Seaford Bowling Lanes closes after 58 years in business

By Lynn R. Parks

The Seaford Bowling Lanes, which has been part of the Nylon Capital Shopping Center in Seaford since 1957, is closed. The lanes' last day was Sunday.

In honor of the alley's final day, Joseph Messick of Laurel took his son and daughter to the lanes, for what he described as "just one last time."

"It's a shame," said Messick, waiting for Trey, 15, and Alyssa, 12 to finish bowling their frames. "I'm very sorry to see it closing."

Messick, who is a member of a league at the Millsboro Lanes, said that he started bowling at the Seaford bowling alley when he was a child. "I was in the youth leagues here," he said. "This was always a family place, and it still feels that way."

Ronnie Fensick of Bridgeville also took his family to the bowling alley on Sunday. Between games, he, his wife, Crystal, and their son, Nate, sat at a small table, eating chicken wings and french fries. Crystal had already finished a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.

"They've always had the best food here," said Crystal. "The mozzarella sticks were the best around."

Like Messick, Ronnie Fensick learned to bowl at the Seaford Lanes. Until last week, he was a member of one of the lanes' nine leagues. His high score at the alley is 282, just eight pins shy of a perfect game.

The family recently held Nate's fifth birthday party at the lanes. "He was about to start on a league," Crystal said.

Ronnie said that the bowling alley was a part of his childhood. Both of his parents were members of leagues there; "all of the kids whose parents were bowling would sit in the hallway and do their homework," he said.

"It's really a shame that it's closing because it's been here for so long," he added.

Crystal, who grew up in Bridgeville, remembers going to the alley for galactic bowling, held at night and featuring glow-in-the-dark pins and balls, when she was a teenager. "When I was 16 and 17 this was the place to be," she said. "It was one of the few things to do around here."

On Saturday mornings, "every single lane was full," Ronnie added. "It's really sad to be in here today, knowing that it's closing."

In addition to its nine leagues, Seaford Bowling was also periodic host to the Chesapeake Traveling League. On Sunday afternoon, a dozen teams from the league rolled their last games there.

Joeanne White, Harrington, is a member of one of two Seaford teams that are part of the traveling league. "I don't like these lanes closing, I don't like it at all," she said. She learned to bowl there in the 1980s.

Marcie Regan of Seaford is also a member of the Seaford team. She said that leagues that were based at the bowling alley have been divided among lanes in Milford, Laurel, Millsboro and Cambridge, Md. Wherever the Seaford bowlers end up, it will mean extra travel for them. "Some people will just stop bowling," Regan said.

Norma Lee Horne, Seaford, has been a member of the Seaford Bowling leagues for 45 years. "I will still be bowling," she said. Her league has been moved to the Milford lanes and she will still be a part of the traveling league. "But not having the Seaford lanes open makes it harder to bowl."

Regan said that league members won't be the only people to miss the bowling alley. "This closure is a real shame for all of Seaford," she said. "There will be nothing for senior citizens or the youth to do."

News tips wanted
Call us with ideas for news and features. We're always looking for good stories to share with readers. Call Bryant Richardson at 629-9788.