For Immediate Release
Contact: Deborah Gilleran
Oldest Operational Bowling Alley in Nation to Reopen
1899 Alley at Georgian Court University Reopens on April 29
Lakewood, N.J., Apr. 17, 2008—Georgian Court University is known for its excellence in educational standards and its stunning architecture. Now, it adds one more feature to a long list of attributes: an on-campus bowling alley, built in 1899 by the Brunswick Balke-Collender Co., now newly restored through a grant from the Brunswick Foundation. The restored lanes will be unveiled at a ceremony on Tuesday, April 29, at 1:00 p.m. in the Casino Building on the university’s Lakewood, New Jersey, campus.
The refurbished space was part of the George Jay Gould estate around the turn of the 20th century. Mr. Gould, son of railroad tycoon Jay Gould, decided to build a recreation center for his guests. In the Casino, as it was called, were an indoor polo rink, swimming pool, court tennis court, squash court, and a bowling alley with three lanes and ball returns that were state-of-the-art for its day.
The Sisters of Mercy bought the estate in 1924 and brought their Mount Saint Mary’s College from North Plainfield, New Jersey, to the Georgian Court estate and changed the college’s name to Georgian Court College. Popular with students in the 1940s and 1950s, the lane had since fallen into disuse.
In 2007, Georgian Court reached out to the Brunswick Foundation, the charitable arm of the bowling company, the Brunswick Corporation, the modern-day descendant of the company that originally built Georgian Court’s lanes in 1899. They donated $25,000 to Georgian Court to restore the historic lanes, and Georgian Court matched the grant with an additional $25,000.
The project tapped local contractors to handle the restoration. Thomas M. Moore of Freehold handled the restoration of the woodwork; McNicholas Lighting Restoration, Manahawkin, restored the light fixtures; and Kelly Kilowatt, Lakewood, updated the electrical system. Felix Erikson Company, Mount Holly, restored the actual lanes. Georgian Court estimates that beyond the $25,000 grant, Brunswick donated an additional $25,000 in bowling pins, bowling balls, maintenance supplies, and other materials and equipment.
After it is unveiled, the bowling alley will be used for special events and by Georgian Court students.
Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves over 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at 90 Woodbridge Center Drive in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.
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