It’s a dream for a lot of people to purchase an old home and restore it back to the its original beauty and when one couple did just that, they found quite the discovery while renovating their new 100-year-old home.
Sue Hansen is one of the owners of that building, who talked to The Daily Gazette. They had purchased the building for the primary purpose of running her husband’s dental practice. It operated on the first floor and they were using much of the home for storage purposes.
While some remodeling was taking place, the contractor came up to Hansen and told her that they discovered some strange metal circles on the kitchen floor. That 2nd-floor kitchen seemed to have been the location of an old candlepin bowling alley.
When Hansen heard about the bowling alley that used to be in the old home, she was surprised. She said: “[The building] has been a lot of things through the years, but I never imagined a bowling alley and restaurant.”
Hansen looked into the subject further and found that the building was owned by a Ballston Spa businessman and entrepreneur by the name of Herbert B. Massey in the early 1900s. If you look into the villages directory from 1910, you can still find the “Masset Cafe and Restaurant” listed. The slogan for that establishment read: “Bowling Alleys for Ladies and Gentlemen.”
City record stated that Massey opened the café and bowling alley in 1909. They continue to live in the town until he passed away in 1917.
She then began following the paper trail of some of the owner’s dealings in the village, found in upstate New York. Some of the dealings were even somewhat questionable. “[Herbert B. Massey was] such a character,” Hansen said. “He was kind of on the edge of being illegal, but at the same time from what I’ve read he bordered on being a neat freak.”
It might seem strange to have a bowling alley on the 2nd floor of an old historic building, but it wasn’t all that strange in old New England. Candlepin bowling alleys were very popular before World War II and you can find remnants throughout the region. In fact, there was another small bowling alley located in the village of Ballston Spa only 2 blocks away from the historic building owned by Hansen.
You can learn more about the interesting find in the following video: