Search for Boston and New England memories

Anyone Remember the Wallex Recreation Complex in Waltham, Mass.?

Wallex Bowling Alley Photo:
Sometimes the genius of humanity resides in its simplicity and the former Wallex Recreation Complex in Waltham, Mass., certainly tapped into that condition.

Starting in the 1940s as a 20-lane candlepin bowling alley, the complex became a huge Boston area travel attraction when the bowling alley expanded in the 1950s and 60s, a roller skating rink opened, and much later on, the addition of a really good mini golf course, as well as kiddie rides and a ice cream and snack bar. I always thought, "The people who thought this up and made it happen should win some kind of humanity award." Wallex was just so much fun!

The legendary "Candlespins for Cash" TV show filmed segments here and word has it that many celebrities frequented the place when in Boston. I never saw any celebrities, just a certain group of self-perceived popular kids from Arlington High School who regarded themselves as celebrities (in their own minds) -- that is, until they graduated and the story changed for them. I remember my folks dropping us and the Flaherty kids at Wallex, and just having a great time with lots of laughs and many bad bowling and mini golf scores. I know it has happened to others, but it was always hysterical to see someone accidently aim the bowling ball badly into the adjacent lane, or start out in good form but have the bowling ball end up at the scoring table rather than the pins.

Like what they did to Paragon and Whalom Parks, big business came in and took away all the fun. Gone were the days when I broke 70 in candlepin bowling, accidently hit mini golf balls onto the busy main road, and becoming twisted by the sugar overload from too many soft serve twist ice cream cones.

In all fairness, the Wallex Recreation Complex did begin to show its age with some wear and tear, especially at the bowling alley. Everything came to an end in 2002, and now the site houses a CVS and Staples. The great memories, however, can never be taken away.


  1. Yes! For some reason, Wal-Lex was the site of many of my worst "friends' birthday parties" memories. I hated it so much. And *everyone* had their birthday party there growing up. Wow. I haven't thought about Wal-Lex in maybe 20 years.

    By the way, I just stumbled across your blog, and as a kid who grew up in suburban Boston who loves to reminisce, this is my new favorite site on the Internet. Please keep the posts coming!

  2. Also: Memories of my dad reading the Sports TV Ratings section of the Globe every Sunday morning and lamenting that "Candlepins for Cash" pulled more viewers than college football.

  3. Hi Benjamin, Yes, I can identify like some kid that put one of his worn socks in my birthday cake. The trauma lingers to this very day.

    I am glad you are enjoying the site and appreciate your kind words. We will post more articles shortly! If you have any places you'd like us to cover, please let me know. Thanks!

  4. Used to go miniature golfing there more than bowling. Our favorite candlepin lanes were in a basement in Lexington Center. 3 strings, shoes, a hot dog and a coke for a buck.


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