Do you remember the cutting-edge Utica Bowl of the 1960s?
Before it was destroyed by a fire in 1963, Utica Square's bowling alley was the largest in the Southwest, and the first in Tulsa to boast automatic pin-setters.
Utica Bowl in the 1950s or ’60s, before the alley was destroyed by a fire
Hopkins Photography/Tulsa Historical Society and Museum
Utica Square, Tulsa’s first suburban shopping center at East 21st Street and South Utica Avenue, was once home to the Southwest’s largest bowling alley. Utica Bowl, one of the Square’s original tenants, was situated on the former site of Miss Jackson’s and Petty’s Fine Foods, both demolished in 2016.
A highly popular bowling alley, Utica Bowl contained the first automatic pinsetter in town. But in 1963 it was destroyed when varnish used to refinish the lanes ignited, says Ian Swart, Tulsa Historical Society and Museum archivist.
That same year, Utica Square developers and owners Dale Carter and Don Nix sold the Square to investor Bill Kistler. After the fire, Kistler rebuilt the building to attract high-end merchants. Following Kistler’s death in 1964, Helmerich and Payne Inc. purchased the Square.
So what of the still-empty Miss Jackson’s/Petty’s site? “The plans for the (space) are continuous, but there is nothing to announce at this time,” says Cassandra Montray, Utica Square property manager.