Holler House - Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Located in the Lincoln Village neighborhood of Milwaukee, Holler House is the oldest sanctioned bowling alley in the United States. It was first opened in 1908 by “Iron Mike” Skowronski as Skowronski’s then passed on to his son Gene and wife Marcy and renamed Gene and Marcy’s. It finally gained the name Holler House in the 1970s (because of all the noise emanating from within) and is now run by Marcy Skowronski. She is candid, hilarious and charming and regaled us with stories of local baseball celebrities getting hammered at the bar and how the interior became decorated with bras. When she was younger, she said her friends would have a few drinks and take their clothes off.

The bowling alley has only two lanes and instead of traditional pin setters, relies on pin boys who manually reset the pins. We caught Marcy before a Milwaukee Brewers game and said she’ll sometimes lock the doors and watch it by herself in the bar - because then she can yell at the TV with impunity. 

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Castle Lanes - Racine, Wisconsin

Bowladrome - Grinnell, Iowa

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Strike and Spare Lanes- Lexington, Nebraska


Strike and Spare Lanes - Lexington, Nebraska

The epitome of a wholesome, modest, Midwestern town is conveniently located across the street from the local high school. You can easily summon visions of generations of Lexington folks bowling in an alley that hasn’t changed much in the past 36 years. Strike and Spare Lanes depends not only on high schoolers dropping in on a Friday night, but also on league bowling. The scoring system is from 1984, the interior doesn’t look to have changed since then, but it’s all you need to have a cold beer and play a few games. It’s currently for sale, but according to owner Brad Larsen, there isn’t much interest from the corporate beasts. It seems to be fine with Brad; he’d probably miss it if he sold the place anyway.

Lexington is the kind of town people like to refer to as Main Street and wear the title as a badge of honor. Most people don’t concern themselves with IPOs or IPAs, and they’d just as soon keep it that way. The Walmart is the town’s social hub and the Tyson chicken plant is the engine that drives the city. While Lexington was hit hard by the recession, the Strike and Spare survived while many alleys across the country did not. Jobs are slowly coming back and Brad is hoping the bowlers as well.