When it comes to sports and a US President, the sport that usually comes to mind is golf. With its ancient origins and prestige status, it does seem appropriate. However, that is not the sport of topic for today's history lesson. You just might be surprised. It's bowling. The White House Bowling Alley is a one-lane bowling alley in the basement of the White House under the North Portico. Do you know which President was responsible for the first bowling alley at the White House?
This Day in History: April 25, 1947
Bowling lanes were first built in the ground floor of the West Wing as a birthday gift for President Harry S. Truman in 1947 (in the location of the present-day Situation Room); Truman didn't care for bowling himself, but allowed staff to start a league.
In 1969, President and Mrs. Nixon, both avid bowlers, had a new one-lane alley built (paid for by friends) in an underground workspace area below the driveway leading to the North Portico. Check out the images HERE...[Source: The White House Museum]
Harry S. Truman - Therapeutic Recreation
In the 1950s, Truman’s in-house alley was scrapped in favor of a printing press room and moved to the Old Executive Office Building across the street.
The Situation Room was born out of frustration on the part of President Kennedy after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. He felt that he could no longer trust the information coming to him from the various sectors of the nation's defense departments. McGeorge Bundy, President Kennedy's national security advisor created the Situation Room in May 1961. Bundy secured the funds and secured the space: the Truman-era bowling alley was removed. Under the president's orders, every department of the defense sector had to feed the Situation Room staff their information, day and night. Early on, a lone CIA intelligence analyst worked a 20-hour shift in the Situation Room, sleeping on a cot there during the night. [Source: The White House Museum]
This is America, folks!
Know America's history!
Know America's Flag
Bowling with Mr. President beneath the White House