By Mario Consentino, Student Writer
If a Messiah student wanted to go bowling on a Friday night, they would have to hike to their car and make a fifteen minute drive to get to Trindle Bowl or ABC West Lanes. However, this wasn’t always the case.
In the ‘70s and ‘80s, students had the luxury of walking to an on-campus bowling alley located in the Eisenhower Campus Center. On the lower level of the building, in the current location of the Textbook Express, was a four-lane bowling alley. And in the place of the Falcon was a snack shop, popular for students who wanted to grab a milkshake or burger.
Beside the bowling alley was a game room where students could play ping pong, table shuffleboard or pool. The game room, snack shop and the bowling alley were one of the social hotspots on campus in the 1980’s.
While it might be difficult for current students to imagine what this would look like, there are still some people on campus who remember the snack shop and the bowling alley in all its former glory.
Michael Strite, Associate Director of Financial Aid, recalls working in the snack shop during his time as a student at Messiah. Strite said that he “became very familiar with that part of campus” and admits that he probably spent a little too much time in the game room.
“Friday and Saturday evenings often saw students go to the Snack Shop for a milkshake, spend time with their friends or perhaps even a date,” Strite said. He said that he spent most of the time playing ping pong because it was free, but remembers his highest round of bowling took place on Messiah’s lanes.
Although many students spent most of their time in the alley on Friday and Saturday nights, it was not initially built for recreational purposes.
Falcon cashier Joann Lerew, who also worked at the snack shop, said that the bowling alley was actually built for physical education classes.
Lerew started working at the Snack Shop in 1988 and she continued to work there when it changed into what we now know as the Falcon. She worked at the snack shop during the day and would go bowling when she wasn’t working.
While many students might question the validity of bowling as a physical education course, Lerew would say, “Have you ever bowled? Try it sometime, there’s exercise there.”
Over time, the lanes deteriorated and they were used less frequently.
“The bowling alleys needed to be repaired quite a bit,” Lerew said. “So I don’t think they were used a lot.”
Lerew believes that these issues, along with the need to expand the Falcon, led to the demise of the bowling alley.
The bowling alley and the snack shop were soon replaced by the Falcon and the Textbook Express, but their memory still lives on and can be visited by going down memory lane.
This article can be found in the October issue of the Swinging Bridge Magazine.