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Bowling at Linden Hall …and a local artist’s surprising past
By: CORY VAN BROOKHOVEN Record Express Correspondent, Staff Writer
Many of us remember the old Lititz Bowling Alley that used to be situated behind what is now the Toy Soldier Restaurant on Broad street. However, I am willing to bet that most Lititz residents do not realize that at one time our town had much earlier bowling lanes located around Lititz. A two-lane alley was once situated in the basement of the old gymnasium at Linden Hall. The gymnasium was built in 1907, and from the beginning, the plan was to house a double regulation bowling alley. The dream was finally realized during the first week of January in 1912 when Jacob Nolde of Reading, Pennsylvania decided to donate $1,000 of his own money to fund the project. Nolde, a wealthy hosiery tycoon, had a daughter named Ella who attended Linden Hall and graduated from there in 1908.
Born in 1859, Jacob Nolde was a German immigrant who came to the United States in 1880. After working up the corporate ladder, he quickly established his own hosiery factory in Reading by 1888. His factory, which was referred to as Nolde and Horst Company, employed over five hundred persons who operated four hundred knitting machines in 1897. In 1899, the factory suffered a tremendous fire; however, it was soon rebuilt and contained the most up-to-date knitting equipment of its time. By 1910, the factory covered an entire city block in Reading and employed over 1,500 persons.
The last name of Nolde should sound familiar to many area residents. For those wondering, yes this is the same Jacob Nolde who created a forest near his family’s Reading home. Today, this forest is part of the Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center.
On the day of the dedication of the lanes, Reverend C.D. Kreider — who was Principal — and various board members of Linden Hall occupied the stage in the auditorium as Kreider made the opening remarks. He then introduced Nolde who officially presented the bowling alleys to Linden Hall. Rev. Kreider then suggested three cheers for Nolde as all in attendance cheered enthusiastically. The entire crowd then walked down to the basement to give the new lanes a try. Jacob Nolde was given the pleasure to roll the first ball, followed by his daughter.
The bowling equipment downstairs consisted of one pair of bowling lanes; a set of reflectors for lighting; Baltimore Duck and regulation scoreboards; and all other necessary equipment all of which was brand new and state of the art. The alleys were furnished by the Brunswick-Balke Collender Company out of New York.
While installing the lanes, the mechanic stated that he had never placed alleys in a better arranged room size for the lighting, heat, ventilation, and other factors all made it an ideal place for recreation and fun. These newer and more modern lanes replaced the original bowling lanes at Linden Hall that were once situated in the old wash house many years ago.
Almost immediately the lanes were made available to the public for a small fee. Before long, six leagues were formed containing between ten to twenty members each. Every weekday evening, with the exception of Saturday, bowling leagues competed against one another with league names such as “Huber’s Tinsmith Contingent” and “Sturgis’ Eastenders” all rolling the balls down the 60 foot long by 4 foot wide alley. Many of these men originally learned the game of bowling in the old Park House in Lititz.
For many years, the Linden Hall Lanes that were located in the basement of the gym were enjoyed by people of all ages. Eventually, the lanes were converted into state of the art science labs and the upstairs gymnasium was converted into the present day Steinman Arts Center.
From pugilist to painter
My article last month on Lititz boxer Allen Putt was certainly met with a lot of interest. Upon examining an old poster from 1916 featuring Putt, another local boxer’s name appeared at the very bottom of the poster –“Kid” Hackman from Rothsville. I was not sure who this person was, but I had a guess that he was certainly born and raised in this area due to his last name. After making a phone call or two, I finally got confirmation that “Kid” Hackman was none other than the late Lititz artist Floyd Hackman.
Floyd was born in 1899, and at the age of 15 began taking a correspondence art course painting in both watercolor and oils. His specialties included local landscapes and coastal scenes which included images of tugboats, homes, and churches.
Around seventeen years of age, he began to box in Lancaster County; but this activity only lasted a few short years before he began serving in the United States Navy during World War I. By the late 1940’s he had co-founded the Village Art Association where he also served as its honorary president. This Association also began to co-sponsor the Lititz Outdoor Art Show in 1967, and Hackman served as the show’s chairman for ten years. He taught art for 40 years and was a member of the American Watercolor Society and the International Society of Artists.
Floyd was also in the furniture business for most of his life where he acted as proprietor of the Hackman Furniture Company which was located on N. Broad St. He was also very active in his community serving as a local scout master and a former county scout commissioner who founded one of Lititz’s first Boy Scout troops. He was also instrumental in building the scout cabin in the Lititz Springs Park.
Floyd Hackman lived to be 89 and passed away on Dec. 28, 1988. He displayed unique style and grace both on the boxing ring’s canvas and on his paint brush’s canvas. More BOWLING, page A11