Vance Is Stumped! Where in Memphis Was This Miniature Bowling Alley?



I hope you've appreciated the old color slides that I've posted recently (here and in the magazine) showing the ruins of the Russwood Park fire.

Well, mixed in with that tray of slides was this intriguing image, and I need help — yes, I admit it — figuring out where this was, and what the game is, exactly.

I mean, I know it's some form of bowling. But look — the four alleys are very short, the wooden pins are quite small, and the eight pins are arranged in a straight line. I assume some kind of lever mechanism simply reset the pins after you attempted to knock them down. Depending on your skill, notice the three levels of prizes available to you for a dime, which seemed to be limited to large, medium, and small chalk figures, just like the prizes you'd win at old carnival arcade games.

Notice also the signs admonishing players "Please do not roll ball hard."

Does anyone remember playing at this establishment?

And — this would really be great — does anyone recognize the dapper gentleman who seems to be operating it?

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Famed Memphis trivia expert Vance Lauderdale answers reader questions weekly here on his blog!

About This Blog

Ask Vance is the blog of Vance Lauderdale, the award-winning columnist of Memphis magazine and Inside Memphis Business. Vance is the author of three books: Ask Vance: The Best Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History and Trivia Expert (2003), as well as Ask Vance: More Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History Expert (2011) and Vance Lauderdale's Lost Memphis (2013). He is also the recipient of quite a few nice awards, the creator of several eye-catching wall calendars, and the only person we know with a vintage shock-treatment machine in his den. 

You can find him from time to time in the pages of the Memphis Flyer and MBQ, on WKNO television, and on Facebook. When he is not exploring the highways and byways of Memphis, he spends his time sleeping, napping, and dozing.

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