Henry Bowen was explicit: “A Bowling Alley, to be laid in the best manner with yellow pine plank, leveled with a spirit level and planed off all over with a smoothing plane, the plank to be laid edgeways to be 3 inches wide. Proper gutters to be formed on each side of the Alley and proper leader to be made on the side for conveying the ball back.” Our alley is a little over fifty-three feet long— ten feet shorter than today’s standard bowling alleys.
Ten pin bowling, which was very popular in the 1840s, replaced nine pin bowling in 1841 when nine pin was banned in Connecticut because of its association with gambling and drinking. In short, with a little Yankee ingenuity, they just added another pin to get around the law.
Roseland Cottage’s bowling alley is certainly not the first in the country, but it is the oldest one that remains.
For more information and pictures of the bowling alley, see Locations: Outbuildings and Gardens, Barn section.