Remodeling your existing space can be be far more rewarding than just buying a new one entirely. There’s something special about creating a brand new section that can really accentuate what is already there.
One day, a couple named Sue Hansen and her husband, Dr. James Hansen, decided to remodel an early-20th century building as opposed to simply buying a brand new one. Almost fifteen years after setting up shop there, Sue randomly noticed that there were some odd looking marks down on the floor one day. After digging a little bit deeper into her discovery, she eventually realized that there was something amazing lying right beneath the floorboards of their old two-story building!
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For 14 years, a dentist named James Hansen worked out of a first-floor office at 68 Milton Avenue in the village of Ballston Spa, New York. However, back in 2011, he and his wife, Sue, decided to buy the entire two-story building themselves – which is what eventually led them to making such a bizarre discovery underneath the floor.
Ever since James had started working in the building almost fifteen years prior, he had frequently noticed that nobody ever really paid any attention to the building’s second floor, which was always just known to be used as a vacant storage area. However, after purchasing the property as his own and then deciding to renovate it in 2014 – all of that all suddenly changed.
The main goal when they began their renovations was to turn the once-unused second floor into a beautiful new apartment space. Everything was going well, but then one day, when a contractor began ripping out some of the centuries-old flooring, he immediately noticed something odd. Underneath the old and worn out first layer of wood flooring was actually a second layer of wooden paneling. This section of the floor featured strips of wood that alternated between light and dark in color – which reminded the contractor of something familiar…
To him, the pattern on the floor looked like similar to one that you might see while at a bowling alley. Sure enough, after removing more of the top-layer of flooring, he began to find more and more evidence to support his theory. At the far end of the apartment, there were ten metal disks that were all arranged into a pyramid formation on the floor. The disks had holes in the center of them, which allowed small pegs to pop-up through the holes. But what could they possibly be used for?
It quickly dawned on her that the holes were situated in that order so they could hold up a set of bowling pins! After doing some more research, she discovered that the building was once used as “candlepin” bowling alley – which is a version of bowling where the pins are a bit more narrow and tall, and the balls used to knock them down are a bit smaller in size. Pegs operated by a foot pedal hold the pins in place so that the bowlers have a consistent pyramid of pins every single time.
No previous owner of the building at 68 Milton Avenue had ever bothered to remove the ancient bowling lanes, even after all these years! Nearly a century had gone by, but the foot pedal that operated the pin resetting device somehow still worked just fine. This was truly amazing.
Sue was incredibly interested to learn the history of the old building, and she was particularly curious to know who exactly had decided to install a bowling alley up there in the first place. During her research, she was amazed to find out that after a massive fire had destroyed the building back in the year 1901, a man named Herbet B. Massey decided to rebuild it with a tavern on the first floor and a bowling alley on the second. Almost like a pre-war Dave and Busters!
The building had “been a lot of different things over the years,” according to Sue. She wasn’t kidding, either. Since commercial use of the building originally began, the first floor had come to serve as an office for the Boy Scouts, a space for lawyers, and of course, a dentist’s office. Sue said she “definitely never imagined a bowling alley and a restaurant, though.”
Sue also dug deeper into the history of Herbert B. Massey himself, too. “He was such a character,” she said. “He was kind of on the edge of being illegal, but at the same time, from what I’ve read, he also bordered on being a neat freak.” There was no doubt that he was quite the interesting fellow, indeed. Herbert had once lost his liquor license for selling alcohol on a Sunday, and he frequently allowed illegal gambling to go on within his establishments.
So, what did Sue ultimately do with the building? Well, in the spirit of H.B. Massey himself, she found a unique way to actually keep one of the candlepin bowling lanes installed right inside of her new luxury apartment! It resides in the kitchen, it’s fully operational, and it definitely adds a centuries-old flair onto a modern new space.
When Sue and her husband set out to renovate their newly purchased property, I don’t think they could have ever been prepared to discover such a cool piece of history hiding right underneath the floor. Kind of makes you want to start pulling up your own carpet, no?
Take a look at their amazing renovation below:
(Would you keep the ancient bowling alley if you found it hidden within your home? Let us know down below, then go ahead and leave this story a like, and hit the ‘subscribe’ button for more amazing content!)