Bridesburg Bowling Pages
Dedicated to the 2 lane bowling Houses located in and around Bridesburg and Port Richmond.
Many current residents may not realize how big the sport of bowling still is in the Polish wards of Philadelphia, but I can attest that bowling is a big part of the local area entertainment. The competition at these houses is as tough as the lane conditions. These 2 lane bowling house have the original wooden lanes that were bowled on by our fathers and grandfathers. Some of these lanes are very old. Harmonia is celebrating their 80th year this year. The hoses I am going to include here are as follows; Harmonia, Post 396 (currently not being used), Polonia, Polish American, 45th Club (now a church), Point-no-Point, and Pilsudski. I have bowled at all except Pilsudski which I will bowl at in the round house tournament this year. The round house is some of the most fun I have bowling. This tournament pairs up teams from each club to bowl against each other. You bowl one match home and one match away at each club. The 2 teams with the best record then compete for the championship. My first tour of this was last year when my wife's team won the championship at Harmonia. I traveled with her team and also substituted at a couple matches. I was unfortunately unable to make the match at Pilsudski because we were on vacation. This year however I was a part of the Polonia Championship team. I plan on making it this year and taking some pictures and learning a little about the history.
Unlike the big houses that have synthetic lanes and state of the art systems for applying the conditioner, (Lane Oil) these 2 lane houses offer some of the toughest bowling conditions I have ever faced. We have had many good bowlers come to these lanes either as a league bowler or as a sub. Many do not return. We have had bowlers averaging over 200 on outside houses unable to break a 170 average after 30 weeks of bowling. Why are these lanes so tough?? Well I can only offer my opinions
The first factor is the fact that these are real wood. Unlike the synthetic surfaces which are not porous wood tends to absorb the oil. Also the condition of the heads play a factor. There are a lot of chips and crevices between the boards at the heads. At these spots the oil is sucked down into the lane. Even with proper screening and coating these remain. The break down on the lanes can occur very fast at times. Factor in the fact that most of these lanes are hand oiled using old fashion techniques leave a lot of inconsistencies on the bowling surface. The PA I'm told applies their oil with a mop. The Harmonia which is where I manage uses a bug sprayer. The Polonia and Point are using machines to apply the conditioner.
The second problem is the heating and cooling systems or lack there of them that cause some other factors. The Polonia does not have very good air conditioning at the alleys so when it get warn and humid, large fans are plugged in and blown at the bowlers. This air flow continues down the surface of the lane adding to some evaporation. At the Harmonia there is a long heating element that runs along the wall on alley 2. This heater creates a vortex of air around lane 2 making it break down 3-5 times faster than alley 1. We do not have this problem with summer bowling. Also the smoke-eater blows directly down alley 1 (Yes you can still smoke at all these Private Clubs). These two factors contribute to the breakdown of oil on the alleys at Harmonia. I have not bowled at Point long enough to give an opinion but i did notice a dish in the lane near the head of ally 2 which I believe the machine can not properly oil or drag. The one thing I do remember is the oil pattern was very shallow. I was having problems keeping my ball on the right side of the pocket and hitting a 10 pin was nearly impossible with the equipment I brought. Having seen many of these clubs last year I now know what equipment to bring to each match for consistent scoring. Anyway thats my opinion and lets get to the pictures and history of each lane. Just click on Buddy for the list of houses.
Click here or on Buddy for the list of Houses