Party in the Basement! Indoor Recreation during the Golden Age of Reynolda

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Party in the Basement! Indoor Recreation during the Golden Age of Reynolda

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In 1935, Mary Babcock, the elder daughter of R.J. and Katharine, renovated the basement to express her ideas of the good life. In her mother’s day, the basement was largely unfinished with the exception of a room with showers and changing stalls for use after tennis and swimming in the outdoor pool. Mary built the winding staircase to connect the lower level to the Reception Hall.

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Mary turned her home into a place where she and her family could have fun with friends by offering them a choice of popular indoor sports: bowling, ping pong, billiards, riflery, squash, swimming, and roller skating. Black rubber floor tiling, installed throughout the entire area, served as durable surface for skating. Mary also added a squash court to the recreation area, encouraging a new sport that arrived in this country from England in 1884.

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The shooting gallery patented by William Mangels at Coney Island in 1928 was stocked with 22-caliber rifles. A switch starts a motor that rotates the targets, and a pulley at the upper right takes paper targets to the end of the gallery. The most difficult target to hit was a ping pong ball bouncing on spout of water. Brunswick Bowling and Billiards of Muskegon, Michigan, supplied the bowling alley equipment and billiard table.

Most of the remodeling and renovation took place in 1935-36, with the indoor pool completed by 1937.

More: Check out another historic house bowling alley at the Frick mansion in New York.

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/guide/inaccessible-new-york-the-frick-collection-bowling-alley/


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