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Lost Huntington: Imperial Lanes

October 9, 2018

Editor’s Note: This is the 256th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.

HUNTINGTON — Newspaper ads on the summer weekend of July 13-14, 1963, offered lots for entertainment-minded Tri-State residents to do.

The Keith-Albee was showing the Jerry Lewis film “The Nutty Professor,” while the Palace was screening “Bye Bye Birdie.”

If you wanted to load up the car and head for a drive-in theater, you had your choice of five - the East, Ceredo, Tri-State, Burlington and Starlite. And Club Roll-A-Rama was welcoming skating fans.

But a full-page ad heralded the grand opening of something new Imperial Lanes, a modern 24-lane bowling center.

Several houses on the south side of the 2100 block of 8th Avenue were demolished to make way for the new business. A groundbreaking ceremony was conducted Nov. 14, 1962, with Mayor George Garner turning the first shovel of dirt. When completed, the building included a snack bar, nursery, billiard center, offices and pro shop, with parking for more than 200 cars.

Imperial Lanes Inc. was headed by Ted Kleumper as president. The corporation’s other officers included Bob Glick, vice president; Jennings Riffe, secretary; and John Marnell, treasurer. Well-known local bowling brothers Ted and Ed Haun first owned Ted and Ed’s Pro Bowl before taking over at Imperial Lanes.

Imperial Lanes closed in 2005, and the building sat vacant for years, becoming a neighborhood eyesore.

In 2008, a proposal was offered to tear down the building and build 550 to 600 storage units.

City council narrowly passed the zoning change needed for the project. But Mayor David Felinton, citing the strong objections of neighborhood residents, vetoed the decision.

Later, a youth leader from River Cities Community Church unsuccessful pitched the idea of turning the building into a youth center and skate park.

In 2010, two Kentucky businessmen, Brett Setzer of Lexington and William M. Arvin of Nicholasville, purchased the property, demolished the building and built a Family Dollar store.

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