"Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" Book Feature
This book feature appeared in the “Milwaukee Journal Sentinel” on November 13, 2007
The Drill: Q&A with author Doug Schmidt
From the Holler House to early stars such as Hank Marino and Frank Benkovic to the long-running TV show "Bowling with the Champs," Milwaukee has a rich bowling history. Doug Schmidt, 59, of Franklin, editor and publisher of the "Ten Pin Journal" and a member of the Greater Milwaukee Bowling Association Hall of Fame, has captured that history in his new book, "They Came to Bowl: How Milwaukee Became America's Tenpin Capital" (Wisconsin Historical Society Press). Schmidt talked about the book with the Journal Sentinel's Gary D'Amato.
Q. There are a lot of instructional books on bowling but very little about the history of the game. Was that one of the reasons you did this book?
A. Definitely. I've always felt that bowling has a very colorful history and very little is known about some of the great players, especially the ones that came out of Milwaukee.
Q. Why did you limit it to Milwaukee? Would it have been too much work to do a U.S. bowling history?
A. I felt from the get-go that I wanted to do a Milwaukee bowling history, to a large extent because it always had the title of being "America's Bowling Capital."
Q. You uncovered much about the origins of bowling in Milwaukee that had not been previously documented. Give me an example.
A. It was assumed that bowling headquarters has always been in Milwaukee. But why? It all goes back to Abe Langtry, who was the first successful proprietor in Milwaukee. He established a 24-lane center in an office building downtown in 1900. He was recognized as the most successful proprietor in the Midwest and was elected secretary of the American Bowling Congress in 1907. He wound up running the ABC for the next 25 years.