Throwback Thursday 4/26/18: Andy’s Playdium Bowling Lanes

-Daily Dispatch
September 11, 1942

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Throwback Thursday 4/19/18: “End of an era as Hauman leaves Bowladrome”

“An association of long standing comes to a close Tuesday when Tom Hauman sateps down as lessee of Rock Island’s Bowladrome. This also might mark the end of bowling facilities at the corner of 7th Avenue and 30th Street.

Bowladrome first opened in October, 1940, in the building that previously housed the Rock Island Brewing Co. The late Andy Voss obtained the brewery building at auction and established Rock Island’s largest bowling center with 20 lanes.

One year later, Hauman was on the scene as an under-aged pin-setter. He stayed around the Bowladrome in various capacities until entering military service in 1948. Upon his discharge five years later, Hauman was hired by Voss as manager of the Bowladrome.

The late Labe Weindruch leased the center in 1959, and Bill Schroeder took over in 1963. During those years, Hauman continued as manager. He became lessee in 1974.

“I’VE DONE every job in this place, and still do,” Hauman said. “I’ve done th lanes, been janitor and the bartender and everything else.”

It’s not that Hauman is ready to retire; he’s only 55. A decline in patronage, especially during the last three seasons, dictated his decision to cease operations. There were just two adult leagues in action during the recently ended season.

“There comes a time when it’s time to get rid of (old things),” he said. “Financially, the Bowladrome has come to that time.”

Rosier days once prevailed. “We used to have lots of leagues, three shifts some days,” Hauman said. “We never had much on Saturday and Sunday because we left those days for open bowling.”

The lanes installed nearly 45 years ago are still in good shape. They still could withstand several additional sandings.

“They are National lanes. I think that company was bought out by AMF,” said Hauman. “The automatic pinspotters were installed by Labe Weindruch in 1959. Those are the original machines still in use.”

Bowladrome stands unique among area establishments in a couple of ways. The ball returns on the first six-teen lanes are not located between the two lanes in each pair. Rather, they are alongside the pair. For example, the ball return for 1 and 2 is left of lane 1 while the return for 3 and 4 is to the right of lane 4.

The second unique aspect of Bowladrome is Hauman’s aversion to dressing the lanes with additional oil in the center, as is the practice in other centers.

“I DON’T believe in it (the center crowning of the lane dressing),” Hauman said. “But if I had to do it over again, I’d probably go along with the rest of the proprietors.”

Hauman’s “flat oil” lane dressing policies played a significant role in the erosion of his customers. Only once did he attempt to dress the lanes for better scores, with results that were quite embarrassing.

A few years ago, Hauman decided he would put more oil in the center of the lanes than along the edges. “I did that to see if it would improve the average of my bowlers,” he recalled, “but I didn’t tell them what I’d done. Most of them rolled the ball down the middle, so they complained that there was too much oil. Their averages went down.”

The biggest embarrassment came shortly thereafter. Ray Sivers, then ABC field representative, dropped in unexpectedly and found the lanes at Bowladrome to be non-compliant to ABC standards. That was the last time Hauman used additional dressing on the lane centers.

During 45 seasons of league play, just one 300 game has been rolled at the Bowladrome – by Bill Lawson in the mid-’50s.

Hauman is one bowler who has mastered Bowladrome’s lanes on occasion.

“I used to average in the 190s, and, up until two years ago, was still in the 180s. All told, I’ve had four 700s, with the latest, a 706, coming just last season,” he said. “I’ve had one 280 game and it seems like dozens of 279s.”

HIDDEN FROM view by the false ceiling over the lanes are three bowling paintings of historical value. These are above the pinspotter masking units.

One portrays an outdoor bowling scene, similar to the Rip Van Winkle story setting. The second has a pre-1910 ball return shown and the third is about “modern” bowling. That would be from about 40 years ago, however.

The fate of these paintings ultimately depends on what happens to the Bowladrome. They might be on display at the National Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Louis at a future date.

Bernard “Pat” Voss, a nephew of the original owner, is not sure what the final disposition of the Bowladrome will be.

