Down Under Duckpin Bowling former Sullivan’s RI Recreation Center and/or Chip’s Bowl-a-Rama

 

Ethan Allen
Sears Automotive
Sears department store
Anderson Little
1320 North Main Street

 

Ah, so sad... so many times on a drive-by the place, I though to myself “Man, some bowling this close to Providence and the East Side would be so great. Why did this place close?”

Having been a RIer long enough, we know, something just must not have been right. The family that owned it didn’t run it well, or it came upon hard times – maybe people ten years ago just didn’t bowl much. We’re sure there is some sort of story there.

The photos above were taken by an anonymous donor. AIR heard about a party there in November, 2008 – an illegal party, yes – and sent our feelers out to people for photos. For a brief period, the bowling alley was open to those that knew about it. We are sure that the place has since been secured. AIR does not condone breaking an entering, or other illegal activites. We are pretty sure that the current owner of the property is the Proccasanti Group, but we are not positive.

 

Down Under, or Sullivan’s, featured 24 lanes of duck pin bliss. A small deli/coffee counter was in the back called Chip’s cafeteria. Some food looked like is was available. Parking was ample, of course, as you basically parked on the roof, and then walked “down under” to the alleys. There is an unconfirmed rumor that it was open merely eight years ago for a short time, around 2001, before it closed up again for good.

John Nov 19 2014 So terrible. I just drove by there today and they’re in the process of demolishing it. It’s all dug up and excavated and it’s basically just a big ugly hole in the ground now. What a shame I was really hoping they can turn that back into something cool. Another one for the RIP list I guess.

jon williams Apr 9 2014 It seems to be the end of the bowlling alley plans are to tear down the former sears bld for parking and for a healthclub but… there have been many plans for that area since the closing of sears so stay tuned

Maxine Nov 14 2013 When I was little, my mother played in a league there. I would go with my father to take her there. I could never figure out how they fit 24 lanes in that tiny building.

Chris X. Hall Sep 19 2013 Great place for a birthday party… I remember mine from 1964. If you got a strike when the lead pin showed a red stripe, you got a dollar.

Craig Scorpio Jan 31 2012 I bowled there many times as a kid (in the 1980s). My mother would take me there during "off hours", just after school, and we would pretty much have the place to ourselves. When I was in the RI Big Brother’s program – My "Big Brother" would take me there often to bowl, and they used to have a yearly bowl a thon / party that I would attend. Interestingly, there was a man who worked there at that time, when we would go there, he would be practicing his accordion in the back. I ran into that man a few times in the last year or so. When I saw him, despite the many years that passed – I recognized him on the spot. I said to him "You used to work at Chips Bowling years ago, right? You used to play the accordion?" He looked at me (I think shocked, seeing how young I was to remember such as thing), and when he said yes, It immediately sent me into (good) flashbacks of my childhood. I really miss this place. Would have loved to take my kids there.

Will Jun 8 2010 Well, sadly, I drove by it today. I’m not really from Providence, i just commute there for school. What was so sad about it? There were at least 9 fire trucks, 3 police cars, 4 ambulances, and multiple chief’s cars. We stopped to watch, and sadly, it looks like it went up in flames. Smoke was pouring out the small entrance building, and there was clearly a fire below.

Don Jun 15 2009 I can recall bowling there in the late 1950s when it was Sullivan’s. There also was a Sullivan’s Steak House across the street where Gregg’s is now. I don’t know if the same Sullivan owned both. In the 80s and early 90s I took my kids bowling there when it was Chip’s. Fun place.

lisa t May 12 2009 In 88-93,I used to work for Sears Auto, and a year later i transfered to the main building. I then met my boyfirnd at the time, and we would go bowling. i believe it used to be called Chip’s. It used to be very crowded and my boyfriend’s dad used to be in a league there.

Sean Mar 31 2009 I bowled several times at Down Under Duckpins circa 2000-2001, so your rumor is confirmed. Seemed like someone was running it as a labor of love.

Liam Mar 30 2009 I went bowling here in either 1999 or 2000 and it seemed to be doing a fine business. I always thought it was a shame that someone didnt turn it into a club and have bands play. It seems like you could take out a couple lanes and put up a stage and do the whole band/bowling thing. Retro schtick appeal, ahoy! Add in some decent pizza and Gansett on tap and you’d be the most popular spot in town. Anyhow, my understanding (and I could be wrong on this) is that this was built as part of the drive-in theatre complex that is now the Shaws plaza.

The information about each building grows as visitors let us know about their experiences. Did you or a member of your family work here? Did you grow up near it as a child? Let us know. All entries will be moderated and may be posted in an edited form. We will use your name unless you tell us otherwise. We will not make your email public.

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