About the bowl arena & ten pin lounge
A Grand Opening of The Bowl Arena was held on September 20, 1959, which boasted of 16 "fabulous Brunswick Automatic Lanes", tele -scores for overhead scoring and subway ball returns. At this time bowling was very popular and the Hazleton Area could count over 70 lanes at various houses throughout the area. Bowl Arena brought the latest technology to the area. Included in the Grand Opening was a modern cocktail lounge built in front of the bowling area known as Wally's that became noted for having a nice atmosphere and delicious lobster. In 1971 Wally's lounge was replaced with a billiards room with 6 regulation pool tables.
The original incorporators of Bowl Arena were James Malatack, Pasquo Pecora, and Michael A. Pecora. In 1963 shares held by James Malatack and Wally Skernolis were purchased by the three Pecora brothers Pasquo, Salvador, and Michael. The operation of the bowling center has been continued by some part of the Pecora family since that time. In 1984 Salvador Pecora, Amelia Pecora, and Michael A. Pecora retired from active service in the business, and Michael S. Pecora was elected to assume the responsibilities of the corporation.
In the early days of Bowl Arena, league bowling was very popular and many industries and organizations sponsored leagues and teams. Many times there were waiting lists for people to get into a league. Tournaments were popular and many of our bowlers traveled to participate in national and state tournaments. In 1962 a State Tournament was held in Hazleton with the Team Events being bowled at Bowl Arena and the Minor Events bowled at Auto-Bowl Lanes on Vine Street. Professional Bowling became popular, and they gained a large TV audience throughout the nation. Who can forget the "Make That Spare" program?
In 1994 Bill & Miriam Dagostin, Bob & Pat Hall, Michael C. Pecora, and Jame F. Pecora, the family of Michael A. Pecora, bought the shares held by their cousins and took over the operation of the Bowl Arena. It was at this time major renovations were planned.Kevin Mills, a nationally known architect, was hired to plan and draw blueprints for the renovations. Once the blueprints were finalized, sledgehammers and wheelbarrows were used to take out walls and rip out furniture. This was a period of lots of dust and dirt, and we appreciated the patience of our Bowlers. Berger Construction of Freeland was hired to complete the renovations.
The new trend for bowling centers has been for recreation along with competitive league Bowling. The goal was to accommodate both. Automatic scoring, new ball returns, synthetic lanes, and new seating arrangements greatly enhanced bowling. Graphics, ball speed, and games that can be programmed into the new system added to the fun and excitement of bowling. Individual scores and team standings are also computerized and can be done quickly at the end of the competition. Along with enhancing the bowling area, a snack bar, an arcade, new bathroom facilities, and a party room were added. Everything became new from the masking units in front of the machines to the front doors.
In 1999 the pool tables were removed to make way for the Ten Pin Lounge. The new lounge features a U-shaped bar, large screen TV, computer games, and online music. The menu features many tasty snacks and food items and a wide variety of drinks, and the atmosphere is friendly and pleasant. Patti Middleton is the Ten Pin Lounge and snack bar manager.
With the automatic bumpers and ball ramps, bowling is an activity that can be enjoyed by young children and handicapped individuals. The new light and sound system have made "Rock & Bowl" popular with teenagers and young adults. The Arcade and Milkhouse Creamery make The Bowl Arena an ideal place for birthday parties.
Once again Bowl Arena has brought the latest Bowling Center technology to the Hazleton Area to accommodate the competitive sport of bowling and to meet the demands of the recreational of the open bowler with the newest up-to-date technology.