KANAUGA — Local history is literally “on a roll” in Kanagua.
People from across the region have been bowling at Skyline Lanes for years but not many know how, or where, the bowling alley got its start.
The original bowling alley sat atop a hill on Ohio 160, which earned the name Skyline for its view of town. According to Mary Lou Morrison, daughter of the late Dr. Warehime who owned the alley for many years, this original building burned down some time around 1960. This fire led Raymond Barr to build the current building north of town on Ohio 7 in 1963. Barr enlisted Warehime as a partner in the early years to help with the new Skyline Lanes.
“I started working there in 1973 after college. I helped keep the books and did all kinds of things,” Morrison recalls. “After my father passed in 1989 I took ownership and ran the alley until it was sold in 2013.”
The alley was almost lost on several occasions when a national chain of bowling alleys attempted to buy from Morrison.
Morrison explains: “It was important that we keep the bowling alley local. There is less and less for families to do in Gallipolis, and it was important to us to keep it here.”
The automated machines and scorers were initially installed in the mid 1980’s, with a new synthetic floor put down in 2003.
In its heyday, Skyline would have 700-800 league bowlers at a time. More recently, according to league secretaries and leaguesecretary.com, a site used to manage team rosters and scoring, Skyline lanes had 74 different teams, in eight separate leagues, consisting of over 350 different bowlers in the 2016 winter season.
“I really enjoy bowling for the fellowship and friendly competition,” Shaun Baldwin, a bowler at Skyline since 2005, said.
Baldwin bowls twice a week in leagues.
“I believe in supporting your hometown people, and I really love to bowl,” Doug Langhorn, who has been bowling in the church league for four years, said. “It’s a good fit.”