Windham Life and Times – May 15, 2020

Windham Mid-Century Modern – 1960

The Trampoline Pit Craze

The year, 1960,  saw the craze of the trampoline pit sweep across America. Windham was home to one of the first trampoline “centers” in New Hampshire, which was located next to Sandy’s bowling alley on Route 28. I know what you’re thinking, “that seems like a lot of fun,” and it was until you bounced off the thing and you landed on your head. This was a phenomenon like many in the 1960’s that was a “hit and run.” These places opened up and were extremely popular but serious accidents soon forced their demise. I remember the pits at Sandy’s and the night we were there a young girl lost her doll down in the pit and she began screaming at the top of her lungs to get it back. The attendant climbed down through the springs and retrieved it for her, and the screaming ceased.

This is the grand opening report from the Derry News: “The Trampoline Tumbling Craze which began in California as ‘kiddie-bait’ at drive in theaters has arrived in the Derry area. Local participants, however insist that it is no craze but actually a health gimmick good for the figure and weight control.”

“John P. Brown, the motion picture actor turned circus star, popularized the trampoline in 1906 and it has been standard equipment under the big top and in gyms across the country ever since. When the ‘kangaroo carpets’ were installed outside Sandy’s Bowladrome in Windham recently, passing motorists were mystified at the number of jumping people, wondering if an out of space invasion were on.”

The trampolines were an immediate hit with the people of all ages, shapes, and sizes in the Derry area. Many Derryites including Dick Laney, have become very proficient in a short time. Some go for the acrobatics, but many enjoy gentle bouncing as an aid to digestion and for keeping the body beautiful.”

Trampolining which was a popular act on the American stage since 1789, is thought by some to be dangerous to life and limb. Actually statistics indicate it is safer than Little League Baseball. For more bounce to the ounce, the place to go is Sandy’s Bowladrome in Windham.”

“Caption for the photograph above: “BOTTOMS UP — Derry’s Dickie Laney shown in temporary ‘orbit’ at Sandy’s Bowladrome trampoline area in Windham, has the poise and polish of an old time circus performer. It may come as a surprise to learn that this flight was taken after only a few trips to the popular Windham exercise spot. Experts say he could become one of the best.” Yumpin’ Yiminy! Trampolines were open from 1 p.m. to Midnight, and cost 50 cents for a 1/2 hour.

 

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