The Marigold Bowl opened in 1941 at 828 W. Grace Street, on the corner of Broadway and Halsted Street. It was owned and operated by Fred Fagenholz and his wife, Myrtle, and became a neighborhood mainstay during World War II, often running seven days a week, 24 hours a day, to accommodate Chicago’s defense workers.
It was in the postwar era that Fred Fagenholz distinguished himself as an advocate for diversity. He disliked the prejudice of the time, and his completely open hiring policies led to a rainbow of ethnicities and cultures. He allowed a Japanese American bowling league into his alleys at a time when others were barring them.
Fred Fagenholz died in 1955, and management was taken over by his wife, Myrtle, and his sons, Howard and Robert. During the late 1960s, when some parts of Chicago were experiencing economic depression, Marigold Bowl kept its doors open to all in the neighborhood. Then came the 1970s.
In the mid-1970s, a gay group, Dignity/Chicago, applied for a league designation at Marigold Bowl. The Dignity bowlers constituted one of the first social gay organizations to be formed in post- Stonewall Chicago, and Marigold Bowl welcomed them—in the tradition of Fred Fagenholz—with open lanes.
Myrtle Fagenholz died in 1987, but sons Robert and Howard plus grandson Freddy continued their family’s legacy by maintaining operations.
In a gentrifying neighborhood, Marigold Bowl closed in 2004, silencing a vital neighborhood meeting and charity outlet for Chicagoans. Because of the open hearts of the Fagenholz family—Fred, Myrtle, Howard, Robert, and Freddy—Marigold Bowl lives in the hearts of the bowling community that found its home and connections there. For that record, Marigold Bowl has been selected as a historic "Friend of the Community."