History of Ottawa Bowling Alleys
Kaple Bowling Alley
- ?? Kaple - 2 lanes
Bud McGrue Bowling Alley
- Bud McGrue - lanes unknown
Ottawa Recreation
- Victor Unterbrink - 4 lanes
Ottawa Lanes
- Andy Macke - 6 lanes
- Charles & Daniel Meyer - 6 lanes
Highland Lanes
- Charles & Daniel Meyer - 12 lanes
Ottawa Highland Lanes
- Jim Schroeder Family - 12 lanes
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Special Credit to: Betty Wannemacher, Larry Unterbrink, and Tom Gustwiller for photos and information.

Ottawa, Ohio's first Bowling Estableshment Kaple Bowling Alley - 1930's Click photo below to view larger
NOTE: With the powerful balls thrown today, along with lighter pins, those pin boys would be in mortal danger. There are no records on mortaility rates available for any time period. NOTE: The above picture is not the Ottawa location, but represents the time period. The first bowling alley in Ottawa was on Main St. 2nd building East of the courthouse. There were two lanes and gambling of all kinds. It was owned by the Kaple family. It was noted as a "rough" place to go in the early 1930's. Gambling, smoking, etc.
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We think the 2 lane bowling Alley was located in east part of the corner building. NOTE: There was a bowling alley called the "Bud McGrue Bowling Alley" located at 127 West Main St. No date available

Click photo below to view larger Location of Matag washer sales in the 1930's
In the early 1930's, Victor Unterbrink owned and operated a Maytag washer sales and repair in this building. It is located accross the street from the 2 lane bowling alley. He noticed many men frequenting the business daily.
OTTAWA RECREATION Bowling Alley 1939-1946
In 1939, after much research, he decided to install a new 4 lane bowling alley located on Taft Ave., in the front half of the Stuber building. The back half was used for parking and temporary quarters for the Utility Automotive Equipment Co., a builder of chassis for trucks. They were in the process of installing equipment for their operation. The first building on the corner of Main and Taft was a Clover Farm grocery store operated by Mr. Frank Kahle, next a town alley to the north, then the Ottawa Food Locker, then the building which Ottawa Recreation bowling alley was in, then The Martin Walker Gas station on the corner of 3rd St. and Taft Ave.
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The photo appears to be early 1940's, the exact date is not known.
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The Clover Farm building was to the left, of the alleyway and is no longer standing. The parking lot is to the right of the alleyway. The first building on the parking lot was the Ottawa Food Locker building then the Ottawa Recreation bowling alley building. The Walker Gas station is to the right, is still being used as storage. Ottawa Recreation bowling alley remained here until April 1st, 1946 when it was completly destroyed by fire. The only thing left standing, was a single water pipe, part of a chimney and a large upright safe. Part of the back half of the building was rented temporarily by a new manufacturer coming to town. They had installed a hanging furnace, which according to an acquaintance of Victor, who told him after the fire, that it was not operating properly and would flash fire when igniting. The exact cause of the fire was never determined.
Macke Bowling Alley - information and pictures coming soon
Former location of Macke and MAINWAY Bowling click photo to viewer larger

MAINWAY Bowling Alley- ????-February 1959 click photo to viewer larger

Highland Lanes 1959- click photo to viewer larger - coming soon
12 lane bowling center, with a bar/restaurant and billiards.
Ottawa Highland Lanes click photo to viewer larger
12 lane bowling center, with a bar/restaurant and billiards.

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