Eliot Jubelirer '71

Several years ago when I was visiting the campus with my son to show him glories of attending the university, we visited the lower floor of the Memorial Union. I recalled that there were bowling alleys in the lower level, but all we found on our trip were some pool tables and no sign of bowling. Did I imagine the alleys or were they once there and are now gone (I have seen the new alleys in the new Union South). Thanks, Abe.


It’s not your imagination. Those who visited or attended UW-Madison in the 1950s, may notice something missing when stopping by Memorial Union today: a bowling alley. In 1939, eight bowling lanes were included in the Union Theater addition to the building, and students could be found working as pin spotters in the southwest corner of the lower level of the theater.

The small bowling alley started using automatic pin spotters instead of students during the late ‘50s. As a result, the number of lanes was reduced from eight to six because the new technology required more space. However, six lanes proved insufficient for the UW-Madison bowling league, and the space closed in 1970.

When Union South opened the same year, it included eight new bowling lanes. Today, you can still bowl at the newly renovated Union South. The UW-Madison bowling team also uses the space every Monday night at 9:00 p.m.