Roll into the Historic Garden Bowl

Roll into the Historic Garden Bowl


EFUL. BUY INSURANCE.>>Tati: ARE YOU LOOKING FOR SOMETHING FUN TO TRY IN DETROIT? HOW ABOUT HEADING OVER TO ONE OF THE OLDEST BOWLING ALLEYS IN THE UNITED STATES.>>Jason: IT’S RIGHT ON WOODWARD. 50 YEARS AGO, IT ALMOST HAD TO SHUT ITS DOORS.>>Chuck: THE UNIQUELY DETROIT STORY OF THE GARDEN BOWL. ♪♪>>BOWLING WAS FOR EVERYONE. A WORKING MAN’S COUNTRY CLUB. ♪>>DETROIT IS ACTUALLY THE LARGEST BOWLING POPULATION IN THE UNITED STATES. I THINK THE BOWLING REGISTRY FOR METRO DETROIT AT ONE TIME WAS 500,000 BOWLERS. JUST IMAGINE. WE’RE IN THE GARDEN BOWL. THE BOWLING ALLEY WAS FIRST BUILT IN 1913, THE OLDEST BOWLING ALLEY COMMERCIAL ESTABLISHMENT IN THE UNITED STATES. AND MY NAM IS JOE AND MY FATHER ALBERT BOUGHT IT IN 1946. WE’VE BEEN HERE ALL THOSE YEARS. IN THE EARLY ’60s, WE HAD ABOUT 1500 LEAGUE BOWLERS. IN 1967-68 SEASON, WE HAD 300. THAT WAS JUST A MONTH AND A HALF AFTE THE REBELLION. MOST PEOPLE REFER TO THEM AS THE RIOTS. I CALL THEM THE REBELLION. WE WERE AT TIGER STADIUM, IN THE BLEACH — BLEACHERS, AND WE COULD SEE THE SMOKE COMING UP. THE ANNOUNCER SAID LEAVE AND AVOID THE GRAND RIV AREA.>>300 STATE POLICE AND 600 NATIONAL GUARDSMEN IN THE AREA TO PROTECT FROM THE LAWLESS ELEMENTS.>>CAME TO WORK ON MONDAY MORNING AND WE SAID, WE SHOULD TURN THE BOWLING ALLEY OVER TO THE POLICE DEPARTMENT FOR RELAXATION BECAUSE OF THE STRESS THAT THE POLICE AND THE FIREMEN HAD TO DEAL WITH AT THE TIME. [SIREN] THERE WAS A TANK ON OUR PARKING LOT ACROSS THE STREET, AND THE RIFLES WERE TRIPODDED. WE FILLED UP WITH JUDGES, PROSECUTORS, OFFICERS, WE HAD THE 82nd AIRBORNE, THE MICHIGAN NATIONAL GUARD, EVERYBODY WAS BOWLING. IT WAS A GOOD PLACE FOR THEM TO RELAX. I HAVE A PHOTOGRAPH OF TWO SOLDIERS WITH MY 6-YEAR-OLD SON NOW 56 SITTING ON THEIR LAPS AND THE RIFLE UNDER HIS ARM. IT WAS TRYING DAYS WE HAD A BIG DECISION TO MAKE, DO WE FOLLOW OUR CUSTOMERS AND CLOSE UP, OR DO WE STAY? THAT’S WHEN WE STARTED THIS PROGRAM: LEARN TO BOWL PLUS. AND IT SPARKED SOMETHING. I WOULD FIND AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN BOWLER THAT WAS A DECENT BOWLER AND SAY, YOU COULD TEACH THE CLASS. I WOULDN’T PAY YOU UNTIL YOU TURN THEM INTO A LEAGUE BOWLER. IF YOU WERE ONE OF THE TEACHERS AND YOU ORGANIZED THE LEAGUE, WE WOULD PAY YOU HALF OF WHAT I TOOK IN. BY 1970, WE HAD 2800 BOWLERS. YOU HAVE TO PERSEVERE. WE DON’T JUST HAVE THEM BOWL, TAKE THEIR MONEY AND HAVE THEM LEAVE. WE KNOW THEM, WE EMBRACE THEM, AND THAT’S THE KEY TO PERSEVERANCE AND BEING ABLE TO STAY IN BUSINESS THIS LONG. I LOVE IT!