1896 Oliver C. Ewart Bowling Alley
About the BUILDING
Oliver Ewart, a banker who split time between New York and Mount Vernon, Ohio, purchased the lot at 725 North Dawson Street in 1893 and built a three-level mansion. Three years later, he added this ten-pin bowling lane/shooting gallery/gymnasium for his twelve-year-old son, Robert. Believed to be the second oldest bowling alley left standing in the United States, it is built from heart pine. Pocket doors separate the bowling lane from the gymnasium area, which include twisted hooks on the ceiling to support ropes and swings. The doors also helped maintain heat in the gymnasium section during winter months, while the Ewart family was in Thomasville.
The three-level mansion burned while under the ownership of the Joseph Hampton Flowers family in 1923. While the brick building that now houses the museum was under construction, the Flowers family lived in the bowling alley, adding a kitchen and bathroom addition which has since been removed. Under the ownership of the Roberts family, 1939-1968, the outside was painted green, the inside painted white and wood railings on the porch were replaced by metal piping. The bowling alley was restored to its original style in the early 1990s.
About the TOUR
The building contains more than thirty-five exhibits about the history of Thomas County, as well as the document, photo, and three-dimensional archives that provide the material evidence of what happened in Thomas County’s past.
A guided tour of the Museum grounds begins with a twenty-minute video documentary of Thomas County’s history, with an emphasis on the Victorian-era hotels and the dozens of plantations scattered around Thomas County.
Your docent will then walk you through the 1870 Rufus Smith log house, which was moved to Museum grounds in 1974, and provides a setting to share the story of both the Smith family and yeoman farmers of the period.
From there, you will walk to the 1877 Emily Joyner house, and hear the story of both the Civil War widow who first lived there, and the Flowers’ family nanny, Matilda Calloway, who lived there during the first half of the twentieth century. After the Joyner house, you will visit the 1896 Oliver Ewart bowling alley, built to entertain the winter resident who owned the Museum’s property from 1893-1900.
Following the bowling alley, you will go to the 1940 Roberts’ Garage, which currently houses two Model T cars and two Victorian-era carriages. After the garage, you will return to the Flowers-Roberts House for a self-guided tour of the Museum’s many exhibits, including the timeline-style exhibits in the large Davis Wing addition at the rear of the house.
Monday – Saturday: 10AM – 4PM
725 North Dawson Street
Thomasville, GA 31792
Students (age 6-17): $3
Guests of Members: $5
Group Rate: $6 per Adult
(Groups Must Schedule in Advance)
Schedule Your Guided Tour
Use the contact form to schedule your guided tour today. *Completing this form does not guarantee a reservation slot. After submitting the form someone from our office will contact you and finalize your reservation.