Nelson Recreation Center

In the 1890’s George NELSON ran a business in the building next to the Drug Store. He sold soft drinks, coffee, candy, nuts, fruits and lunches. It is thought he had one pool table. His first day of business showed an income of 90 cents, which George thought not too bad!

In 1903 George NELSON bought the old Brewster Hotel property. He took possession April 1 and remodeled it into a pool hall and bowling alley. The work was done by P. REIFENBERGER.

The rules regarding pool halls as set forth by the village council were thus: “There shall be no card tables or playing of cards therein, or throwing or shaking of dice, nor persons under eighteen year-of-age allowed therein and all windows shall be free from screens and obstructions.”

In 1906 a partition was put in the pool hall so that the restaurant part might be open on Sunday. In 1907 Mr. NELSON applied for a license to operate a pair of bowling alleys. It was granted at a cost of $10, also a license for two pool tables at $15 per table. Ray CLARK assisted Mr. NELSON, while he was ill in 1908.

By 1911 business had boomed and George built an addition on the pool hall. He also installed a new soda fountain. The next year new plate glass windows were added. By 1913 he was real up to date with an automatic carbonator for soft drinks.

In 1916 a pool tournament was held between the married men and single men, the singles winning by 83 points. The married men set up an oyster stew at the City Café.

In 1922 a new ice house was built behind the pool hall and inside the pool hall were installed a new malt and root beer fountain. In this same year George purchased an old Ford which he fixed up to haul ice. It must have been a real good one, it lasted as long as the ice business and created quite a bit of excitement in later years with Mrs. Roy NELSON at the wheel!

In 1923 Fred BRIGHT was the winner of the bowling tournament. In 1929 George NELSON passed away and the business has been continued by his sons.

By 1936 the foot prints on the sands of time had almost completely worn out the floor, thus a new floor was put in and a new front bar which runs the entire length of the building.

In 1940 an addition was built on the side toward the street housing four modern bowling alleys. At the dedication just preceding its opening to the public, Mr. L.E. JOHNSON, president of the Brewster Association acted as M.C. Mayor FREY proceeded to roll the first ball on Alley 1, the ball going into the gutter. Supt. LOKKEN succeeded in getting 2 pins down. Mrs. Fred KOSTER of the local Civic Club hit a few and L.E. JOHNSON performed on Alley 4, and they were open to the public.

The first strike was made by a novice and a lady, Mrs. Russell OLSON. The present NELSON Recreation is run by Roy, Alfred and Harris NELSON.

Nobles County Genealogy

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