Our History

The Shelburne Falls Bowling Alley lanes have been seeing action
non-stop since 1906. Come visit the second oldest bowling alley in North America!

The Shelburne Falls Bowling Alley opened in the first week of January 1906.

The local newspapers at the time were “The Deerfield Valley Echo” and “The Shelburne Falls Messenger”.

(The images and scans on this page are available in high resolution here.)

The article below, announcing the opening of C.W. Ward’s amusement annex – now the Shelburne Falls Bowling Alley, ran in the Gazette and Courier (now the Recorder) – January 13, 1906

Grand opening announcement - January 13, 1906
Grand opening announcement – January 13, 1906

The advertisements below, which were run by the original proprietor of these lanes – C.W. Ward – are unusual in that they directly target women.

The advertisement below ran in the Deerfield Valley Echo on January 3rd, 1906.

Ad - January 3rd, 1906
Ad – January 3rd, 1906

The advertisement below ran in August 7th, 1907. It was at this time that Ward added a garden spot behind the alleys.

1907-Aug7-ArcadeAd

SHELBURNE FALLS MESSENGER ARTICLE JULY 24,1907

ArcadeGrandOpeningARCADE GARDEN OPENING.

Vaudeville, Refreshments and Rest Spot to Begin Business Saturday Night.

C.W. Ward’s new Arcade garden will be opened to the public on Saturday night of this week. The opening attraction was to have been the three Marshall sisters, a lyceum trio of musical entertainers of the best class whom Mr. Ward engaged for tomorrow night. A misunderstanding of dates, however, necessitated a change of plan. The Marshall sisters will appear at the garden later in the season, while the opening of the new amusement place will be signalized by a dance from 8 to 12 o’clock.

Mr. Ward plans to present at least one vaudeville attraction each week, with a dancing party or two on other evenings. There will be musical attractions every night. During the day the garden will be open to the public free as a rest place. The refreshment counter of the arcade will be supplied with ice cream, soda, etc.

It would have been impossible to find a finer spot for a refreshment and amusement garden than that which Mr. Ward has converted, at a very considerable outlay, from a rather unpromising bit of waste ground. The space on the bluff behind the Arcade bowling alleys has been graded and graveled and surrounded by a rustic fence, and a rustic pavilion, adaptable as a stage or dancing room, has been built out over the bluff. From this pavilion a most delightful view of the river is obtainable, one of the very finest in this vicinity, and if there is a breath of air stirring it will be found there. About the graveled court will be disposed settees for the audiences at the vaudeville entertainments and tables for the serving of refreshments. A number of young evergreen trees add to the attractiveness of the place.

On vaudeville nights and other occasions of similar nature the seating capacity of the garden will be increased to about 300 by swinging out the movable walls of the bowling alley building and covering the alleys with a portable flooring. At other times the bowling alleys will still remain open.

To a place like Shelburne Falls, which has no public park or green and no outdoor amusement place to be reached by trolley this cool and immaculately cared for spot would seem to offer something greatly needed. It would appear that the only thing necessary to the complete success of such an enterprise is the assurance that absolute perfect order will be maintained, and of that there is no doubt with Mr. Ward in charge.

This advertisement ran in the Shelburne Falls Messenger September, 1907.

Ad - September 1907
Ad – September 1907

 

Don Emerson, Pin Boy, Shelburne Falls Bowling Alley
Don Emerson, Pin Boy, Shelburne Falls Bowling Alley
Don Emerson, Pin Boy, Shelburne Falls Bowling Alley
Don Emerson, Pin Boy, Shelburne Falls Bowling Alley

 

Women's Team 1950
Women’s Team 1950

Back Row: Stella Sobieski, Ruth Guyette Bowen, Dot Spencer.
Middle Row: Elaine Martin Emerson, Thelma Batcheldar, Jean Williams, Beverly Maynard Allard, Von Stone Martin.
Front Row: Hazel Keating, Olive Martin, Beverly Ward Wall, Eunice Tobey.

1954-55 State Eagles Bowling Champions from the Shelburne Falls Eagles Club (also known as the Shelburne Five)
From left, Bill Brufee, Archie Ainsworth, Harold Wheeler, Art Donelson and Alva Stacy

1954-55 State Eagles Bowling Champions
1954-55 State Eagles Bowling Champions

We are seeking photos and stories about the Shelburne Falls Bowling Alley’s past. If you have something of interest please contact us, we’d love to see it!

Continue the tradition with us! Come to Shelburne Falls Bowling Alley, you’ll be glad you did.

 

MohawkLeague1934

Winners 1934 Mohawk League
Shelburne Falls Girls Club Bowling Team

Standing: Kathleen Wheeler
Isabel Halberg (Captain)
Edna Morrissey
Seated: Kathryn Amstein
Ruth McNeil
Mildred Birch