Central Bowling Lanes shared the top floor of the Martin Block with the Sons of Italy Lodge; two floors above the C. H. Cutting Company store on the corner of Main and State Street. The owner and proprietor was Clyde Lentine who had purchased the business from Alphonse Thibert in the middle decade of the last century.
Clyde’s lanes were strictly for candlepins--the indoor sport so popular in North Adams before and after World War II. His lanes consisted of eight alleys of solid maple boards each an inch thick and three inches wide. Clyde charged his patrons 25 cents a game and he paid his pin boys a nickel a game. Later he installed automatic pinsetters but had to raise the price for bowling due to the royalties on the machine. Bowlers then paid a dollar for three games.
Central Bowling Lanes was the first bowling establishment in town to use maple pins with plastic bottoms. These pins did away with a grinding process that produced “shortpins” that were despised by bowlers when they produced weird “breaks” and poor scores.
Clyde opened his lanes at six o’clock on week nights and afternoons on weekends. There was junior league bowling on Saturday mornings; double leagues on Mondays and Tuesdays; one of them for women only. He had a Church League in which each bowler must be a church member. March of Dimes events were held each year with donated prizes by merchants; bicycles and woolen cloth donated by the Strong-Hewitt company. During the March of Dimes events, bowlers who had less than six pins in a frame had to put a dime in the “kitty”.
When it was announced that the Martin Block would be part of the urban renewal demolition, Clyde Lentine tried to sell the maple lanes, but it was found to be too expensive to move them from the building. When the building went down, so did the lanes themselves.
Adapted from a story for the North Adams Historical Society.