By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
January 8, 2014
Outfitted in what we today refer to as “retro-chic,” the All Star Bowl at 6000 Independence Ave. was all the rage during the 1950s and 60s with its beautiful Space Lounge.
Billed as “Northeast Kansas City’s Family Recreation Center,” the bowling alley offered “24 ultra-modern automatic lanes, complete with Pro-Shop children’s playroom and featuring the Beautiful Space Lounge.” A four-foot planet Earth was suspended over the circular bar in the center of the lounge. Other planets, comets, quasars, rocket-ships and satellites were hand painted on the wall’s blue background, making bowlers feel as if they really were in outer space. Colored lights danced along the walls as if a comet had just passed through the lounge itself.
Belle Shaw, a local “scratch” bowler, went on to become an accomplished professional bowler, after having started her career right here in Historic Northeast. Back in the day, no fewer than four bowling alleys were located in Northeast: Allen Bowl near Van Brunt and Independence, just down from the Nu-Way Drive In; Northeast Bowl, right behind the historic Fire Station #23 at St. John and Elmwood; Sheffield Lanes, where Car Quest Auto parts is now; and of course, the All Star Bowl.
Leagues were common and neighbors often met five nights a week to bowl against other area teams. “Double-Dutch” bowling was a game in which one couple (man and woman team) bowled against couple for the “kitty.” One of the rules was that swear words cost an extra quarter, and whoever won the match got the prize kitty. The bowling alley has since been closed and was Club Millennium for a few years.
Most recently, after an extensive overhaul, the building operates as CSL Plasma, a far cry from its campy, former incarnation as the “spaciest” bowl around.