Artifact of the Month
Artifact of the Month: October 2023

Bowling: That's How We Roll!

Whether for entertainment or competition, there's nothing like grabbing a bowling ball and hitting the lanes. Bowling is one of Ketchikan's most beloved pastimes even though the last bowling alley closed in 2006. Bowling was a great equalizer, a sport that both men and women, young and old, and varying fitness levels could enjoy. At the sport's height of popularity in the 1960s, a weekly column ran in the newspaper with updates on teams and scores.

Many adults who grew up in Ketchikan may remember the Biliken Bowl located on Stedman Street or the 16-lane alley at the Ketchikan Entertainment Center located by the Plaza Mall. Even longtime Ketchikan residents may be surprised to learn the earliest known reference to bowling in town dates to 1902. P.F. Gilmore advertised bowling at The Emerald saloon on Front Street complete with prizes for top scores. Within the next 20 years, several short-lived recreation spots featuring some version of bowling lanes dotted the downtown. After World War II, bowling's popularity exploded across the country. The Thunderbird bowling alley opened in 1946 in the old Red Men's lodge, followed by an alley at the Elks Club in 1949, and the Biliken Bowl in 1959.

This month's featured artifacts are a vinyl bowling bag and 12-pound bowling ball belonging to Bernard Ellis Lundin. In addition to being a league bowler, Lundin was a fisherman and long-time boson with the Alaska Marine Highway System.

Object ID #: KM 2005.2.51.1 & KM 2005.2.51.2
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Bowling ball bag and ballBowling ball bag and ball