Club News

About TheGame

Area Map

Free Lessons

Club Contacts

How Lawn Bowls are Made

History in U.S.

Oaks North Center

USLBA Home Page and Links

World Wide Links to Clubs and News

Return to Oaks North Home Page


History of Lawn Bowling in the United States

The following article is reproduced by permission from the American Lawn Bowls Association

Although the American Lawn Bowls Association was not founded until 1915, the sport of lawn bowling can trace its American beginnings back to the 17th Century when English Colonists brought the game to the new land.

A bowling green was built at Williamsburg VA in 1632, and the game is still played there today on a beautiful green behind the Williamsburg Inn. A Colonel Hoomes built a green on his estate at what is now Bowling Green VA in 1670. Many other of the new states named a town after this ancient sport played in England since the 12th Century.

The bowling green you see today in New York City's Central Park was preceded by many others, the first being a green built by the British in 1664 when they took over the city and named it New York. That first green was erected on the parade ground of Fort Amsterdam, where today the U.S. Customs House sits.

In 1732, George Washington's father put in a green at Mount Vernon, and in that same year a bowling green was established in Battery Park in New York City.

But lawn bowling faded in the early United States of America after the American Revolution (1775-1782), when newly independent citizens began to take an increasingly dim view of the customs and games of their former governors. The sport apparently disappeared in this country for almost a century until Scottish immigrants revived it in the late 19th Century, they started lawn bowls clubs in New York state, New Jersey and Connecticut, beginning in 1879.

By World War I, the spread of lawn bowling and clubs from coast to coast led to the founding of the American Lawn Bowls Association in 1915. Bowlers from Buffalo, Brooklyn and Boston met at the Lafayette Hotel in Buffalo on July 27 that year to form the sport's first national American association.

Played exclusively and then mostly by men in its early days, lawn bowls has attracted many women players in this century. Women bowlers founded their own association in 1970. Today the American Lawn Bowls Association and the American Women's Lawn Bowls Association work closely together to govern and perpetuate the game they love.