Out of the Past: Hamburg Recreation Parlor

       By Steve Cichon

Built as a combination ice cream parlor, pool hall, and bowling alley, it was the six bowling lanes that ended up as the most popular and lasting part of life in Hamburg, serving generations worth of leagues and late night open lanes to accommodate the demand for the sport.

Hamburg Recreation Parlor, about 1942

The Hamburg Recreation Parlor was built by Leo Schumer, who owned much of the property in the vicinity of Buffalo and Pine Streets in the 1920s.

In 1938, he sold the business to Gilbert Emerling—who also owed the Texaco station two doors down.

Emerling the place to Chuck Saunders in 1948. He eventually renamed the place Saunders’ Bowling Alley, which it remained until it was destroyed in a fire in 1964.

Ad from The Hamburg Sun, offering Beef on Wick, 1948.

The spot is now mostly in the parking lot between Sans Furniture and YoTality.

Emerling’s gas station was bought by the Village of Hamburg in 1966, and the Hamburg Volunteer Fire Department garage number 3 was built on the site. That spot is on the other side of Sans Furniture.

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon writes about Buffalo’s pop culture history. His stories of Buffalo's past have appeared more than 1600 times in The Buffalo News. He's a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. Since the earliest days of the internet, Cichon's been creating content celebrating the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The 25-year veteran of Buffalo radio and television has written five books and curates The Buffalo Stories Archives-- hundreds of thousands of books, images, and audio/visual media which tell the stories of who we are in Western New York.