Prior to the 1950’s, the “small ball game” commonly known as “duck pin”
bowling was the rage in Rhode Island. The bowling “alleys” of that time
were typically small smoke filled wood frame buildings housing 2-10 lanes, and
serviced by “pin boys”. By 1952 things began to change as the all new
“automatic pinsetter” manufactured by companies such as Brunswick,
Sherman, and AMF quickly ended the pin boy era. Now fast forward to
1959 and the game of “Ten Pin” bowling is introduced to Rhode Island
with the opening of Atlantic Ten Pin lanes at the Shipyard in Providence.
The Shipyard Lanes, designed by famed RISD and Harvard trained modernist architect Ira Rakatansky, opened with 44 lanes, and was immediately expanded to 64 lanes as “ten pin fever” infected Rhode Island.
In 1960 - 61, ten additional centers were opened in Rhode Island. The smallest of these centers was also a Rakatansky design, Old Mountain Lanes. Partners Bernard J Toth, Edward Smith, and J. Horace Caswell introduced ten pin bowling to southern RI on October 1, 1960. The spacious 12 lane center, featuring a coffee shop, babysitting room, meeting room, TV Room, and “air conditioning” was quickly expanded to twenty-four lanes in 1961.
During the early years, the “Bowling Alley” operated around the clock
accommodating second and third shift workers of the local mills. The coffee shop
served up breakfast to the trades and fishermen, and boat loads of “fries, cokes
and shakes” to hundreds of high school students who inundated the “alley's” after
football and basket ball games. Old Mountain’s first ABC sanctioned “300” game
was tossed in 1968 by former South Kingstown High star athlete Joe Harris.
In 1973, Bernard Toth, along with some local investors, assumed control of OML. In 1977, a renovation included the addition of a restaurant/pub now known as Camden’s. Camden’s offers fresh local seafood, steaks, chicken, homemade soups, and a late
night “good time”. In 1995, Old Mountain Lanes was purchased by Robert L Toth, son of the original owner Bernard Toth. Since then, there have been many changes to
the facility as Old Mountain Lanes has been transformed to a complex offering family entertainment for all ages.
Our facility offers: 24 lanes of Brunswick Anvilane (new 2009), LCD Scoring Monitors,
Cosmic Bowling, Live DJ’s, Bowling Music Network, Two Acclaimed Restaurants, Pub,
Video Games, Billiards, and more! In 2006 Mr. Toth purchased Walnut Hill Bowl from
the Brunswick Corporation. If you are travelling to Northern Rhode Island be sure to
visit the newly remodeled Walnut Hill Bowl and Back Alley Pub in Woonsocket.