For decades, the Cloverlane Bowling Alley was an iconic part of metro Detroit's skyline. People driving down Interstate 96 towards Detroit used the Googie-esque, undulating building as a way marker for how close they were to the city. Bowlers remember it as one of the great bowling alleys in the area.
Cloverlanes opened in 1962, part of a boom in bowling that began with the end of the World War II. Over 20,000 lanes were built in the 1940's 50's, as bowling leagues gained popularity with returning GI's and auto workers. The building was unique in its design, with 64 lanes divided into two spacious wings supported by a wood truss system.
At its peak in the 1970's, Cloverlanes was one of the largest and most popular bowling alleys in the area, with people waiting for hours to secure a lane. As African-Americans moved from Detroit into the suburbs, Cloverlanes became home to many black bowling leagues.
Between 2012 and 2015, at least five local bowling alleys closed throughout metro Detroit. Many of the lanes required expensive upgrades to remain competitive, as there was a nationwide decline in the popularity of bowling leagues.
In April of 2015, Cloverlanes announced that it would be shutting down. Despite a roster of over 2,000 league bowlers, the condition of the facility and increasing value of the land it sat on led the owners to put it up for sale with an asking price of $1.7 million dollars. Much of the interior equipment and the wood lanes were sold and removed after closure.
The bowling alley was sold to a developer, who began demolishing it in October of 2016 to make way for a storage facility.