How farmers opened a Tehachapi bowling alley, bar and restaurant
Mountain Tales- First-hand stories of life in Tehachapi
May 11, 2019
Mountain Tales are accounts and recollections of life in the Tehachapi Mountains, collected over decades by Jon Hammond.
"I (Jim) started school in Tehachapi in 1932 when I was 7 years old. For awhile we lived up in Antelope Canyon at the old lime kiln camp, staying in the main cook shack. I joined the Navy when I was 17, and when I got out, I went to work for my friend Bud Lutge, who owned the Newhall Dairy. In 1953, Bud bought the Antelope Valley Dairy and my wife Teri and I moved to Lancaster, as did Bud and Helen Lutge. I worked at the dairy, and Terri and I also bought 40-acres near 70th St. East and Avenue G and raised alfalfa and 10,000 laying hens."
"In the early 1960s, Jim and I (Teri) and the Lutges decided we wanted to try something besides farming and dairying, so we went in together and built a bowling alley, bar and restaurant on Tehachapi Boulevard. We opened Mountain Lanes on New Year's Eve, 1963 – it was chaotic that night! A lot of Tehachapi residents were enthusiastic but didn't really know much about bowling or how leagues were run, so I helped educate them. Jim went to bartender school to learn that aspect of the business, all four of us – Bud, Helen, Jim and I – were active in running the company.
We started with just a dining counter but expanded to additional booths and eventually a full-fledged restaurant. In 1973 we added a motel – the Best Western, the first chain motel that ever opened in Tehachapi. We had 28 rooms, and the swimming pool was shaped like a bowling pin as a tie-in with the bowling alley. We decorated the rooms with 40 oil paintings by our daughter Sheri, who is a talented artist – all three of our kids are very creative. The last addition was the Mountain Village Liquors convenience store and gas station, which we opened in 1977. We had a great partnership with the Lutges, and we were just farmers wanting to get into another occupation."
- Jim and Teri Frerichs