“I might be able to find someone else to lease it,” Voss said. “The whole property is for sale.”

Voss recognizes the distinct possibility that the Bowladrome might be sold piece by piece, lane by lane, machine by machine. If that happens the last link to pre-World War II bowling in the Illinois Quad-Cities will pass from the scene. Bowlmor Lanes in Davenport would then by the sole remaining pre-war center in the area.

THE CLOSING of Bowladrome would have an immediate impact on one group of bowlers. These are the men and women students of Augustana College who are enrolled in bowling classes conducted by Barry Bilkey.

Presently, there are about 65 students in Bilkey’s classes. In an earlier session, held last fall, around 40 participated.

Bilkey, in his first year at Augustana, is concerned over the closing of the Bowladrome.

“We can all walk over here,” he said, recognizing that transferring his classes to any other center would require the use of vehicular transportation.

There are literally thousands of bowlers in the area today who have never been inside the Bowldrome’s entrance. One person not included in this number is Dispatch photographer Harry Lamon.

“I bowled the best game of my life here back when I was in high school,” Lamon said as he arrived to take pictures of the dean of Rock Island’s centers, Bowladrome, and its proprietor, Tom Hauman.”

-The Sunday Dispatch
April 28, 1985

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Throwback Thursday 1/25/18: Town & Country Bowling Lanes

-Quad-City Times
June 4, 1973

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Throwback Thursday 1/18/18: “Local Bowlers Collect Gravy In Illinois Event”

“Bowlers in the Tri-City Classic League went to the Springfield, Ill., Sweepstakes for a purpose and they came out the winners. In the picture, taken Thursday night at the Plaza Bowl in Bettendorf, the fortunate bowlers are shown with their trophies. From left to right, bottom row, are Ray Colman, Harold Bracker, Walter McElhinny, vice-president of the Consumers Sales Agency, and H. L. Erwin. Back row: Lloyd Moseley, Cal Whitmore, Ed Wichelmann, Elmer Rogers, manager of the Plaza, Bob Anderson, Gene Baker and Elmer Fischer, secretary of the Springfield Bowling Association and a director of the American Bowling Congress. The Moline Consumers team won the championship with 2936. Don Anderson and Ed Wichelmann took the doubles crown with 1258 and Ray Colman won the all-events with 1812. All of the bowlers roll in the Tri-City Classic League.”

-Morning Democrat
March 28, 1958

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Throwback Thursday 12/28/17: “Top scoring nights for pair of Q-C bowling leagues”

”Sam’s Highland Masters and Tri-City Classic are two of the top scoring leagues in the Quad-Cities. Both had their best scoring nights last week.

The Highland Masters produced an average score of 662 for their 48 bowlers; the Tri-City’s 60 players averaged 689.

The Highland masters, consisting of 12 four-player teams, is now in its second season, On its record-setting night, Rick Barlett had the top series with a 780 that came from 256, 245 and 279 games. Todd Cook’s 299 was the top line. It boosted Cook to a 761 series with his earlier lines being 193 and 269.

Cook’s team posted both team highs with a 1033 game and a 2808 series. Bob Collis contributed a 737, Gene Huggart had 664 and Mike Jump was at 646. There were a total of 14 men who had better than 700 on the Highland Masters’ best scoring night.

The Tri-City Classic was first organized in 1900 and is now in its 106th season. Last week’s 689 average score erased the previous record, 687, Another league record was set when the Miller Time Bowling team used 1350, 1284 and 1188 lines for a massive 3822 series. That score also is the newest Iowa State record, topping the 3798 that had first been bowled in Waterloo in 2003 and tied this past January by Miller Time Bowling.

Doug Anderson led the Miller Time scoring with an 814 that came from 266, 269 and 279 segments. Following were Chuck Schuette at 799, sub Jeff Krager with 790, Gary Garnaas with 747 and Josh Cantrill at 672. Krager had a 298 in his middle line.

