By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — The former owner of the Southport Lanes bowling alley in Lakeview is selling off the business, and everything inside will be auctioned off.

Among the items up for sale will be everything from the antique pin setters to the bowling lanes themselves.

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The owners said a $70,000 grant from the State of Illinois was not enough to reopen the bowling alley and keep it going as hoped.

The auction will be held online from July 13 through July 20.

Southport Lanes, 3325 N. Southport Ave., closed in late September of last year.

The experience there was like stepping back in time. It was a place where people, not machines, set the pins – and it was one of the few places left in the country where that happens.

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The building was built in 1900 by Schlitz Brewery and was originally named the Nook. It was renamed Southport Lanes in 1922. And if the walls could talk, you probably wouldn’t want to know what they’d say.

“This was an old speakeasy, where supposedly, there was a den of ill repute upstairs,” general manager Phil Carneol told CBS 2’s Marissa Parra in September. “Supposedly, there was gambling in the back.”

Southport Lanes’ website notes that there is still a dumbwaiter that was once used to bring refreshments to the escorts at the brothel upstairs and their clients. There is also a legend that Mayor Anton Cermak once held a weekly poker game in one of the secret rooms.

After prohibition, a new addition was built east of the bar room. It originally housed a gambling facility with ties to racetracks round the country. As the website put it, “In essence, it was an illegal off track betting parlor.”

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But those same walls that survived Prohibition, the 1918 flu, and world wars did not survive COVID-19.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff