Capital Region Scrapbook: State tourney brought women bowlers to town in ’58

Women began rolling into Schenectady during the middle of March in 1958 — and then began rolling in
Joan Guile, 21, left, and Gerry Berger, 25, of New Berlin prepare to rock the maples at Towne Bowling Academy in Rotterdam in the 1958 New York State Women’s Bowling Association Tournament.
Joan Guile, 21, left, and Gerry Berger, 25, of New Berlin prepare to rock the maples at Towne Bowling Academy in Rotterdam in the 1958 New York State Women’s Bowling Association Tournament.

Women began rolling into Schenectady during the middle of March in 1958 — and then began rolling in Schenectady.

The 25th annual New York State Women’s Bowling Association Tournament was under way on local alleys. About 1,000 women from 2,000 teams were touring Schenectady’s stores and streets.

The visit was an excellent adventure for Gerry Berger, 25, and Joan Guile, 21, both of New Berlin in Chenango County. Many bowlers hit town on Friday, March 21, and some checked into the Hotel Schenectady on Broadway. Following their matches, Gerry and Joan shopped and dined in city locations, with a writer and photographer from the Schenectady Gazette along for company.

The city wanted to impress ladies of the lanes during the 11-week tournament (weekend action), and so merchants put welcome signs in their windows. On Friday, March 28, the Hotel Schenectady and Hotel Van Curler conducted open houses. Members of special committees gave tours, helped with hotel reservations and arranged dining accommodations.

Schenectady was striving for favorable reviews; tournament participants and their friends were expected to spend about $750,000 by the time competitions ended in mid-May.

Gazette reporter Bob Barber wrote bowling was picking up more and more fans.

“Saturday afternoon television, traditionally sports, is becoming more and more aware of bowling, and Don Carter has become as well known in bowling circles as Ted Williams in baseball circles,” he said.

Barber also noticed the women’s colorful bowling uniforms: “A visit to the lanes during the matches is like seeing a pageant on color film, and the noise of the bowling and the enthusiasm of the bowlers infects even the most casual observer,” he wrote.

Gerry and Joan seemed happy to be shopping for gifts, ordering steak for dinner and just walking around downtown.

“I’m having a perfectly wonderful visit to your city,” said Gerry.

“And the bowling alleys here are simply marvelous,” added Joan.

Categories: Life and Arts

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