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Roger McNeill

I can't believe you are calling Key Lanes a victim of the nearly 50 year old Coliseum Blvd????????

Key Lanes survived Coliseum Blvd. It survived the re-routing of US Highways off of Goshen Road. It survived the subsequent ignoring of the condition of Goshen Road by the City of Fort Wayne that allowed it to become the focal point of potholes in the City for decades. It even survived the construction of a newer, flashier competitor called Pro Bowl West just a half mile down the road.

What it didn't survive was Dr. Crawford and the smoking ordinance. Maybe the City should buy it and make it a monument to nanny Government.

John Wonderly

Obviously you moderated Roger's comment, Mitch. Now, I would be very interested in a response.

Ed. note: If by "moderated" you meant "edited" or "altered", I did not. If you simply meant that I saw it before it was posted, that is, of course, obvious.

I didn't intend in the original post to suggest that the construction of Coliseum Boulevard was a direct cause of the Key Lanes closure. As Roger's comment correctly notes, the "circumurban" has been here decades. (It was completed in the early '60's).

However, the opening of an alternate highway that draws traffic that had previously been routed over a two-lane road changes the mix of businesses on the old route. It also contracts the universe or pool of investors who would purchase the real estate in the future. So, from that standpoint, the opening of Coliseum Boulevard has meant that the pool of investors - and consequently the purchase price that could be realized - for a business serving consumers is not what it would have been.

Goshen Road is still valuable for businesses who need ready access to the interstate system and so, the value of Goshen Road property for business-to-business is not contracting.

So, the advent of Coliseum Boulevard has meant a long winding down for plenty of properties.

As to Roger's second point about the effect of smoking ban on bowling operators - I think it is true that the ban made the Key Lanes much less attractive as an entertainment venue for smokers. The operator did not have a choice as to whether the bowling alley would cater to non-smokers or smokers.

If Indiana adopts a uniform, statewide, policy on workplace or public smoking, it may be one which does not ban smoking in places such as fraternal clubs or licensed venues serving only those age 21 and over.

If such a statute wholly preempts local codes, it may be a very ironic result.

Tim Zumbaugh

I rolled my first ball at Key Lanes as a kid in the early 60's. My friends and I could walk there from our homes, only a couple miles.

About 5 years ago I returned there after 40+ years with a group of friends from high school on a "men's night out". We had dinner at the nearby Venice (which hasn't changed one bit), then headed over to bowl. All I remember was the thick cigarette smoke (you could barely see the pins) and old guys wearing Kramer-like bowling shirts in the last stages of emphysema.

Mike Hunsche

Key Lanes was dead Looooooooong before the smoking ordinance. The only businesses to die because of that were ones that weren't fiscally sound enough to survive in the first place, kinda like the Cherry Masters argument. If you base your business off illegal gambling and cigarette's that's not exactly a sound practice.

League's are the key to any bowling alley that isn't named Crazy Pins. Key Lanes desperately needed a face lift 15 years ago, let alone 5. The only businesses from I-69 to 5 Points that looks like they've had any money spent on them this decade is the Speedway (which may be more then 10 years old now) and the Showgirl sign. Everything else looks like it's been left to die, and most have. Anyone been in the Venice lately to count how many buckets are on the floor to collect the water from the leaks?

I grew up bowling at Key, but I can't say I'll miss it at all. We stopped bowling there probably 20 years ago because Westwood was better (or closer, not sure, I was young). The best thing that could happen is for someone to bulldoze that entire area and star over.

Robert Pence

Folks older than I said "circumburban."

They were the same ones who called Phelps Dodge "Philip Dodge" or "Philips Dodge," and Indiana Wire Die "Indiana Wire and Die."

Ed. note: And subscribed to the News and Sentinel.

john b. kalb

And "Generous Electric". Some us still subscribe to the "News and Sentinel".
About Key Lanes - I remember my dad & I bowling there in the late 1950's on a Sunday PM open bowling session - It was the most-up-to-date alley in town and was probably one of the first with automatic pinsetting equipment.

John Wonderly

Mike H.-Cigarettes aren't illegal-and never will be. The same politicians playing holier-than-thou about tobacco couldn't survive without its tax revenue.

Karen Goldner

I was in an every-other-week league there many years ago. It was fun, although the best I ever bowled was to just break 150.

At the same time, my grandmother was wheelchair-bound in a nursing home and AVERAGED 150 bowling with her non-dominant side.

Hard to say where that bowling gene went, but it skipped me.

Mark Andrews

Wow there is a bowling gene!! I too am glad it skipped both of us:)


I literally grew up at Key Lanes. Worked there from when I was wee high. Ran the desk, snack bar, pinsetters, picked up beer bottles, emptied ashtrays, cleaned toilets. See, my Dad was the manager (Karen and John above, was there a bowling "gene"?). Mom worked there also, brother also. It was very much a family run operation until it was sold, in the late 70s, a sale that was initiated first for health reasons (those thick clouds of smoke mentioned above affected pop's heart and definitely increased my asthma). The people that worked there were all best friends and played and worked together. I had alot of friends from there, both fellow employees and on the saturday morning league. Moonlite Bowling, anyone?

Altogether, I remember it as a very happy place. I think the customers felt that too.

Do not know what happened after it sold, but it definitely wasn't the same and deteriorated from the sale onward. Admittedly, it is a very tired facility in a very tired location.

Gene Meyers

I had meany wonderful times at Key Lanes I Gained a lot of good friends,and had many super employees,and thanks to a great number of customers, as I was the manager there until 1978 Gene Meyers

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