The shuffleboard courts at 300 E. 2nd St. were the place to go for fierce competition, but it was a terrible place to pick up girls. That’s according to Jim Blake, who spent many a night in early 1949 playing shuffleboard with his uncle. Not long after Blake played on those courts they were covered up when the Thrifty service station was built on the site.
The courts were rediscovered this weekend when Dylan and Samantha Bayshore began removing asphalt to build an outdoor patio for their new brewery (“Secret history uncovered at site of new brewery”).
Most people – including Alicia Clark, curator of the Sanford Museum – never knew shuffleboard courts existed on that site. Blake remembers the courts, and he said he would try to picture in his mind where the courts were located whenever he passed that location.
“I thought they were a little closer to the wall of the dry cleaners on Palmetto,” Blake said. “Honestly, I didn’t think the courts existed anymore. I figure they got tore up when they put in the tanks for the filling station.”
It was an older crowd that populated the courts when Blake played there. He lived with his aunt and uncle, Eloise and Neil Engle, the first four months of 1949 before returning to Geneva, N.Y. to graduate high school. The Engles lived in the 400 block of South Palmetto Avenue.
His uncle worked for the accounting firm Pentlan and Gray, which had offices on the top floor of the old Florida Atlantic Bank building (which is now the Wells Fargo Bank building). Blake and his uncle were joined by his uncle’s father-in-law Finch Huminston, who lived at 310 S. Palmetto Ave.
“It was a popular retiree sport,” said Blake. “That was the evening thing to do back then.”
There was no building or lights on the site, just a vacant lot with six or eight shuffleboard courts and a rack for the pushers.
“It was not a friendly game,” said Blake. “It was very competitive, they took their shuffleboard very seriously. I was 17, so I had girls on my mind. Unfortunately, there weren’t many teenage girls hanging around the shuffleboard courts.”
The Pig ‘n Whistle, located on the south east corner of Park Avenue and 25th St., was the place to go if you wanted to find high school girls, Blake said.
The Pig, as the kids called it back then, was torn down decades ago, but thanks to some back breaking labor by the Bashores, Sanford is rediscovering shuffleboard courts at Palmetto Avenue and 2nd Street.
If you have information about the shuffleboard courts, contact me at The Bokey Facebook page or send me an email to BokeyNews@gmail.com.
– by Dan Ping