Imperial Lanes: Strikes Out!


Yes! You read that correctly Imperial Lanes mid-century bowling alley is gone! The building is being bulldozed as I type away. Personally, I hate to see the mid-century beaut go in such a destructive way for a Planet Fitness.It’ll be cool to keep the exterior of the building.. Planet Fitness but no gentrification strikes again.

I read stories about the bowling alley on a Facebook page called “The Summer ave.Gang”. People were reminiscing the good times, discussing different bowling teams  and first time bowlers since childhood. The group also shared photos and memories of Imperial Lanes during it’s prime.

“Hotdogs, Fries & Med. Drink $3.25”

“Please pay for bowling before returning rental shoes”

Imperial Lanes was the highlight of Summer ave. a bowlers dream. I talk to one bowler about her time at Imperial Lanes:



Linda Brooks

“I sure will miss the Imperial Lanes. So sad it closed up. Learned to bowl there and had many dates and double dating there. And of course midwife bowling. I still have my Black Beauty bowling ball and the bag I got when I was in 4th or 5th grade. Went there after school from Graham wood to learn how to bowl. I think Linda Novarese dad kept score. I know he wrote a lot of zeros for my score, he called it a big fat goose egg score !! I played on a few leagues later and became a pretty good bowler !!”-Linda Brooks

Don’t fret! Walk down memory lane on Imperial Bowling lanes at Java Cabana. I stopped by Java to check out the lanes and I talk with Robert that works there.

“The lanes been here for 3 years now. 3 1/2 wide and 1 1/2 inches thick  lanes weighs about 200-300 pounds. Imagine how heavy that was, it took us 2 days to nail the lanes to the floor. Mary got the idea to get the lanes at Memphis Flyer “Best of Memphis Party” which  was held at Imperial Lanes. When we got there the lanes was not in sight, it was covered with wood nailed into the lanes. We had to take the nails out the wood & lift it off the shiny bowling lanes. People came up from Georgia and Alabama to get a piece of Imperial Lanes” – Robert, Java Cabana


I had to take a picture in my Tatyana bowling dress and my vintage bowling bag. I’m standing on Imperial Lanes waiting on my bagel and Mystery Train Mocha at Java Cabana.

Oh! I forgot to mention, I stopped by Imperial Lanes in November. I was heading to work and I saw people outside and the doors were open. I pressed my luck and asked can I go inside to take photos but I couldn’t so the owner gave me a red bowling pin!! Yaay! I have a piece of Imperial Lanes all to myself!!


Share your stories of Imperial Lanes in the comments!






2 thoughts on “Imperial Lanes: Strikes Out!

  1. Shannon Jones says:

    I don’t remember much about Imperial Lanes except the outside of it. However, the woman who is 4th from the left in the picture above is my grandmother, Alberta Boartfield. They have her misidentified in the original caption.


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