secure an old PEPSI clock from there as well as one of those old wooden lane assignment boards that hung behind each pair of lanes. I also bought at a garage sale a pair of old Michelob Beer signs that were at Bowlero before it closed. Additionally, I have a menu board from the old Hoover Lanes and a three foot section of lane bed from Miami Lanes in Miamisburg. A couple of years ago, I was driving past the lot where Varsity Lanes stood and noticed that the building had been reduced to rubble. I stopped by and was able to find a metal device that held the 40 lane boards together(from the bottom). The Varsity had probably the greatest lane beds ever. It was a dump, complete with picnic tables set up behind each pair, but it had a lot of personality.

Back to McCook's, I bowled there in the old McCook Classic League as a teenager back in the late 1960's. At the time, the ceiling had not yet been lowered and the foul judge boxes could still be seen at each end of the center. My best guess is that they are still there, out of sight and above the lowered ceiling. I would love to have one! Oh yeah.....I also have the big ol' wooden desk that Nick Manos used when he managed the old Belmont Lanes (and previously Riverdale Alleys).

Last Edited by on May 01, 2009 4:24 PM
4 posts
Apr 30, 2009
9:45 AM
Re Trotwood Lanes, big Jim Dawson was the pro shop operator there in the 1960's or so. He was good at his job and may be best remembered for the huge cigar he used to smoke while he was bowling. Russ Maiden was the longtime manager.

I think the name of the street it was located was Trotwood Blvd., although it was Free Pike before the street entered into the city limits. Trotwood used to have Dutch Doubles every Saturday at 1PM. As soon as it was over, many of the bowlers would drive to Bowlero and enter its Dutch Doubles Tournament at 3:30PM. Those were the days!
5 posts
Apr 30, 2009
9:50 AM
Someone mentioned Driftwood (Bowl or Lanes). It was known as the Bar-Jan Bowl when it first opened in the late 1950's. It later became Dixie Bowl, and finally Driftwood before it closed. Like so many old bowling "alleys" of the past, it was known for its great food! In 1959, it held one of the first Professional Bowlers Association tournaments in history.

Someone also mentioned Congress Lanes.....I stopped in there last year and it was like going back into time. Instead of a bowling center with a lounge, it was "....a bar with a bowling alley." And boy was it neat! It has 12 old wood lanes and AMF machines with 1960's masking units and still has above ground ball returns. The bartender/manager was very kind and even let me walk around in back where the machines are. The house balls are made up mostly of discarded black rubber balls, e.g., AMF 3 dots, Dick Weber 5-stars, etc.

It may have a league or two, but I believe that the primary function of the business is its neighborhood bar. It could almost remind one of a biker bar, but along with the bartender, the few partons seated at the bar were very cordial. I think that this place should be part of a tour. There is so much history there!

Last Edited by on Jun 13, 2011 6:51 AM
1 post
May 01, 2009
11:51 AM
Hello to all, I am the un-official historian for the Greater Dayton Bowling Association. One of my pet projects was finding names, addresses, and proprietors of all of the bowling alley's ever opened in Dayton. I have a list that goes from 1831 - through the present. Anyone that wants specific information can post it here, and I will be glad to furnish specifics.

Last Edited by on May 01, 2009 11:52 AM
13 posts
May 01, 2009
4:08 PM
Bowling "alleys" used to be known, even among non-bowlers, for having great food. Some of them that I remember were Dixie Bowl (Driftwood) and Pastime. Pastime was a very small place with 10 lanes, but the restaurant was just as big and its restaurant was often rated as among the best in town. I remember when Capri Lanes had one of the first video taping machines (reel-to-reel)ever used (late 1960's)for bowling instructional purposes.
113 posts
May 23, 2009
1:22 PM
Many of my childhood memories are from the Bowlero. My Mother bowled in a league and was league secretary - keeping the scores so they knew who to hand trophies out to at the end of the season. ( Which was in May before school let out.) If I was sick on her bowling day she brought me along and set me at a table with a 7-up. I did learn to score that way, by watching. When I was old enough, she signed me up for the youth leagues on Saturdays mornings. I ended up meeting many kids from other schools that I eventually went to high school with. At my last reunion event, some guy walked up to me and said he remembered bowling with me all those years ago - he had gone to Catholic high school so he remembered this from the mid- 60's. Can't bowl anymore - between the smoke and my knees, it is not a good thing.
26 posts
May 24, 2009
1:18 PM
Becky73.....Smoking is no longer allowed in bowling centers in Ohio. That won't help your knees, but you might enjoy walking into any one of the modern centers around Dayton. Most still have alot to offer; good food, entertainment...

Last Edited by on Jun 13, 2011 6:53 AM
115 posts
May 24, 2009
7:50 PM
Yes, I figured that bowling alleys were required to follow along the Ohio rules. I guess I was talking about when I quit bowling back in the late 80's. I have been bowling once or twice since then. And actually I had more trouble with the weight of the balls ( too heavy ) and fitting my "arthritic" fingers in them.
12 posts
May 25, 2009
7:35 AM
I remember...
that when I lived in the Huber south plat ('55-'60), there was a bowling alley, bar and restaurant on Kettering Blvd between Dorothy and Stroop called the Bar-Jan Bowl, maybe that became the Driftwood later? A few of my WC classmates worked in the back clearing the automatic pin-setters of jams and retrieving errant balls. We would sneak into the back to visit them and drink beer that the adult employees left in a refrigerator (we left money to pay for it.)

Before the argument starts...Kettering Blvd is southbound corridor and Dixie Dr is northbound side, separated most of the way from Dorothy Lane to Springboro Pike at Frisch's, by several blocks of houses and streets. This caused great confusion fifty-five years ago and probably does to this day! In 2006, my father's funeral was arranged by Newcomer, located in the former Stragand's IGA Foodliner building, just north of Stroop Rd (on Kettering Blvd.) A lot of his friends missed the funeral because they got lost/confused by the street names.
Mikey, Gatlinburg, TN

Last Edited by on Jul 15, 2009 1:17 PM
7 posts
Jul 09, 2009
6:53 PM
I grew up in Trotwood and my parents still lived there until last year. Trotwood Lanes was on E. Main Street. Trotwood Blvd. was the street where the high school used to be before it was torn down. As for the bowling alley, it was torn down almost 20 years ago and it is now a vacant lot that has been up for sale forever. Lots has changed in what we knew as Trotwood in the 60s and 70s. They tore down Broadmoor two years ago. Frisch's, Elder Beerman, Meat Locker, Trotwood Bakery, Salem Mall, Grain Elevator and the high school are all gone. The only businesses still around are Imperial Foodtown and Rogers Funeral Home. Hey do any of you remember Nelson Bros. Florist which used to be out on Little Richmond Road? That was my parents' and aunt and uncle's business. That was the one closer to Wolf Creek Pike not the one at Union and Little Richmond, that was Keeners. A lot of people would get us confused.
11 posts
Jul 13, 2009
10:17 AM
Bob68Chev, I used to bowl at McCook's alot in the 80s. My ex-husband also worked the desk there with Walter Cook. Do you remember Tom Whited. Also are you the Bob Johnson who bowled real good and practically lived at the bowling alley.
190 posts
Jul 13, 2009
1:12 PM
I don't remember a florist on Little Richmond close to Wolf Creek Pike. There was a nursery (plants, not kids) on Little Richmond just west of Wolf Creek. Would that be it?

If so, my son worked there one summer. Everything's been torn down now.
15 posts
Jul 15, 2009
11:34 AM
Yep, that would be the one. My parents and aunt sold the business to a wholesale nursery business - Ravenwood Gardens probably in the late 80s - early 90s. After a few years, the owner closed it and when he couldn't sell the business, he just tore everything down and has been trying to sell the land for a long time now. There is no For Sale sign but I think he is still trying to sell it. That's a shame because my family bought it in the 50s from Munson Florist who used to be in New Lebanon.
191 posts
Jul 15, 2009
2:39 PM
Thanks for reminding me of the name Ravenwood Gardens. That's what it was called when my son worked there. The sale date would have to be the 80's as my son was in high school at the time and he graduated in 1987.

