Parkview Lanes bowling alley manager Jan Pierce said a lot of tears have been shed since the establishment's official closing Monday.
"The last couple nights we have cried a lot. Monday was awful," Pierce said Wednesday morning after days of working to clear out the building. "There's a lot of different emotions -- angry, sad."
She said the poor economy was to blame for the closing of the bowling alley, which was constructed by Pierce's father, Don Frank, at the location just behind the park in 1993.
"The economy has gone downhill. The kids aren't interested (in bowling) any more. They are into video games and sports, but this isn't a sport they are interested in," Pierce said.
The bowling alley opened under the ownership of Frank and his wife, Carlene, in 1993. Carlene Frank ran the bowling alley until she passed away unexpectedly in 2002.
In 2003, Pierce and her husband Jay took over management of the establishment, and have worked at the bowling alley for almost 10 years.
Pierce said a Linton bowling alley had been a part of the community as long as she could remember, noting the one prior was owned by Pat Sparks and located where American Rental is now.
The first bowling alley in the county was opened in the 1950s by Waldon Jones on West Vincennes St. above an old plumbing shop.
Pierce said she would miss the friends she made during her years at the bowling alley.
"We have met all kinds of people. ... We will miss our friends more than anything. They are like family to us. These people would come in three, four and five times a week. We played cards and we did karaoke," Pierce said.
She added the employees had become close family members. Employees Debra Cullison, Jenny Burdette and Steve Miller had been working at the bowling alley since Pierce had taken over. Katelynn Cherry was been hired within the last month, but Pierce said she had quickly bonded with the other employees.
"Debra Cullison has been here since the place opened in 1993. She used to work at the old bowling alley, too. She has been the longest employee here and she is very dedicated," Pierce said. "She is torn up about it."
Pierce added she will miss having the local Special Olympics team practice in preparation for the state competition.
"We always enjoyed that they don't have a care in the world. They are fun to be with and fun to watch," Pierce said. "Last week was the last week to practice before they went to state. I'm glad we were able to stay open long enough for that."
Since the closing of the bowling alley Monday, Pierce said she has been overwhelmed with the support of her customers and the community during the difficult time.
Members of the local Greene County Shrine Club and Elks Lodge showed up to help get the building cleaned up, including Todd and Bren Heaton. Members of the bowling leagues, Jamie Woodward and Dan and Theresa Carpenter, also visited to help with clean-up.
"Our daughter, Tabitha Wright, and her friend came out to help. If it weren't for her we'd still be here looking at everything," Pierce said.
Pierce said she hopes someone will purchase Parkview Lanes so it can re-open for the community.
"I hope somebody gets it and opens it back up. There really isn't anything for the older community to do around here. Now people will have to drive to Washington, Sullivan or Terre Haute to bowl," Pierce said.