From the Archive: Bowling, Bowling, Bowling

by Lesley Drayton, Curator, Fort Collins Local History Archive

Now that the cold weather seems like it is here to stay, it’s a fine time to focus on indoor recreation, like bowling! Folks have been enjoying the sport in Fort Collins for decades. Check out these champions from the Fort Collins Elks Lodge, circa 1910:

Of course, Fort Collins ladies also liked to get in on the bowling action. Here’s a great shot of a winning team sponsored by Hutchison Pharmacy, 1951. I really like their matching satin shirts; I wonder what color they were.

And from the back….

These gentlemen meant business at the Colorado State Bowling Tournament held in 1960 in Fort Collins. From left to right they are Ray Carpenter, D. Weigand, Doc Carroll, Floyd Headlee, and an unidentified man. Does anyone recognize him?

In 1960, a new bowling alley opened in Fort Collins at 2105 South College. The Bowl-Aire had all the latest features, including automatic pinsetters and “tel-e-scores.” Here’s the ad from the 1961 yellow pages:

And here’s a photo of the Bowl-Aire shortly after it opened. Looks like a fun place to bowl a few frames!

So what about you? Do you partake of indoor recreation (ultimate foosball, anyone?) during the colder months or do you still brave the outdoors for your fun?

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5 Responses to “From the Archive: Bowling, Bowling, Bowling”


  1. 1 Katie November 30, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Too bad those satin bowling shirts weren’t pin striped.

  2. 2 Lesley November 30, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Oh, Katie. I’m afraid you may have to strike that comment from the record.

  3. 3 Katie November 30, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    No problem – I have plenty more to spare.

  4. 4 Doug December 1, 2010 at 8:10 am

    For many years there was a bowling alley in the basement of the Lory Student Center at CSU. I bowled in a league there approximately 1986-1992. It was rumored at the time that the commercial bowling alleys in town were upset by the competition: a government bowling alley! But the CSU facility was used for PE classes and supposedly used regular weight pins as opposed to lighter pins at the commercial alleys (for more strikes). In other words, no one who wanted better scores would bowl at CSU!

    The CSU bowling alley was wrecked in the July 1997 flood and never replaced. I heard that the PE department decided bowling was not really an athletic endeavor. Maybe they were right; after all, it’s one of the few sports where you can participate and drink beer at the same time.

    Incidentally, I was a terrible bowler, almost as bad as Barak Obama. Maybe I should have drunk more beer — it couldn’t have hurt.

  5. 5 Katie December 1, 2010 at 9:23 am

    What a fantastic story, Doug! I remember being really surprised when I started grad school in Boulder that there was a bowling alley in the student center there, too.

    And maybe you’re a better bowler than you thought – after all, you said bowling at CSU was harder than anywhere else. I bet if you try bowling at a commercial lane, you’ll be the king of the strikes!


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