Bowlmor Lanes in Mattapoisett, MA has been on my list of places to photograph ever since my friend, Fran Coughlin told me about it almost four years ago. It sounded like it was right in my wheelhouse — a vintage bowling alley, still in operation with no modern amenities. No laser light show on the lanes, and no electronic scoring. You have to actually do math to keep score at Bowlmor.
So why did it take four years to get to it, you ask? Well, Bowlmor keeps unpredictable hours. They may or may not be open when they say they will. They will probably open earlier on a Saturday if it is raining, but may not open at all if it is a nice day. So on my visits to the area, my schedule conflicted with Bowlmor’s.
Not so this weekend when I paid Fran and his family a visit. We stopped by Bowlmor early in the afternoon and checked their hand-written daily posted sign with their hours: “Saturday, 6:00pm – 9:00pm.” The sign also said they might open at 1:00 if it is raining. It wasn’t, so we went back at 6:30 to bowl a string.
It was well worth the four year wait. It was clear that the establishment had undergone no major renovations since it opened during the Truman (or maybe Eisenhower) Administration.
For an hour or so, Fran, his wife Katie, daughter Rylie (see them below) and I competed in the sweltering heat (no air conditioning). I’m not sure who won (probably Rylie), because I was not really paying attention. While I waited my turn to bowl, I was busy photographing the place.
Here are a couple of the shots.