Throwback Thursday 4/14/16: “Two Of The Oldest Bowling Leagues Reside In The Quad-Cities”

“Did you know that two of the oldest bowling leagues that are certified each year by the United States Bowling Congress are located in the Quad-Cities?

The Tri-City Classic, which takes place at Leisure Lanes, is in its 109th season. Only two men’s leagues nationwide have a longer history. The Rock Island Ladies, which competes at Town & Country Bowl, came into existence in 1926, now in its 83rd season. Just one women’s league is older.

It was in 1900 when the Tri-City League (as it then was known) was formed. There were six teams, with two each from Davenport, Rock Island and Moline. Team matches were held in all three cities at the same time each week. It was not until 1951 that the 12 teams then in the league bowled at the same location. Leisure Lanes became the host of league matches in 1977.

The two leagues that have a longer history than the Tri-City Classic are the Drug Trade League in Baltimore, now in its 113th season, and the Metropolitan Travel League of Pittsburgh, which is bowling in its 112th season. The City League in Winona, Minn., is the same age as the Tri-City Classic.

When the Rock Island Ladies first came into existence, the name was the Rock Island Girls League. At the outset, their matches were held at the Fort alleys, located in the basement of the Fort Armstrong Hotel. Later, many years were spent at the Central Alleys on Rock Island’s 3rd Avenue. By that time, the word “Ladies” had replaced “Girls” in the league’s name. It was in 1958 that the league moved to Town & Country, where matches still are being held on Tuesday nights.

The only women’s league recognized by the USBC that is older than the Rock Island Ladies is the Ladies Greater Omaha League, whose history dates back just one year further than the local league.

Both the Tri-City Classic and the Rock Island Ladies have contributed a great amount to local bowling history. I am sure that much more is yet to come.”

-The Rock Island Argus
October 20, 2008

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