End of an era: Clover Lanes closes for good

Clover Lanes is seen on May 7, a few days after the building was sold and the 72-year-old business was closed for good. (Photo: Malin Jordan)Clover Lanes is seen on May 7, a few days after the building was sold and the 72-year-old business was closed for good. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Bowlers enjoy some time at Clover Lanes in this undated photo. (Submitted by Jonah Cunningham)Bowlers enjoy some time at Clover Lanes in this undated photo. (Submitted by Jonah Cunningham)
A view of the machinery behind the bowling area at Clover Lanes is seen in this undated photo. (Submitted by Jonah Cunningham)A view of the machinery behind the bowling area at Clover Lanes is seen in this undated photo. (Submitted by Jonah Cunningham)
A view of Clover Lanes is seen in this undated photo. (Submitted by Jonah Cunningham)A view of Clover Lanes is seen in this undated photo. (Submitted by Jonah Cunningham)
A view of the pin-setting machine is seen above the pin deck at Clover Lanes in this undated photo. (Submitted by Jonah Cunningham)A view of the pin-setting machine is seen above the pin deck at Clover Lanes in this undated photo. (Submitted by Jonah Cunningham)
Bowlers enjoy some time at Clover Lanes in this undated photo. (Submitted by Jonah Cunningham)Bowlers enjoy some time at Clover Lanes in this undated photo. (Submitted by Jonah Cunningham)
Jonah Cunningham, the last manager/mechanic at Clover Lanes, poses with memorabilia from the 72-year-old Cloverdale bowling alley. (Submitted)Jonah Cunningham, the last manager/mechanic at Clover Lanes, poses with memorabilia from the 72-year-old Cloverdale bowling alley. (Submitted)
Jonah Cunningham, the last manager/mechanic at Clover Lanes, poses with memorabilia from the 72-year-old Cloverdale bowling alley. (Submitted)Jonah Cunningham, the last manager/mechanic at Clover Lanes, poses with memorabilia from the 72-year-old Cloverdale bowling alley. (Submitted)

It’s the end of an era as Clover Lanes has closed its doors for good.

Jonah Cunningham, the manager/mechanic, announced on Facebook May 1 the Cloverdale bowling alley was shutting its doors after 72 years in operation.

“It’s with a sad heart that we announce that we are closing our doors forever,” Cunningham wrote. “We will miss all of you and hope you are keeping safe. Thank you for all the awesome memories!!!”

It's with a sad heart that we announce that we are closing are doors forever….

We will miss all of you and hope you are keeping safe..

Thank you for all the awesome memories!!!

Stay safe

Posted by Clover Lanes on Saturday, 1 May 2021

Cunningham was still broken up over the closure when the Cloverdale Reporter caught up with him early on a Saturday morning.

“It’s bittersweet because I have a lot of good memories there and so do a lot of other people,” he said. “I grew up around bowling. I grew up with the game. To see another alley close, it’s really sad.”

He said Clover Lanes opened at its current location in 1949 in a purpose-built centre.

“I’ve seen the original plans. It took a year or so to build the building and then they moved the equipment in and opened up.”

Cunningham also lamented that Clover Lanes didn’t get a proper send off, as the alley has been closed because of COVID since April 17.

SEE ALSO: Cloverdale Strong: our town in a pandemic

“To have it fade into obscurity the way it has, it’s heartbreaking.”

He said the charm of Clover Lanes was that it was a inter-generational alley.

“I’ve had great-grandparents bring their great-grandchildren in to bowl because they bowled there in the past—generations of bowlers,” noted Cunningham. “The stories you’d hear were great. It was one of those places that people would come together in the spirit of camaraderie amid goodwill, fun, and friendly competition.”

He said Clover Lanes was more of a community hub than a bowling alley, that it was there for the people.

“You’d feel a sense of family when you walked in the door,” he added. “I’m really going to miss all the people. And I know a lot of them are upset. They’re sad.”

Cunningham said COVID “decimated the business,” but the building had been up for sale for a long time.

Erin Lamont was the manager before Cunningham, working at Clover Lanes for more than a decade.

“It sucks for the community,” said Lamont. “It’s been there for so long.”

Lamont said she drove by Clover Lanes in the evening just after it sold and saw work crews ripping out the lanes and removing all the bowling equipment.

“I was crying,” said Lamont. “I thought to myself, ‘Oh, so many good memories.’”

Lamont said she thinks Crossridge Church purchased Clover Lanes, the same church that bought the Clova Theatre.

However, Andy Frew from Crossridge Church said Crossridge did not buy Clover Lanes.

SEE ALSO: Clova Theatre gets a facelift

Lamont said the owners of Clover Lanes put the building and business on the market when the pandemic first hit in March 2020.

“The place has been up [for sale] since last year,” Lamont said. “They had an offer to buy the land and the building only—nothing to do with the business. So what do you do?”

Lamont said 5-pin bowling has been losing interest for about a decade. She said the pandemic just sped up an inevitable timeline on the bowling alley’s closure.

Cunningham said he was glad the Reporter reached out. He said Clover Lanes “needed an obituary” of sorts.

“Some kind of acknowledgement that it was there and that it was important.

“I’m going to treasure the time that I had there and I want to thank everyone. I met a lot of great people there and I’m really going to miss it.”



editor@cloverdalereporter.com

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*This story has been edited from its original version to add information from Andy Frew.

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