Owner Jim Haynes, 77, a former bowling supply salesman, bought the bowling alley in 1978.
“I see people all the time out there who take pictures of the sign and they do come in and talk,” Haynes said as a group of older adults bowled on a recent weekday morning.
In July, three people in their 30s showed up from Finland. “They mentioned that this was on the list of things to do if you came to the United States. I was very flattered.”
It’s a more sedate and enjoyable place, but the 66 Bowl went through a nasty labor dispute when it was being built, and someone tried to burn it down later that same year. And 66 Bowl, for a few years, was open 24 hours a day for kegglers who wanted to work on their games. The alley has survived several robberies and another fire in 2005.
One of the 66 Bowl’s customers is trying to get the facility designated as a city historic landmark. Let’s hope she succeeds.
Here’s a video from this year’s Okie Twist-Off, a punk-rockabilly music festival and car show that the 66 Bowl hosted. The clip shows off the old facility pretty well, including its neon sign: