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March 19, 2013 > Cloverleaf Family Bowl turns fifty

Cloverleaf Family Bowl turns fifty

Submitted By Chris Cavette, Photo by Phillip Cavette

If the Cloverleaf Family Bowl in the Irvington district of Fremont looks like something out of the 1950s or 60s, that's because it is. In fact, the popular bowling center will officially celebrate its 50th Anniversary on Saturday, March 23, with a team tournament starting at 1 p.m.

The original Cloverleaf Family Bowl was built in 1959 at 40645 Fremont Boulevard, near the corner of Grimmer Boulevard. The brightly painted and sharply angled roofline at the entrance is flanked by a cluster of palm trees. Both were typical features of the California Coffee Shop Moderne style of architecture that started in Southern California and spread throughout the West during that period.

According to Jim Chambers, one of the current owners, the building had only twenty lanes when David and Marian Hillman bought it in 1963. That was about the same time General Motors opened its assembly plant at the south end of Fremont Boulevard and the area was booming. The Hillmans quickly added twelve more lanes on the west side of the original bowling alley in 1963, then another twelve on the east side in 1974 to keep pace with the growing popularity of the place. The 50th anniversary celebration is in recognition of the original purchase by the Hillmans.

Today, the Cloverleaf Family Bowl is jointly owned and operated by the Hillman and Chambers families. Just like fifty years ago, a steady stream of bowlers still comes through the front doors day and night for leagues, tournaments, and birthday parties.

Cloverleaf Family Bowl
40645 Fremont Blvd., Fremont
(510) 656-4411
M-F: 8:30 a.m. - 2:00 a.m.
Wknd: 7:00 a.m. - 2:00 a.m.

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