Last Edited by on Jul 15, 2009 2:43 PM
31 posts
Jul 18, 2009
8:49 PM
carlatm75, my name is Jerry Bowling III. I was often called 'Mr. Bowling' (put it on my shirt for the fun of it). While I considered myself a good bowler, I never had any honor scores. I came close once (within one strike of an 800 series), but mostly loved the game and the friendships that resulted from the game.

I remember the name Tom Whited, but do not remember him.

I saw Walter Cook at a Dragons game last year. He looked good.

Bob Johnson was probably the best bowler that called McCook's home. When he was about 14 - 16, he started to make his presence known. He probably had the most 300's at McCook's, and was the best left hander that I ever bowled with or against. I bowled with Bob and Larry Lay in the Beau Townsend Trio League one year at Crossroads. It was a season that I will never forget.

When I was a teenager, I would sometimes keep score for Ken Ray at McCook's. He was probably the best right hander that I remember from McCook's. I never bowled with or against him, but remember him as a class act. He recently made it to the local bowling hall of fame.

Thanks for stirring up my memories about McCook's.

18 posts
Jul 20, 2009
9:02 AM
As a teenager, I used to work at Crossroads as a pin boy, in the early 60's. The manager's first name was Tykie. I ran into him about 11 years ago working at a restaurant in downtown Dayton called Tomatos.
3 posts
Jul 21, 2009
1:20 PM
Bob Johnson is still in town. He has not bowled the last few years due to injuries. The last couple of years he did bowl I was on his team and he was still as good as ever. Bob has over 60, 300's games in his career.
291 posts
Jul 22, 2009
1:37 AM
samstone: Tykie Savakos or perhaps Zavakos (other bowling alleys referenced here also) ... Tykie also Managed the Restaurant/Bar as well. He did buy his own Greek Restaurant, but I am not certain of the name. My Mom worked at the restaurant and the bowling alley when called upon. ~Cindi
30 posts
Jul 22, 2009
6:46 AM
Cindi......did you see Crossroads/RZ Vandalia after the wall collapsed? It was wild, could see the lanes and pinsetters from outside - well, they were outside - still intact, but littered with rubble.

