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North Side Recreation Center (NSRC) was the idea of Father John Wilson C.P.P.S. In 1931, his first assignment as assistant pastor at Precious Blood was to find a way for the newly built school to pay for itself. With a strong German influence, and their tradition of kegling, bowling was a perfect choice to get people involved.

Father Wilson heard about four partially burnt lanes in Huntington, through Adolph Roethle. Borrowing a lumber truck, he picked them up. He turned them over, sanded them and placed them in a large open room in the school basement. In addition to the lanes, he found semi-automatic pinsetters and a bar. Soon afterwards, he found another two lanes as well as machines. It was then that North Side Recreation Center was established.

1970 saw a rebirth for NSRC. Through the foresight and generosity of Max Jaehn, John Kohrman, Harry Kohrman, Tom Kohrman, Jim Furge, Dick Wyatt and many, many others, soon the old machines and pin boys were replaced by new machines and automatic pin sitters. The six machines were purchased for $2000 each from Martin wrecking who was in the process of tearing down the former Scott’s Lanes downtown.

Some things have remained the same. In addition to the bar that is still in use, there is a blackboard for posting scores, score tables with paper and pencil, wooden ball racks, above ground ball returns and natural wood bench seats to surround one in history.

The back room, where neighborhood residents would come to play cards and visit during the Depression, is now the Max Jaehn Room. It is used for meetings and is included in the price for renting the lanes. They are available for rental on Saturday and Sunday afternoons at $75 an hour.

There is a long history of league bowling and tournament play at NSRC. Many bowlers consider bowling here the toughest shot in town. Eddie Kraft, one of the best bowlers in Indiana, was a familiar face here in the early years. Bill Doehrman, another famous local bowler, bowled his last competitive season here. Many city and state champions have been bowlers at NSRC. The lanes have several perfect scores of 300. Three or four occurred in the 1930s and 40s. Park Hedges rolled one in the 1950s and most recently it was Rick Sarrazin in 1999 and Andy Furge in 2002.

Several annual tournaments have been held throughout the years. One of the first tournaments was a doubles tournament held every Saturday during the season in the 1930s and 40s. Everett Scott Jr., whose father played for the Yankees, would bring a group of bowlers from Chicago whenever the Yankees were in town playing the White Sox. Those Saturdays saw some high-score bowling.

The Beiswanger Open has seen many years here. In May the first Olde Time Open was held to benefit the new school windows.

Many parishioners will recognize familiar family names from yearbook standings…Wyatt, McMahon, Christman, Hoppe, Buckmaster, Ackerman, Glasper, Freistoffer, Sarrazin, Noll, Till, Uecker, Hilker, Henry, Freiburger…These are just a small sampling of bowlers from leagues such as North Side Majors, North Side Victory League, Pirate Athletic Club, Catholic Order of Foeresters, Merchants, International Harvester Engineering Fun League, Friday Nite Pin Downers and Second Time Around.

The Knights of Columbus League bowled here several years in the 1940s and 50s. Monsignors Hession and Faber were among the bowlers as well as our own Fathers Froelich and Ranly. Father Ranly averaged 177 and led the league with a high game of 256 and a high series of 611 in 1952.

In the 1981-82 season, the 62nd Annual City Tournament Actual Division was won by the Northside Recreation 50th Anniversary Team with a score of 3182.

Now, the Numb Skulls have continued this tradition by capturing the team title for the 87th City Tournament held at Village Bowl in Quimby Village.

The bowling lanes are still fulfilling their original purpose of supporting the school in many ways. The lanes are managed and run by an all-volunteer group allowing the profits to go to the school. School children are taught the sport of bowling every spring with the support of parents and a certified coach. One other benefit, although not as tangible, is the pride many feel at saying “We’re the school with the bowling alley in the basement.”

The Waynedale News Staff

Jimmy Todoran

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