New Duckpin Bowling Alley Celebrates Grand Opening In Johnson County
Writer / Megan Stephens
Photographer / JW.creative.indy
Besides the Fountain Square Theater building, home to Action & Atomic Duckpin Bowling, duckpin bowling is sparse in Central Indiana. However, this July the Baltimore born sport was established in Franklin, Indiana.
In January 2018, Pat Hagan, a Dish Network Operator, purchased the former Smallwood Appliance building at 27 W. Monroe Street on the Southside of the Franklin courthouse. Spending a year and a half on renovations, he turned it into a place that has fun to spare — 10 Pins.
“The building came first, the idea for duckpin bowling came second,” Hagan says. “We gutted the place. We took all the paster off the walls to reveal the brick. All the flooring was uncovered. We got it down to the bare bones.”
Hagan was originally going to rent out the building to become a restaurant or microbrewery, but when he and his family took a trip to the Fountain Square’s Duckpin Bowling scene, he started to consider the business for the Franklin property. Hagan couldn’t resist adding an entertainment spot to the courthouse square.
“I called three or four companies who did mini-bowling and duckpin bowling,” Hagan says. “I thought, ‘let’s get some numbers and give it a shot.’”
The idea was to foster an activity in downtown Franklin. The city has a lot of great restaurants and shops but not a wider range of recreation. Being located on the one and only courthouse square in Johnson County is fantastic and the support from the community has been great.
The atmosphere of the alley is retro restoration. With the original brick walls exposed, industrial hanging lights and three large TVs above the six bowling lanes catch your eye when you walk in. While renovating the space, Hagan and his crew became salvage savvy — almost everything is reclaimed from the building. The white oak countertops of the bar and registration counter were originally old floor joists.
“This building was built in the 1800s, the tree, [which the floor joists was made out of], was probably here a hundred years before that,” Hagan says. “It’s pretty amazing if you think about it.”
A piece of porcelain that will be used as the food serving counter was found when the crew was reconstructing a retaining wall in the basement. The all-wood bathrooms are decked with reclaimed roof decking and wainscoting. There is also a hand-drawn elevator turned showpiece near the back of the building. All natural light floods the area — with overhead doors flanking the front and back of the building, opening up to expand the space during nice weather.
Another cool feature? Pay attention to the chairs you’ll be sitting in. Bought at a flea market in Nashville, Indiana, the theater-style seats will flank the floor in front of the bowling lanes. The chairs were originally located at Bob Jones University’s Rodeheaver Auditorium in 1947, then they were refurbished and moved to Performance Hall around 1980.
Hagan hired Global Fun Pros, an entertainment and attractions company based in California, to build the lanes. When demonstrating how the lanes work, Hagan picks up a ball, swings it back and then sends it rolling fast down the lane. Landing a strike the first time, the stumpy pins are connected to strings that lift up and place them back up on their feet. With up to six people on a lane, about three games can be played per hour.
“We’ve been bowling a lot to fine-tune the machines,” Hagan adds. “It can be addicting, it’s tough to walk away from.”
At a glance, duckpin bowling and standard bowling are similar. Standard bowling uses 15-inch pins and bowling balls with a diameter of 8.5 inches, while duckpin bowling uses 9.5-inch pins and bowling balls that are five inches in diameter with no holes.
Although the main floor isn’t technically considered duckpin bowling, the lanes are not quite wide or long enough to be dubbed the sport, it is considered mini-bowling. The second phase of construction is currently taking place in the basement and that’s where the real duckpin lanes will be installed.
If you get hungry, there is no shortage of food options. 10 Pins partnered with Jason Tapp from Greek’s Pizzeria, providing personal pizza’s that will be stocked in-house and kiosks where you can order other options from the Greek’s menu and have it delivered. Gourmet hot dogs and local brews are also served.
“Kwang Casey from Oak & Barrel is my beer mentor,” Hagan adds. “Oaken Barrel beers will be on tap, along with Shale Creek, Nailers and others. We’re trying to keep it local.”
With 10 Pins offering a nostalgic, fun entertainment experience, the South Side feels like it just rolled a strike. Now after you’re done seeing “Mamma Mia” at the Artcraft (showing August 9th at 7:30 p.m.) your night can continue across the square with duckpin bowling.
“We’re providing a safe place and a safe activity, one that anyone can do,” Hagan says. “Come on down, have a slice of pizza and bowl.”
10 Pins is located at 27 W Monroe St in Franklin, Indiana. You can give them a call at 317-739-3578 for more information.