Birmingham Bowling

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The first bowling house in Birmingham is somewhat of a mystery. As happens so many times, it depends on whom you ask. Some say there was a bowling house on 1st Avenue North near the Old Terminal Station; while others say the YMCA had the first, with either two or four bowling lanes located in the YMCA building. It is agreed, however, that the first regularly used bowling center was opened in 1933 and known as The Phoenix Bowling Alley, located in the basement of the Phoenix Building at 1706 2nd Avenue North. It was a twelve- (12) lane house, owned and operated by Harry and Elizabeth Arnold. Its opening in 1933 coincided with the forming of the Greater Birmingham Bowling Association. First officers of the association were V.G. Shields - President, Manual A. Ellis -Secretary, and F. J. Stanton - Treasurer, and the Executive Committee included Dr. N. C. Glass, Jr. and M. A. Moran. The Phoenix Bowling Alley remained in business until the Phoenix Building burned down. During the 1930's and until the war, Birmingham bowling, like most activities, was centralized in the downtown area - between 2nd and 5th Avenues North. Bowling Houses, in addition to Phoenix - in alphabetical order - were: Downtown (Birmingham) Bowling Lanes, Liberty Bowling Alley and Lucky Strike Lanes. Bowling grew in popularity after World War II and continued to grow through the fifties, and with this popularity, came an increase in bowling alleys: Tarrant City (8 lanes), Fairfield (6 lanes), Woodlawn (8 lanes), lrondale (16 lanes), Five Points South (12 lanes), and Chapman Lanes, later to be known as LoMac Bowl (16 lanes). Chapman Lanes got its name from one of the proprietors, Ben Chapman - the great major league baseball player from Birmingham. Marvin Lowry (Lo) and Joe McCorvey (Mac) purchased Chapman Lanes, and the name was changed to LoMac Bowl. It was not long until small 6-12 lane houses gave way to the modern automated centers. In the late 1950's and into the...
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