Best Hunt for Evidence of an Underground Bowling Alley (2011)
The Gold Spot
Oh, sure. Everyone's heard about the Gold Spot Bowling Alley. And over the summer, rumors about the long-shuttered underground space grew even louder. We couldn't help obsessing. Local photographer Dayvid LeMmon created a Facebook page for the abandoned spot, across Central from the Westward Ho, a few weeks ago. He checked in a few times, and since we'd heard a few locals got tours, we were all over him. But LeMmon readily admitted that while he was equally obsessed, he'd been equally unlucky. He hadn't been down to see that darn bowling alley, either.
The Gold Spot closed in about 1950, and the cellar and buildings above were sold to the city, which supposedly blocked off the tunnels from the Westward Ho.
Today, we're told, there isn't much left underground — just a few painted grooves in the floor where the old lanes used to be and a piece of a wall mural of a bowling pin. Above ground, the glass bricks in the sidewalk still illuminate the space where bowlers (and, decades later, late-night partiers, including DJ Ariel) used to hang.
We made a few visits to the Westward Ho, and our requests for a tour or even confirmation of the Gold Spot connection were rejected. On a hot, midday walk around the space, we noticed a gap in the tiles. So we returned with the founder of the location's Facebook page, lowered a camera into the hole, and captured what's left of our local mythology.
Just days before publication, an old friend unearthed an even older treasure: a brochure from the 1940s that mentioned Gold Spot. Mystery solved.
To see a panoramic photo of the underground bowling alley, visit www.phoenixnewtimes.com/bestof2011.
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