Bud Schaibly Bowl (Northtown Recreation)

Bud Schaibly Bowl

2519 W. Devon Ave.


44 Responses to “Bud Schaibly Bowl (Northtown Recreation)”

  1. Bill Whyte Says:

    couldn’t help but notice that the “BOWL” portion of the sign is shaped like a candlepin… being from New England, I have to ask – were there any candlepin alleys in the Bud Schiably Bowl? Thanks,
    – Bill

    • J.R. Schmidt Says:

      Bill– I bowled at Schaibly’s in the North End Traveling League, 1970-77. Never saw any candlepins there. Only Chicago house I saw them in was Congress Arcade (aka Mill Bowl). –JRS

  2. Keith Klenck Says:

    My family bowled there when Benny Dudak was the owner circa 1950’s. I was always under the impression that the 3rd floor has duckpin lanes.

    • J.R. Schmidt Says:

      I remember when Benny Dudek owned Congress Arcade and had candlepins on the top floor. But I’d never heard that he had a similar operation on Devon Avenue.

  3. Len Foley Says:

    Is the Schaibly’s bowling alley still open?

    • J.R. Schmidt Says:

      No. Closed for over 10 years.

      • Len Foley Says:

        Wow! I’m so sorry to hear that…when I was younger in the mid 60’s I use to love to go to that bowling alley. This fall I as a producer along with Falcon Picture Group will be producing a feature film entitled Second Chance. The action and story takes place around bowling. It’s a dated piece which centers around pin set and match. We believe not only will it be a great film…but the bowling industry is going to explode! Similar to poker when the movie Rounders came out with Matt Damon. Since it’s a dated piece, we were hoping we would be able to use Schaiblys.

      • J.R. Schmidt Says:

        Len– For old-time atmosphere, you should try Lincoln Square Lanes, at 4874 North Lincoln Avenue. It’s a small, second-floor place. Last time I was there, they still had wood alleys and even a balcony. –JRS

      • Len Foley Says:

        Thank you for your quick response! I will check that out. I’d be interested in your thoughts of our feature film Second Chance.

  4. Rogers Park local Says:

    That’s so cool! I am glad to see old Devon avenue, before it was invaded and taken over by India, Pakistan, Iraq and Iran expats. The bowling alley hasn’t been there for probably more like 20 years. Today, the only thing you can do on Devon is buy saris and Indian food, or guzzle coffee with really hairy, mustachioed dudes who hate the Jews. Keep in mind that Bud Schaibly’s lanes were on the second floor; wonder what it was like for the Crawford’s department store downstairs. I was in a kids’ bowling league that went on Saturdays, I think. A guy named Lou and his son Jared were always there; Lou helped run the league, I seem to recall. Bud had white curly hair and ran the bar — where we kids always bought cokes in these tiny little eight ounce glasses. Great memories! Where’d you get the picture? I’d love to see more of Devon from this era. Thanks!

    • J.R. Schmidt Says:

      Rogers Park Local–
      I took most of the Chicago bowling alley pictures myself in the 1970s. Click “Old Chicago Bowling Alleys” under CATEGORIES for more places.

    • bubbamike (@bubbamike) Says:

      I don’t think there is any need to attack those who live in the neighborhood now. Times change and so do neighborhoods. The children of those who lived there in the ’50s moved out to the suburbs and others moved into the area, it’s a normal progression.

      And yes, that is probably the place I learned to bowl. shame it isn’t there anymore. There used to be a Walgreens across the street as well. That disappeared long before the bowling alley or the Crawfords did.

  5. Barry Asher Says:

    Bud now lives in Houston and is in poor health after a fall according to Red Bassett, who was a tour bowler in the laste 60s
    I saw him bowl at Victory Bowl in Van Nuys, Ca. in about 56.
    Barry Asher

    • J.R. Schmidt Says:

      Thanks for the update on Bud. I knew him from the 1970s, when we bowled in his house in the North End Traveling League. BTW, if they ever do make “The Big Lebowski II,” I trust they’ll give you another cameo.

  6. Ralph Says:

    This was one of the few bowling alleys that I did not bowl in. I was bowling at Calo Bowl, owned by Robby Robinson.

  7. bwl58 Says:

    I’ve been reading Dr. Jake’s Bowling blog for years and now I finally signed up to log in. I bowled at Northtown Rec (or was it called Nortown?) in 1954 when I was 7. It had that real “quaint” look inside with the pinboys and lots of cigarette smoke and beer bottles.
    I moved to Florida for a few years & when I came back in 1958 – they had automatics and the place looked a lot more “modern” and “sleek.” There were so many bowling alleys in that neighborhood in 1954-55 – they had Devon Bowl a few blocks away, and a few blocks to the north was Markay Recreation (8 lanes), Theater Bowl (the 1st to get automatics) and the soon to be built Sunset Bowl that had UNDERGROUND ball returns and PURPLE Gutters! VERY “futuristic” looking for 1955!!!

    • J.R. Schmidt Says:

      The movie theater on Western Avenue was the Nortown; the bowling alley on Devon was Northtown with the h.

