Burned down memories
From the Palm Beach Post-
Authorities on Thursday night charged three juveniles with setting fire to an abandoned Lantana bowling alley, causing more than $1 million in damage to the building.There is just one drive-in left in Palm Beach County.(In nearby Lake Worth) I've been to a drive-in exactly once in my adult life.
The juveniles confessed to the Wednesday night fire, which took about 70 firefighters more than three hours to get under control, said Capt. Don DeLucia, Palm Beach Fire-Rescue spokesman.
For decades, Lantana Lanes was a center of social life in the town, inspiring happy memories of teenagers and families spending their leisure time amid strikes, splits and spares.
Former owners sold the bowling machinery and hardwood floors years ago. Some bowling balls and pins remained, attracting thieves as recently as last weekend. The windows were boarded, and the roof had holes, which one owner blames on vagrants.
"It's not as though the building had any value," said former Manalapan Town Commissioner Tony Mauro, a member of a partnership that paid $1.5 million two years ago for the site west of the Florida East Coast Railway tracks, near the old post office and The National Enquirer's former headquarters. "The building is one that we felt was going to be torn down sometime soon."
But people who remember its heyday have fonder memories, including family outings and birthdays celebrated amid the crash of pins.
"It was just a wonderful place, a lot of camaraderie," said Peggy Wink, who came to the area as a mother in the 1950s. "It was a real big thing in Lantana for decades."
In the 1980s, the Lantana Lanes' Whistle Stop Lounge was a favorite hangout for Enquirer employees. Bowling tournaments continued as late as 2000.
Mayor Dave Stewart, who used to bowl there as a youngster, notes that Lake Worth and West Palm Beach also have lost the homespun bowling alleys that once lay beside Dixie Highway. Competition from larger suburban bowling complexes didn't help.
"It was a different kind of lifestyle 30 or 40 years ago," Stewart said. "You had your drive-in theaters, and you had your bowling alleys. "
TFM has been a resident of Lantana since 1989. My father used to bowl at this alley. He was an avid bowler, taking part usually in two leagues a week.
This news comes on the same day as my late parent's wedding anniversary. They tied the knot 47 years ago today.
Linked to- Bright & Early, Jo,