The Marigold Bowl and Arcade
The Marigold Bowl and Arcade was a bowling alley that opened in 1941 at 828 W. Grace Street in Chicago, on the corner of Broadway and Halsted Street. It was owned and operated by Fred Fagenholz and his wife, Myrtle, and became a neighborhood mainstay during World War II, often running seven days a week, 24 hours a day, to accommodate Chicago's defense workers.
It was in the postwar era that Fred Fagenholz distinguished himself as an advocate for diversity. He disliked the prejudice of the time, and his completely open hiring policies led to a rainbow of ethnicities and cultures working for and patronizing him. As an example, he allowed a Japanese American bowling league into his alley at a time when others were barring them. Fred Fagenholz died in 1955, and management was taken over by his wife, Myrtle, and his sons, Howard and Robert. During the late 1960s, when some parts of Chicago were experiencing economic depression, Marigold Bowl kept its doors open to all in the neighborhood.
In the mid-1970s, a gay group, Dignity/Chicago, applied for a league designation at Marigold Bowl. The alley welcomed them. The Dignity bowlers constituted one of the first social gay organizations to be formed in post-Stonewall Chicago.
Myrtle Fagenholz died in 1987, but sons Robert and Howard plus grandson Freddy continued their family's legacy by maintaining operations.
In a gentrifying neighborhood, Marigold Bowl closed in 2004. In 2006 the business was named a historic "Friend of the Community" in the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame.
- "MARIGOLD BOWL FRIEND OF THE COMMUNITY Inducted 2006". Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
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