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Then & Now

Photos from Hyattsville's history.

Oscar K. Hiser grew up in Hyattsville and ran a bowling alley before he and wife Mabel built the Hyattsville Bowling Center in 1940 at 5503 Baltimore Ave. 

With 24 lanes and a large concession stand the alley was a recreational and social gathering place for 10 years. When Hiser went bankrupt, Fields Buick, located next door, puchased the property and turned it into their dealership showroom. In 1988 this was merged with Lustine's Oldsmobile-Chevrolet. The building was demolished in 2006.

Walter Darnall March 21, 2011 at 11:17 AM
Actually, the old Hyattsville Bowling Alley lasted into the early 1960s, before Fields Buick purchased the building, as me and a buddy would go there often to bowl and play arcade games. There were bowling lanes on the first floor and second floor, and a pool hall room in the basement. There was a snack bar/soda fountain on the first floor. I know for a fact Fields owned it by 1965, because I remember one day going there to look at a new 1965 Buick Skylark GS. Oh, what a a car to die for! It was red with black interior with the 425 CI engine with 2x4 carberators! I think Rinaldi Bowling Lanes, which opened up on Chillum Rd. , was responsible for the Hyattsville Bowling Alley's demise, because it was state of the art new at the time and had lots of free off-street parking. I first went to the Hyattsville Bowling alley as a very young child, I'd say around 1952. At that time they still had manual (boys or men) pin spotters (not automatic pin spotters). Later in the mid 1950s they converted to automatic pin spotters. Like most bowling alleys at the time, they had duck pin lanes. 10-pin lanes were rare, as were the old candle stick pins.
Mark G March 28, 2011 at 07:05 PM
Interesting recollections! I never made it to the Hyattsville Lanes but did bowl at Rinaldi's as a youth. The Rinaldi lanes may have contributed to the demise of Hyattsville's bowling facility but the location of Nick Rinaldi's pins palace was in Riverdale, not Chillum. It still operates on Kenilworth Avenue between East-West Hiway and River Road. Interestingly, Duckpins, are particularly associated with Maryland (though some claim they started in New England). The Baltimore and DC areas have traditionally been the center of Duckpin Bowling culture.
Walter Darnall March 29, 2011 at 01:03 AM
The Rinaldi brothers, LeRoy and Nicholas, owned or had interest in many bowling alleys. Yes, they had the one there on Kenilworth Avenue, but they also had the Queenstown Duct Pin Lanes on Chillum Road. I've bowled at both locations back in the mid '60s. As an aside, I used to live at 6210 Edmonston Road (1954, before it was made a divided road and renamed Kenilworth Ave.) My parent's old house stood where Wendy's now stands. Where the bowling alley is now and Advance Auto Parts (used to be Dart Drug) was just a field and woods. My neighbor had a large garden and chicken coop, where the carwash is now. Going north on Edmonston Road it became more and more rural. In the late '60s I was up in New Hampshire and Maine (New England) I recall seeing candle stick pin bowling, which I felt was more akin to duct pins than ten pins.
Mark G April 04, 2011 at 05:51 PM
That is some good information, Walter. I will defer to your knowledge of the Rinaldi's and local bowling establishments. I imagine you remember the Fair Lanes that was across from PG Plaza. I do remember the old Edmonston Road though just barely. St Bernard's Church started out in a little structure on the other side of the road before it moved up Riverdale Road. There was (briefly) a place that offered pony rides on the corner of Riverdale Road and Kenilworth where the International House of Pancakes is now located.
Walter Darnall April 04, 2011 at 08:01 PM
Yes, I seem to remember the Fair Lanes bowling alley across from PG Plaza (when it wasn't a covered mall); I think there was a Call Carl auto service close to it. I went to St. Bernard's school in 1954-55, moving to Chillum Heights after that. I had almost forgotten about the pony ride place near the corner (where IHOP now stands), now that you mentioned it. I recall an old barn up behind the school, a remnant of earlier times (not associated with the ponies). Also near the intersection, but on Edmonston Road, was a small diner called the Tea Cup (my mom and I had breakfast there for .55 cents each -- and she thought that was too expensive). There was a beer joint at the corner of Riverdale Road and Edmonston Road (I think called Lesters ). My father used to go there at times. Also, there was a small drug store across the street (the building is vacant now and is on the north end of the strip mall there). The Riverdale airport was still active. In the mid '60s my buddies and I would drag race our cars on the defunct strip (I still have a home 8mm movie of it we took).
Eddie Brown May 29, 2011 at 12:56 PM
remember the Fontanabowlarama, do you know where it was?
Eddie Brown May 29, 2011 at 12:59 PM
Walter was your dad a teacher at Northwestern?
Walter Darnall May 29, 2011 at 03:30 PM
I remember hearing the Fontana bowlarama advertised on the radio back in the day, but I don't recall where it was.
Donald Fleshman Jr. February 21, 2012 at 06:25 AM
Fontana's bowling lanes was @ University Blvd. & Piney Branch rd.
patrice ames August 25, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Donald, do you remember what was at the corner of Piney Branch and University Blvd. before it was Al's Transmission?
Nicholas Cifolilli December 11, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Donald might know what was there. Of course, He's A LOT older than I am.HAHAHA But I can't remember anything but the trans. shop.
Donald Fleshman Jr. December 12, 2012 at 04:42 PM
@Patrice , No m'am I only remember,Al,s Transmiission all through my childhood. sorry
Donald Fleshman Jr. December 12, 2012 at 04:45 PM
@Nick...HAHAHA ,you are too funny,"old" friend....I know you are younger,but you are catching up !! LOL :-)

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