Route 66 in the News
66 Bowl to Close
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - After 51 years of bowling along historic Route 66, the balls will stop rolling and the pins will stop falling this summer. Spices of India will open a grocery store in the building now housing the landmark 66 Bowl, marked by the neon sign of a giant pin and bowling ball at 3810 NW 39 Expressway.
A sale contract that will close the bowling alley Sept. 3 was signed by both parties Wednesday, said Realtor Monty Stricker, whose firm, J.R. Fulton & Associates, negotiated the deal.
Stricker said he spent several months negotiating a deal that will move Spices of India from its location at 3647 NW 39.
Jim Haynes, who owns 66 Bowl and works there with family members, initially wanted to sell the business to another bowling alley, Stricker said.
"It was a tough deal, emotionally, because it is a family business," he said.
Haynes declined comment.
When it closes, the oldest operating bowling alley in Oklahoma City will be Holiday Lanes, 44 SE 44th, which opened in 1959 a few months after 66 Bowl opened.
There are 16 bowling alleys in the Oklahoma City area.
"Bowling is not on the decline," said Ron MacDonald, director of the Oklahoma City Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum. "There are still people who bowl and bowl in leagues. The enthusiasm and desire to bowl is still there."
In 1995, 66 Bowl started hosting live music during rock and bowl Saturday nights.
Two events planned this summer are still scheduled to take place, a June 19 fundraiser for drummer Derek Dugger, who has brain cancer, and the Okie Twist-Off car show Aug. 6-7.
The bowling alley is a popular attraction along what was once the nation's main east-west route, said Mike Hickey, president of Oklahoma Route 66 Association.
"This is just economics," Hickey said. "We've seen this happen before, regrettably, like motels, not only in Oklahoma but nationwide, that have been lost. Cities evolve and changes happen."
~Robert Medley, The Oklahoman