Crew from Kiko Auction moves swiftly through bowling center Tuesday, gathering bids for nearly everything inside, from televisions to ball-return systems to a lot of 200 pairs of bowling shoes.
JACKSON TWP. From his office overlooking the bowling alley, owner Doug Michael watched as a crowd gathered inside 77 Colonial Lanes for the last time.
A crew from Kiko Auction moved swiftly through the bowling center Tuesday, gathering bids for nearly everything inside, from televisions to ball-return systems to a lot of 200 bowling shoes.
"It's bittersweet," Michael said. "I'd like to keep it all, but I don't have room."
Michael's father, Al Michael, and some business partners opened the bowling center, which included the Starlite Lounge, in 1963. Bowlers bowled their final games May 14.
Though most of the furniture and memorabilia sat in boxes Tuesday, a series of photos showing opening night still hung on the wall. Michael pointed out his late father surrounded by other prominent businessmen as well as members of the 1963 Chicago White Sox.
Michael recalled when his upstairs office was the pool room, then a lounge for college students in the 1960s and '70s. Some nights were so crowded, you couldn't find a parking spot, he said. "It was wild."
After announcing the closing, Michael said he heard from patrons who wanted to share their stories of Colonial Lanes, including several women who met their husbands in the Starlite Lounge decades ago.
"Some are still married, some are not," he laughed.
"We had a lot of loyal bowlers, supporters, everything, over the years. A lot of good friends," Michael said. "I'm sure there's a lot of them who are going to miss it as much as I do."
For some bidders, Tuesday's auction was a way to support their own business.
Josh Moore and Robert Blakely, who are opening a bar and grill, hoped to score kitchen equipment. Other bidders, obviously with the same goal in mind, scoped out the kitchen as auctioneers worked through bowling equipment.
Moore was confident they would walk away with what they wanted. "We'll be all right."
Walt Carrington and his family won bids for tables, chairs and TV sets. The family recently purchased Starlite Roller Rink, near Atwater in Portage County. Carrington planned to use Tuesday's purchases to spruce up the place.
"So far, I'm happy with what we got," he said.
Other bidders used the afternoon to say goodbye.
William Eustathios, who is part of the Michael family, came to the auction on his lunch break. He bought a box of bowling pins as a memento.
"I grew up here as a kid," he said, adding that the family held reunions and parties at the bowling center. "It was a lot of fun."
For the past few decades, Marianne Nau and Leona Swogger bowled as teammates at Colonial Lanes. Watching the auction Tuesday was tough, they said.
"There's a lot of memories here," Swogger said.
They hoped to buy some kind of memorabilia to remember it by. Nau had her eye on one of the tables or — if it was up for auction — maybe the entryway chandelier.
"This was one of our homes," Nau said. "It's a sad day."
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