  8. Dave Says:

    This is Dave Schaibly, sitting here with my Dad “Bud” reading all the comments. Great memory’s in Chicago, I wish the bowling alley was still there. Bud is doing fine and in good health at 85!

  9. Dave Says:

    Bud wants me to let everyone know he bowled a 300 down in Houston when he was 80

    • J.R. Schmidt Says:

      I’m glad that your dad is doing well. I bowled with Holloway Candy in the North End in the early 1970s, and I remembering a few of us sitting around after league at Schaibly’s one night until past 3, talking bowling. Bud showed us a trick shot where he picked up the 7-10 by grabbing two balls in his right hand, then throwing both balls down the lane at the same time. I’ve never seen anyone else do that, not even Varipapa. Hell, I’ve never even HEARD of anyone else doing that.

      • len foley Says:

        I will be producing a movie called Second Chance and is primarily about pin set and match. I hope Bud can consult!

  10. Dave Says:

    Bud loves to talk about bowling

  11. Arthur Sampson Says:

    I went to Mather high school from 73-76. Bowled there with friends, leagues, and by myself. When i went myself i would bowl at least 7 games at 25 cents a game. Bud is a hall of famer bowler. he was a very quiet man but he saw me bowl all the time. When i was 16 i bought my 1st good ball. Ebanite Gyro 2 and Linds professional shoes. One day when i was bowling by myself Bud came down to where i was bowling and gave me 3 tips that helped me out big time. When i was 17 i bowled a 289 thanks to Bud. Wife and i live in California and last year i bought her a Storm ball and new shoes and a Hammer for me and new Linds shoes. Before that we both had plastic balls for a long time. I bowl a lot of 200 plus games thanks to Bud. never bowled a 300 but would be nice if i can someday. Those were the days. God Bless Bud and his family!!!

    • Dave Schaibly Says:

      Hi Arthur, Thanks for your kind words, I passed them on to my Dad

      • pyrimid3@juno.com Says:

        Because of Bud i bowled a 289 when i was 18. I remember Buds sons working there but remember Steve the most. I talked to Steve on the phone about 5 years ago and he said his son plays baseball. I would really like to talk to you if you can call me. (925)709-2847 Arthur.. California here and i am a professional musician and up until 2 am every morning so you can call anytime

  12. Jim Madro Says:

    I worked at Schaibly bowl when I was a teenager in the late 70s
    Bud was a great guy along with his entire family.

    • pyrimid3@juno.com Says:

      I remember all his sons especially Steve. I also remember the bartender dude ans name was Chuck. What did you do for work there????

      • Len Foley Says:

        I bowled with friends there had nothing but fond memories! I’m to be producing a movie with the bowling genre and am researching historical sites in Chicago!

      • pyrimid3@juno.com Says:

        I was wondering if you can call me if you have the chance. I would like to talk to you for a few minutes please. Our number is (925)709-2847

    • Dave Schaibly Says:

      Hey Jim,

      It’s been a long time, hope all is well with you and your family. Bud is doing well, he’s coming up to Chicago to visit in a few weeks. I’m hoping to find him a place up here to stay for good.

      I still think back to the REO concert we went to at the old Chicago Ampetheatre. Great times.

      Take care, Dave

      • pyrimid3@juno.com Says:

        Dave i bowled at Buds place for a long time. He even gave me pointers in high school that made me the bowler i am today. I remember his son Steve. How are you related? How old is bud now? Any chance i can get a phone number to call Bud? Can you call me (925)709-2847 Thanks Arthur

  13. Jim Madro Says:

    Hey Dave,

    Nice to hear from you. I remember the REO concert along with a few other things we did together. Hopefully all is well with your family. How is Steve doing? I think I read that your mom died many years ago. Sorry to hear that. My mom died in 2010. My Dad is 81 and living in North Fort Myers, FL. Say hi to Bud and your family for me.


  14. norm berliant Says:

    what year did bud schiably bowl on devon ave open and what year did it close ?

  15. Jason Birren Says:

    Pass on to your father that Alex “Bud” Birrens grandson says hello. Probably doesn’t remeber me but I remember climbing the stairs at the bowling alley when I was 5 or so. Right before it closed. Best wishes to him and his health.

  16. Dave Says:

    Hi Jason, I’ll let Bud know you asked about him, Bud is up in Round Lake Beach now.

  17. Donald Damm Says:

    I worked at Bud’s bowling alley in the late 60’s while I was in college.
    Bowled and played golf with Bud quite a bit.
    I remember a lot of late breakfasts with him after closing.

    • daveschaibly Says:

      Hi Don, Bud says hi. He’s doing well at 88. Didn’t you sell him the Austin American? I had a lot of fun with that car. Hope all is well, Dave

  18. Dale Silberzahn Says:

    I Dale Silberzahn work at Northtown Bowl all through High School and before It burned down in 1959. I worked there after that but not for Bud. Also bowled in the North End Traveling League for many years. I bowled a 299 in a junior league I’d like to hear from anyone who remembers this place. wooddale-d@att.net. this web site was very interesting. Thanks

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