Live in the D: Uniquely Detroit – Garden Bowl

Live in the D: Uniquely Detroit – Garden Bowl


all right well did you know that the oldest bowling alley in the US is right here in the D it’s right on Woodward and this place has been a hot spot for decades but it almost had to shut its doors nearly 50 years ago so Alex at well ace photojournalist shares the uniquely Detroit story of the Garden Bowl bowling was for everyone a workingman’s Country Club [Music] Detroit is actually the largest bowling population in the United States I think the bullying registry for Metro Detroit at one time was five hundred thousand bowlers just imagine the garden Bowl Mon Ami was first built in 1913 it’s the oldest bowling alley commercial establishment in the United States my name is Joe zania and my father Albert bought the bowling alley in 1946 we’ve been here all those years let me give you some numbers in the early 60s we had about 1500 League bowlers 1967-68 season we had 300 that was just a month and a half after the rebellion most people refer to miss a riot I call him a rebellion I was at Tiger Stadium we were in the bleachers we could see the fire the smoke in the cross street area coming out the announcer said please leave the stadium orderly and avoid the Grand River in the Northwest area three hundred state police and about 600 National Guardsmen in the area to protect the people and the property from the acts of lawless elements came to work on Monday morning and we said we should tune in the bowling alley over to the police department but these people had a little relaxation just took the stress that the police and the firemen had to deal with at the time there was a tank on our parking lot across the street and the rifles were try popping our garden bulb are filled up with judges and prosecutors police officers we had 101st airborne the 82nd airborne of the Michigan National Guard everybody was bawling it was a good place for them to relax I have a photograph two soldiers with my six-year-old son now 56 sitting on their lap with the carbine rifle in his other around it was a traumatic day decision do we follow our customers and close up or do we stay that’s when we started this program learned a bold plus and it really sparked something I would find an african-american bowler that was a decent bowler and say you could teach the class and I’m not gonna pay you until you convert them into a league one of them teachers if you organized league we would end up paying you half of what I took we don’t just have them bowl take their money believe we know them we embrace it and that’s the key to perseverance and to being the same business I love it it’s been great [Music]