Although bowling and women’s economic empowerment at the end of the 19th century are not usually thought of together, the recently restored Lyndhurst bowling alley actually links the two. For those who equate bowling alleys with the 1950s, this late-1800s structure, located within feet of the Hudson River, will be an eye opener.
Finally completed after more than two decades of restoration, the Lyndhurst bowling alley, originally built by railroad baron Jay Gould’s eldest daughter Helen, was also used as a home for Helen Gould’s sewing school.
The school, which was held in the building’s adjacent parlors, taught a trade to local women who often had no other job opportunity than to work as a servant. Many were recent immigrants. Helen Gould trained women of all races and religions, which was unusual for the period.
Later, Helen’s younger sister Anna, the Duchess of Talleyrand, used the bowling alley for soldier convalescence during World War II. Although the structure fell into disrepair in the 1950s, years of refurbishment have restored the bowling alley. Lyndhurst has recently opened this unlikely tribute to women’s empowerment for public tours.
The 7,000-square-foot structure includes a wide veranda to view the river. Its two-lane bowling alley is considered to be one of the earliest regulation lanes built in the country.
Know Before You Go
Tours are offered as of August, 2017.