Re Trotwood Lanes, the people who most remind of it today are Russ Maiden, the former GM, Jim Dawson, the former ball driller who smoked a cigar and was as big around as he was tall - and a class act,and Mickey Haynes, a super smooth player who also bowled in the McCook Classic League. Whether it was the accoustics, the hard finish on the lanes, or a combination of both, lifting the ball onto the lane had a much different (louder) sound than other houses.
85 posts
Jul 23, 2009
4:59 AM
Carlatm75, Do you remember the hill behind Trotwood Lanes, In the winter we would slide down it on our shoes and in the summer we would sit there and chill and smoke. I used to hang out at the Humble Gas Station when i was 13, it was next to Broadmore School. There was a Flints Hamburger joint we would go to and i used to shoot pool at Hurleys pool hall until i went into the Army. I came back a few years ago and could not believe how the place has changed. I do have some great memorys of Trotwood i will cherish forever.
16 posts
Aug 27, 2009
11:01 AM
bigbob. Sorry it took me so long to reply. I haven't on here lately. Yes I remember the hill. As for Flint's, that was where my older sister Susan had her first job. I loved their hamburgers. Yes, Trotwood has changed and not for the better. I miss the small town atmosphere when it was a small village and everyone knew each other. I went to Broadmoor and we lived out in the township on Little Richmond Road.
11 posts
Aug 28, 2009
2:22 PM
Anyone know the name of the bowling alley that was at Smithville and Watervaliet? This would have been in the 50's becaues it became Immaculate Conception Church around that time. It's a gas/quickie mart now.
72 posts
Aug 28, 2009
8:24 PM
pie8me: there was a bowling alley behind the parkmoor at Smithville and Watervaliet as late as the late 60s. do you mean the old pink immaculate conception church used to be a bowling alley ?
16 posts
Aug 28, 2009
8:51 PM
Yeah, way back in the 40's and 50's.
75 posts
Aug 28, 2009
9:30 PM
Never would have guessed that. now that you mention it though it was shaped like one. must not have had too many lanes though, I dont recall it being that wide.
39 posts
Oct 19, 2009
8:55 PM
Unless there was another one, Belmont Lanes used to be on Watervliet near Smithville, across from Slyder's Bar. The Belmont closed in 1996 or thereabout. It was still turning a small profit, even though it still had above ground ball returns and manual scoring. It had 26 lanes. Today, a portion of the property is occupied by a drugstore. The old Parkmoor was nearby before being torn down.
3 posts
Oct 27, 2009
5:46 PM
There is a good picture of the inside of McCook's Bowl from 1955 on the Northridge Alumni site at http://www.northridgealumni.org/id5.html . Just look for the photo page.
1 post
Dec 12, 2009
11:43 AM
hi, i am new to the site, but my wife has been on a few times and got me interested in it. i was reading thru the bowling alleys of dayton, and seen a few stories about trotwood lanes. i believe it was doug68 stories about trotwood lanes. jim dawson the ball driller was my uncle and one of the best bowlers in dayton during the 60s. i just wanted to say to doug68, thank you for remembering him and saying he was a class act. he passed away july 26th 2008.
44 posts
Dec 13, 2009
7:47 PM
Slap65, you're welcome regarding your uncle! How well I remember Jim (Dawson)......the cigar, the full roller, sometimes with a red line AMF ball, and most of all, his deep voice. He was known as a good ball driller. For your information, the head mechanic at Trotwood back then (Bill Jarrett)now owns the Thunderbowl and I'm sure that he has numerous stories about your uncle. I 'chat' with him quite often on FACEBOOK.
1 post
Dec 18, 2009
10:55 AM
Hi My name is Laura Zavakos Wood. I am the great-granddaughter of Otto Zavakos. I am very interested in stories any of you have about the family in the bowling alleys. I have a website zavakos.com where I am trying to chronicle the lives of the family. Any help you can give would be great!!! Please send me any of your memories of Otto, Louis, Leo or any other member of the family.
Thanking you in advance.
Laura Zavakos Wood
2 posts
Dec 28, 2009
9:19 AM
thanx doug68 for the info on bill jarrett. ive known bill since i was a little kid, i grew up in trotwood lanes,my mother was bowling in a league there while pregnant with me,she also worked at the snackbar for many years.i started bowling there when i was 4. i use to see bill jarrett alot when i bowled at thunderbowl , when i got older. doug68, what is your real name i might know you from the bowling alley. if you dont want to put your real name here i understand, here is my email if you think it would be better slap65@hotmail.com. talk soon.
3 posts
Dec 28, 2009
5:19 PM
Pla-Mor Lanes, which has been on Linden Ave in Riverside for many years, was originally located on Salem Ave. I think they moved in the early 60's.
55 posts
Jan 13, 2010
10:01 AM
Slap65, I am meeting with Del Wick this evening and I will try to get you additional info re your uncle, Jim Dawson.

Also, for lauraz, I had seen your website beforehand and loved the photos, especially showing members of your family at or near the 'alleys.' When I used to bowl at McCook's as a teen and in my early 20's (1967-1973), often, if not everytime I would enter the front door, 'Uncle Louie' would be in the lobby, greeting and shaking the hands of the people entering. He was always a supreme gentleman.
56 posts
Jan 18, 2010
11:26 AM
I was surfing the internet recently and learned that the Loft Theater downtown is actually where the old Recreation Alleys was located at 126 N. Main Street. The text described the location something like ".....an old bowling alley waiting for a place to happen." The photo of the Loft is really cool and appears well-worth the time to take in a show - something I haven't done since I was in the fourth grade.
6 posts
Feb 11, 2010
4:46 AM
Has anyone mentioned Academy lanes? On Xenia Ave, across from St. Mary's church...same block as the Federation Theater...in the 50's, you could be a pinboy for 5 to 10 cents a game...
58 posts
Feb 28, 2010
1:35 PM
Does anyone remember or know anything about the bowling 'alley' that was close to the downtown Arcade many years ago? How about any memories of the old Palace Lanes on West Third Street?

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