Sault Legends: Frank Doherty

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This week’s column came from digging through the archives at the public library downtown on East Street.

I came upon an old Sault Star headline from 1982. The article talked about a young Frankie Doherty who, with some help, came up with an idea that is commonplace in bowling alleys today.

Bill Mitchell was the proprietor of the Centennial Bowling Lanes on Gore Street back then.

The lanes hosted a class from Anna McCrea School every Tuesday morning, including 12-year-old Frankie Doherty.

Doherty had difficulty standing because of a disability and bowling was a task for him.

So he drew up a sketch of a device that night make it easier for him to bowl.

He brought the sketch to his teacher David Steenburgh. Maynard Grasley, a welder, put it together.

So with the drawing and Bill’s theory, that if the bowling balls were returned in one way, they could be delivered the same, Doherty’s disability wasn’t a hamper to his bowling any more with the new device.

As pictured, it was basically a shute that the bowling balls could coast down to the lane when placed at waist-height, near the top.

Doherty bowled over 100 every game after that and the lanes were a highlight to his week as well as the other 19 students of that class.

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Christopher Shoust
Christopher Shoust, Dip. J, BFA (honours), is a working artist in Sault Ste. Marie, who primarily works as a painter, writer, sculptor, filmmaker and reporter for SaultOnline.com He is excited to be a part of the SaultOnline team and has great things to contribute!