Rob Genz was the top shooter in the Tri-City Classic that night with 279, 258 and 278 games adding to 815. A total of 20 bowlers, in addition to Genz and Anderson, finished above 700 that night. Eric Littig’s 299 was the session’s best game.

Mike Peters is leading the Highland Masters with his 234 average. Gary Garnaas has a 240 average, tops in the Tri-City Classic.”

-The Rock Island Argus
April 10, 2006

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Throwback Thursday 12/21/17: “Salute to Top Bowler”

“Hats off to Beulah Abbott of LeClaire, one of the first two members of the Iowa Women’s Bowling Association Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame was organized last weekend at the group’s annual meeting in Cedar Rapids, with the first two members being named.

Beulah holds the distinction of being one of four women who have rolled a perfect 300 game in Iowa. She was the first, getting hers in 1932 in the old Hilson’s Alleys, now Capitol Lanes.

Mrs. Abbott has topped the 700 mark for series twice. She rolled a 711 the night of her 300 game and hit a 709 one month later at Midway Lanes.

Beulah has been bowling since the 1920s, before the State or Davenport-Bettendorf women’s associations were formed. She was instrumental in getting both organizations moving.

Thirty-four women attended the first meeting of the state group in Newton, in early April, 1931. The local association was formed later that same month.

Since Davenport had the largest representation at the state meeting, the first women’s state tournament was held here in 1932. Beulah won the singles, all-events and teamed with Ethel Methven to win the doubles.

Her all-events score of 1,761 for nine games, stood as a state record until 1958.

Beulah still uses the first bowling ball she ever owned. She has bought or won some others several times, but always returned to the old faithful. Her daughter, Audrey Dittmer, won the singles championship of the city tournament in 1962 using her mother’s “old” ball.

An outstanding career such as this one has produced many trophies and priceless memories. Beulah has a scrapbook full of her high points in the last 30 years.

Included are the tattered score sheet which she recorded her perfect game, newspaper clippings of her victories in state tournaments and others describing outstanding achievements, such as a 277 game.

The latest additions to her collection are a plaque, watch and pin which she received at last weekend’s meeting.

She was not told that she was to enter the Hall of Fame until the ceremony. She had been asked to take part in the unveiling of several pictures of past presidents of the state group, to make sure she would appear at the meeting.

Beulah, now 70, still is active, both in bowling and working. She bowls twice a week, in a women’s league on Friday nights and a mixed league on Sundays.

She holds a “part time” job at the LeClaire Quarry, but is looking forward to working something like 60 hours per week during the busy season for the quarry.

She also does her own gardening.

Mrs. Abbott plans to go to Memphis, Tenn. next month to bowl in the national tournament with her daughter.

Has all of this activity kept her healthy? “I think it has,” she states. “I have not had time to think about getting old.””

-The Daily Times
April 4, 1963

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Throwback Thursday 12/14/17: “Q-C team dents records”

“A Quad-City team has made the national record books after some torrid shooting last weekend in the Gold Dust tournament at Milan Lanes.

Bob Neff’s Bowler’s Corner rolled the second highest ABC tournament series ever for a four-man team. It also added the third highest team game.

Jon Shanku, Chris Lorenzen and Dan Waline – all of Davenport – joined Durant’s Harold Petersen to shoot an amazing 2,852 three-game series. That’s an average of 237 a game per man.

The record is 2,976 set by The Dynamites of Mitchell, S.D., in 1979.

The Quad-City team also notched a staggering 1,050 team game – an average of better than 262 a man. Only two games in tournament history have been higher for four-man teams. The record is 1,074 by the same Dynamites in their record-breaking series. Second place of 1,051 also is held by the Dynamites.

Shanku led the firing last weekend with a 766 series. Waline shot 718, Lorenzen 708 and Petersen 660.

Individual scores in the high team game were: Lorenzen 279; Waline 265; Shanku 259; and Petersen 247.

“The surprising thing about that game was that game was that Chris (Lorenzen) was the only one to throw at least two strikes in the 10th frame,” Shanku said. “Otherwise, we would have easily topped the all-time record.””

-Quad-City Times
December 7, 1980

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