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Boise Bowling Alley 20th Century Lanes to Close After 57 Years on State Street


Owners of 20th Century Lanes are closing the Boise landmark at the end of the month. True to its name, the bowling alley at 4712 W. State St. has been a local destination since 1960—about mid-way into the previous century. The great-grandfather of current general manager Lucas Hohnstein first opened the doors downtown in the '30s, but moved the business to its State Street location 57 years ago, passing it down through the generations.

“I’ve spent more time in this building than anywhere else,” said Hohnstein, the sound of bowling pins clashing behind him.

There is no shortage of bowling alleys in Boise, Hohnstein added, and any of them can be a "home away from home" for regular visitors.

“We know at least 80 percent of our clients by first name and we also know what’s going on in their lives," he said. "There has been overwhelming support from the community since the news [of the closure] broke.”

The Hohnstein family has operated 20th Century Lanes for 57 years. - ELIZABETH FINDLEY
  • Elizabeth Findley
  • The Hohnstein family has operated 20th Century Lanes for 57 years.
According to a Facebook post from 20th Century Lanes, shuttering the bowling alley came as a shock when the building owner rejected a lease offer. According to Hohnstein, the family owned the property for about six years but sold it and signed a long-term lease. As the agreement expired, they were trying to work out a deal with the landlord when a new tenant—Treasure Valley Skate—heard the building might be available and made an offer 20th Century Lanes couldn't match.

"The news is very sudden and still seems surreal," 20th Century Lanes wrote on Facebook, "but unfortunately it is true."

Operators of the incoming skating rink and fun center, Scott and Tammy Stevens, of Seattle, said they've been looking for the right location for two years.

"We were in the right place at the right time," said Scott Stevens.

Their initial plans didn't include refurbishing a bowling alley, he said, but the State Street location worked well because the building structure has few exposed interior pillars. The Stevenses plan to open Treasure Valley Skate in November.

“And we still want to hold the same values as the 20th Century Lanes," Stevens added. "We want to be community- and youth-driven.”

20th Century Lanes will remain open until Friday, June 30, when Hohnstein will host a final round strikes and gutters.