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Vanishing Boston

A field guide to Boston's 'lasting' treasures — to be enjoyed before they're razed in favor of chain stores


Sacco's Bowl Haven (Somerville)
In Harvard Professor Robert D. Putnam's book Bowling Alone, a rueful meditation on the decline of community-strengthening "social capital" in this country, he points out that fewer and fewer Americans join up with civic organizations. More people are bowling, but far fewer are members of bowling leagues. Well, Sacco's, the candlepin establishment in Davis Square, has a bowling league. Old-school. Like every-damn-thing else about the place, from its dûcor (practically unchanged since it opened in 1939) to its Coca-Cola vending machine (no booze here) and its nubby little scoring pencils. The first time you set foot in there it feels as if you're stepping back in time; it's also hard to shake the thought that that probably means it won't be around much longer. But it still is — for now. There were rampant rumors Sacco's was due to be closed earlier this year and turned into office space. Fortunately, that deal fell through. Owner Joe Sacco, whose family has been in the bowling business since the 19th century, is still looking to sell, but he's professed a desire to find a buyer who'll keep the balls rolling. Still, it's possible that, one day, the percussive clatter of the last strike will fade into the vanished past. "We're trying to keep it a bowling alley," he told the Somerville Journal this summer, "and if we don't succeed, then we will consider other options."

— Mike Miliard

SACCO'S BOWL HAVEN | 45 Day Street, Somerville | 617.776.0552

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