20th Century Lanes

20th Century Bowl

3255 N. Cicero Ave.


19 Responses to “20th Century Lanes”

  1. Bob Schumacher Says:

    Was around when it opened in ’54. 24-lane Brunswick house with parking on the roof. Good action in the early 60’s

    • J.R. Schmidt Says:

      Good action in the poolroom, too—especially when Milwaukee Lou was around.

  2. Steven Says:

    In the Chicago Tribune Archives – Nov. 30, 1952 – there’s a big article with photos about the 1st Installation in Chicago of the AMF Automatic Pinspotter at 20th Century Lanes on Cicero. Did they later switch to Brunswicks??

    • J.R. Schmidt Says:

      I must check out that article—other people have told me that Rolaway on Pulaski Road had the first Chicago automatics. It seems like they have foggy memories.

    • Bob Schumacher Says:

      I was 9 years old and lived a block from 20th and remember the fire that took down the old 20th. I don’t recall any AMF pinsetters prior to the Brunswicks being there, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen that way.. I really didn’t start to bowl there until I was 11, a couple years later.

  3. Bob Schumacher Says:

    I recall Milwaukee Lou Hodor (sp?). He could put on a show. Very good straight pool player; played in the yearly Chicago Tournament.

    • J.R. Schmidt Says:

      Here’s an article about Milwaukee Lou Hodor from 1983– http://billiardsdigest.com/bestoffels/jan83.php
      Back in the day, I never knew his last name.

      • Bob Schumacher Says:

        I only knew his last name because Bill Cwik and I went to watch him in the Chicago Tournament in, I believe, 1962. His last name was on the pairings board. He would play any of the ‘kids’ as long as they paid the time. The deal included a full commentary on strategy and Lou pointing out mistakes and/or opportunities during the play of 14-1 continuous. I learned a lot from Lou. I have great memories from the pool room and the bowling lanes at 20th I was known as ‘Inky’. Do you remember Mike Bartels, Motorcylce Mike,Willie Johnson, or the ‘Undertaker’? I think you’re a half-a-generation younger than me, so some of those guys might’ve been gone. Those were fun times.

      • Bob Schumacher Says:

        I read the Billiards Digest article and nothing in there surprised me. Why? Because I’d seen it all before; many times. He could strut like a peacock! My father was a 3-cushion player and growing up his children had a pool table in the basement. When I was old enough to play at 20th (Counter man Tom Acouros made the decision) one of the first players I met was Lou. Sure he was over-the-top flashy, bombastic, and flamboyant, but he was a good person. In 1957 when I was 14 Mosconi came through and put on an exhibition. Dad took me to watch. You were probably too young to recall that. Frank Malin was a good promoter.

      • J.R. Schmidt Says:

        I was a bowler, not a pool player—my high run my entire life was 15 balls—but I used to shoot pool every couple of weeks with a buddy until I got married in 1972. You couldn’t miss Milwaukee Lou; he wouldn’t let you miss him. But as you said, a good person.

      • Bob Schumacher Says:

        The bow tie too. Can’t forget Lou’s bow tie!

        I lived on the corner of Kilpatrick and Roscoe until I joined the Navy in Jan. of ’63. Bowling was my main sport, but I played at least one professional tournament in bowling, golf, and billiards. Bowling provided the income though; younger brother Jim and I owned and operated one of the nations higher volume pro shops in San Jose, CA and were the authors of Larry Lichstein’s “The Profitable Pro Shop”. Also, we were one of the nine shops that founded the IBPSIA in 1990. After the service in ’67 I settled in California.

        Are you still in Chicago? You and I need to spend an afternoon over a plate of food and swap ‘war stories’; we’re brothers from different mothers. I get to Chicago fairly often and expect to be there this summer. I still know Tom Kazmer, if that name rings a bell. He was a ‘house ape’ at 20th for a while. Might’ve been a bit earlier than you also, but he’s in our mold. Bill Cwik is dead; I went to his funeral in Crystal Lake in 2012. I’ll bet we both have stories the other would like to hear!

        Let’s keep in touch. You have my e-mail in your system.

        Bob Schumacher

  4. Ken D. Says:

    I remember the Twentieth Century Bowling
    Lanes. It was rebuilt in the early 1960’s after
    a devistatng fire. Many fond memories there
    from my youth.

    • Bob Schumacher Says:

      The fire was in ’53-54 or so. It started in the maintenance room in the basement. The FD came and put it out, but a half-hour later it started up again. (Go figure!) Burned the place to the ground. In the summer of ’62 the best bowler in the house, Bill Cwik, and I bowled Nelson Burton, Jr. and Jack Biondolillo in an epic match that lasted into the wee hours of the AM. They never won a game, lost a significant amount of money for the time, and hopped back in their car and headed home to St. Louis. Bill was the best bowler at 20th for a long time.

      • Ken Dura Says:

        Hi Bob, Thank You for the reply. I feel it is incredible how this place, 20th Century Lanes, has continued to intrigue me after so many years. Then to find other folks who share that, wow. As to the fire, I was there at the time, and I truly believe it was 58 -59, with the reopening in 1960. Perhaps there are some news archives that can be found. Do you know if any interior pictures exist of both the old and new? I’d like very much to keep the discussion going. Thanks again. / Ken Dura

  5. Bob Schumacher Says:

    J. R. – I’ll be in Chicago from July 5th or so to the 12th.to visit with high school buddies. I’d love to have lunch one day during that span and swap 20th Century stories. I’m thinking we’d enjoy that. 858-335-2839

    • J.R. Schmidt Says:

      July is a great time to travel, and I’ll be out of Chicago on two different mini-trips in early July. Have fun with your buddies!

  6. Steven Says:

    Just noticed – the Nov. 1952 article on the 1st installation of AMF automatics at 20th Century Lanes also said that Bill Schultz owner of Roloway Alleys will also be getting the new AMF’s. So, maybe Roloway wasn’t the 1st but they were very close to being the first.

  7. Ken Dura Says:

    Hey Bob, I noticed in one of you prior comments that you and your brother owned a pro shop in San Jose, CA. I live in San Jose.

    • Bob Schumacher Says:

      San Jose: moved there in ’67, left in ’96. Owned the pro shop at Futurama Bowl for 21 years. It was the 2nd largest bowling pro shop west of the Mississippi, or at least the salespeople told us that. Las Vegas was the largest. Had 2300 sq. ft. two drilling stations, and 6-8 employees. Our best years were in the 800K range – no wholesale; all retail. My e-mail is: sdbob43@gmail.com. Let’s chat. Or I’m on Facebook. Nice to hear from you.

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