Ten Pin Alley Saloon

Virginia City Historic District

Virginia City grew up almost overnight after William Fairweather found color in Alder Creek. Miners rushed to the rich diggings, leaving Bannack, Montana’s first major gold camp, practically a ghost town. Among the Bannack merchants to follow their customers to Virginia City was J. E. McClurg, who opened a mercantile here with partner James Ptorney. The false-front Greek Revival style building later accommodated other tenants, including Meyer and Koerner’s Ten Pin Alley Saloon (circa 1873-75). A popular nineteenth-century male sport, bowling was not the respectable pastime it later became. Bowling was originally played with nine pins; entrepreneurs added the final pin to circumvent laws banning the game, and ten pin bowling was born. In 1899, Wells Fargo & Co., originally located a few doors east, moved to this location. In the turbulent 1860s and 1870s, the famous stage company provided an essential link to the outside world, but by 1899 rail travel had almost displaced the stagecoach. The last stage departed in 1910 and the building was abandoned until restoration in 1945 by Charles Bovey.

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308 West Wallace Street, Virginia City, Montana ~ Public