Bowling - whatever happened?
It was estimated that nearly 20-percent of the population bowled each and every year at least once during a calendar year.
The Bethlehem Area Bowling Association, at one time, had nearly 100 lanes available at a variety of sites to compete. Of course, Town & Country Lanes on Stefko Boulevard was the largest and still has a number of leagues competing on a weekly basis.
Compared to years gone by, well, it’s just no comparison.
Yes, many of the alleys were located in private clubs, but finding an open lane was a difficult task.
Weekends was date night and many romances started with a few strikes and spares. Open spots were far and few between with T&C taking reservations well after midnight to accommodate. Leagues, of course, dominated the action in the Christmas City with numerous gatherings formed at the cities largest
employer, Bethlehem Steel. There was the Blast Furnace, Plant Patrol, Coke Works and Main Office leagues all rolling three games for a 30-week season.
Bowling was a major focal point in our area for many years with all ages and gender equality. Junior Bowling was started in the 50s as the Police Athletic League (PAL). Police Officer Jim
Lichtenwalner was the organizing force and is looking down from above and wondering what happened to the game.
As the sport grew, the American Junior Bowling highlighted the area with a half dozen sites competing weekly on Saturday mornings.
Over the next few weeks we will reminisce what and where about the game of bowling, and how it played a role in the Christmas City. Stay tuned, you just may remember a few.
Next week, can you name all the establishments in Bethlehem and how many were located in Hellertown...
Chip Walakovits is a former Globe Times bowling writer and has produced a series of bowling articles for the Bethlehem Press. He can be reached at email@example.com.