Cascade Recreation

Cascade Recreation-a

3825 W. Madison St.


7 Responses to “Cascade Recreation”

  1. rich howard Says:

    What great memories the photo of Cascade brings back to me. I was a 12-year-old pinboy there in 1944. Worked a double alley for two bowling leagues every night, earing 10-cents a line (plus tips). Once set pins for a then well-known champion, Buddy Bomar. The first floor manager was a dapper little man with red hair named Red Sulke. There were 32 alleys, sixteen on each
    floor. Ralph Capone frequented the premises. Across the street was the Alex
    Theater, next door to that was a hamburger joint where, between leagues, I could get a big juicy, greasy burger, milk, and a slice of pie for two bits. The war was still on, so there was a blackout all up and down Madison Street. At the corner of Madison and Hamlin there was abarbecue joint called Pickaninny’s. My dad was in the Atlanta pen and my mother was on drugs
    (paregoric, which could be purchased over the counter in small bottles). I was living in a foster home with three other kids at 3814 W. Washington, just two blocks away. We could stay out until midnight and nearly everyone did, but I was the only one who worked and made money. The Midwest Hotel was on the opposite corner of Madison and Hamlin. The Midwest Athletic Club Gym occupied the second floor of the hotel. I hung around there after school and sometimes could run errands for the fighters who trained there.
    I saw Joe Louis, Tony Zale, Sugar Ray Robinson, Bob Satterfield, lots of others. In spite of my circumstances, I loved Chicago — and I especially loved Cascade Bowling Alley!

    • J.R. Schmidt Says:

      Thanks for your story. I grew up later, on the Northwest Side. I only set pins for a little while, and only bowled at Cascade once. That was in high school, in the early ’60s. We bowled against St. Philip High, and Cascade was their home house. It was still beautiful then.

      The picture is from 1975. By then the neighborhood was going downhill, and so was Cascade.

      BTW, I also write a Chicago History blog 4 days a week on ChicagoNow. Go to the Archive at:

      Then scroll down to “Chicago at War (12-7-1941)”
      That should bring back more memories.

  2. Felicia Says:

    This makes me want to cry! This was my house I grew up at Cascade in the 80’s and became a bowler for life! . I wish our children could experience alleys like this one. It was beautiful and Mattie, our mother coach was one of a kind!

  3. Larry Says:

    I remember Cascade bowling alley. I used to play the videos games while my dad bowled in the leagues in the late 70s.

  4. Mike Sweers Says:

    My friends and I frequently went to the Cascade Bowl in the early sixties (1960 to 1962). Right across the street was the Midwest Hotel with a small bowling alley in the basement, also with pin-setters. Also cork bowling balls. The Madison Crawford area was a more inviting place then. As Rich Howard says above, Buddy Bomar had a bowling store just West of Cascade and we would most times stop in to see what was available for the casual bowler.

    The Alex Theatre was also a frequent place to go see some movies. I remember it cost just twenty five cents for admission then. What a time!

  5. K.G. Edwards Says:

    I use to bowl there in the early 80’s. It had an upstairs but it was closed off by then. Spent a lot of time in arcade room as well playing Centipede. To bad they tore it down. Now I believe an Aldi stands in it place.

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