Ann, who chairs the historical society Events Committee, had the good idea a couple of weeks ago to hold our December meeting over supper at The Court Jester, the great new reincarnation of Chariton Lanes that opened after extensive renovation last summer.
So there we were --- early evening on the coldest night of the year to date: Ann, Kathleen, Kylie, Kay, Bob, Jewel, Jim and me.
We didn't bowl, but the food was great --- I had a philly steak sandwhich, others had pizza and other sandwiches. There's also a full drinks menu. And we actually got some work done.
As nearly as I can figure out (and if I'm wrong, please correct me), a bowling alley opened for the first time here on Aug. 26, 1955. A.J. and Juanita Cooper purchased what had been the used car building of Ream Motor Co., across the street to the north, from the Ream estate during June. By August, the new business --- mananged by Russell Repp and known as Russ's Lanes --- was ready for the bowling leagues that had been organizing.
There were eight lanes originally, but that was before the days of automation. The new bowling alley was advertising for men and boys to set up pins. None of that is necessary these days --- everything is automated and up to date.
As part of the renovation process, the battered exterior of the lanes portion of the building was removed during the summer to reveal the somewhat faded harlequinesque paint job on the original concrete block walls. That, I'm guessing, is where the name comes from --- a combination of location, West Court Avenue, and that paint. Here's hoping it's restored since it really does look right out of the 1950s.
You'll find The Jester's Facebook page here. Go try their pizza (or a sandwich) and maybe bowl a little, too.