Bowling Center’s Success Rooted in a Colorful Past
The charismatic Harry owned a pool hall and a blind pig in Detroit during Prohibition. He did well for himself. So well, if fact, that the Purple Gang, notorious Detroit mobsters, invited him to join the organization.
“They nicknamed it The Bucket of Blood,” said Jeff. “I don’t know why, but somehow it got nicknamed that. But then my father (Harry Hartfield Jr.) built the bowling center around the bar. He had to buy out residents’ homes. They built 16 lanes downstairs. The next year, they built 16 more lanes above that. Then the following year, they built 20 more lanes.”
“You built a bowling center and you had a line out the door,” said Jeff. “Back in the early ’70s, we were the first house to have automatic scoring. By about ’75-’76, we had the most games bowled per lane in the country.”
Hartfield Lanes was a success.
His grandson attributes Harry’s longevity to being active at Hartfield Lanes.
“He was an avid pool player. He’d come out and talk to everybody,” said Jeff. “He’d come out and see some kids playing pool that didn’t know how to play. He taught a lot of the kids in Berkley. Some of those kids still talk about him.”
“The bowling industry has changed. We went through the real rough period, but we’re on the upswing,” said Linda Hartfield recently. “It’s neat because so many people love bowling. Right now, it’s the season. It’s our busiest two weeks a year with holiday break. Everyone can bowl. That’s the neat thing about bowling.”
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“Right now, we have 19 employees who pretty much run the whole show,” said Mason. “They’re very dedicated, very loyal employees. Based on the manner in which the family treats the employees, people stay here.”
“We offer bowling parties, corporate, birthday, fundraisers, family reunions,” said Mason. “Glow bowling is specific to Friday and Saturday evenings. That starts at 5 p.m. and goes until 2 a.m. We get very crowded and we offer overflow upstairs. We have karaoke every Saturday night in our Hat Trick Pub from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.”
The Hat Trick was formerly known as The Bucket of Blood. The new name came about during the Red Wings’ Stanley Cup years, when the pub had a naming contest and one of the patrons suggested “The Hat Trick Pub.”
“They’re definitely dying out and turning into entertainment centers,” Linda said. “But we have a local pub with karaoke. It’s kind of a ‘Cheers’ thing. The young people all walk or Uber. A lot of the girls get together to karaoke. We’re thankful where we’re at and keeping afloat.”
“We’re fortunate we can make it work for us,” Linda Hartfield said.
Hartfield Lanes is open Mondays Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to midnight, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to midnight, Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to midnight.