1896 Oliver C. Ewart Bowling Alley

Oliver Ewart, a banker who split time between New York and Mount Vernon, Ohio, purchased the lot at 725 North Dawson Street in 1893 and built a three-level mansion. Three years later, he added this ten-pin bowling lane/shooting gallery/gymnasium for his twelve-year-old son, Robert. Believed to be the second oldest bowling alley left standing in the United States, it is built from heart pine. Pocket doors separate the bowling lane from the gymnasium area, which include twisted hooks on the ceiling to support ropes and swings. The doors also helped maintain heat in the gymnasium section during winter months, while the Ewart family was in Thomasville.


The three-level mansion burned while under the ownership of the Joseph Hampton Flowers family in 1923. While the brick building that now houses the museum was under construction, the Flowers family lived in the bowling alley, adding a kitchen and bathroom addition which has since been removed. Under the ownership of the Roberts family, 1939-1968, the outside was painted green, the inside painted white and wood railings on the porch were replaced by metal piping. The bowling alley was restored to its original style in the early 1990s.