Lanes Family Entertainment
25 Main Street (west end of Main)
Westcliffe, Colorado 81252
Email Cliff Lanes
Information about the Westcliffe Community
(little-known) History of Bowling:
Even though bowling has been the object of satire in such
movies as Kingpin and The Big Lebowski, it
is certainly a genuine sport. And, believe it or not, it
may be one of the oldest sports in the history of the world.
Over 100 million people in more than 90 countries practice
the game, making it one of the most popular and universally
loved forms of recreation on the planet. It has been the
game of kings (literally), and the startling facts behind
the origins of bowling may surprise even the most dedicated
the 1930's, British Anthropologist Sir Flinders Petrie became
the first to discover evidence of a bowling-like game. He
found ancient objects in a child's grave in Egypt that were
allegedly used for a primitive form of the game. The artifacts
have been dated back to 3200 BC, effectively making bowling
over 5,000 years old!
first written mention of a bowling-like sport can be traced
to the year 1366 in England. Allegedly King Edward III outlawed
the game in order to keep his troops focused on their archery
practice, but it was most certainly in vogue (and legal)
during the reign of King Henry VIII. Many variations of
bowling have come from Europe including Britain's lawn bowling,
but the question of who introduced bowling to the United
States is much more uncertain.
English, Dutch, and German settlers all brought their own
versions of the game to the New World. The earliest mention
of American bowling comes in the form of a quote from Rip
Van Winkle when old Rip wakes up to the sounds of "ninepins".
The origin of the tenpin game is still unknown, but by the
late 1800's it was prevalent in New York, Ohio, and Illinois.
The first standardization of the rules of the game was established
on September 9, 1895 at Beethoven Hall in New York City.
It was then that the American Bowling Congress was formed
and major national competitions began. The Women's International
Congress came much later in the year 1917 under the encouragement
of proprietor Dennis Sweeny. The women leaders participating
in a tournament later formed the Woman's National Bowling
first Mineralite ball was introduced in 1914 by the Brunswich
Corporation, and the first commercial installation of a
pin setting machine came in 1952, making "pin boys"
almost entirely unnecessary. The Pro Bowlers tour became
hugely popular on ABC Sports Broadcasting after first being
televised in 1961. These events all added to the popularity
of Bowling but make no mistake. Bowling is loved in its
own right because it is a sport of the people. It has come
from its early forms to evolve into a truly enjoyable American