Inside Stories

Rex-collections: Who Remembers the Rex?

Looking to tap the collective knowledge of all of the Inside Lowell historians among us – and we know there are many!

The current location of Middlesex Community College’s Cowan Center at 33 Kearney hosts the primary academic and administrative classrooms and offices for the college for its city campus.

Prior to the college inhabiting the hexagonal shaped facility, it was, for a brief period of time, the Wang Training Facility.  And just prior to that a vacant parking lot.

But long before that – for decades, in fact – the site at 33 Kearney Square played host to the Rex Center – home to all things Rex-Ish a grille, banquet halls, a ballroom, a Turkish bath, and bowling, to name just a few.

Wondering who out there Inside Lowell – and beyond – has any recollections of times they may have spent at the Rex and want to share their stories with us through the comments below.  There’ll be a historical perspective written in the coming weeks, and your feedback would be much appreciated.

Do you remember the great fire of June 25, 1960?  Did you rack up a game or two at the pool hall?  How about a perfect game at the bowling alley?  Regardless of your memory – sordid or not – drop us a comment below and let us know your Rex-Collections of the facility!

4 responses to “Rex-collections: Who Remembers the Rex?”

  1. Sandy Okeefe says:

    My father, Bernie McCormack along with Marty Burke were the head bartenders at the Rex. Many a day after school at the immaculate conception, I would walk down to the Rex and sit in the corner of the bar, and my father would have a glass full of cherries and a little bit of Coke waiting for me. I remember well, the day of the fire, my father was ironing his shirt for work when it came over radio I think he was listening to WLLH that the rex was on fire. He and I both ran down to the Rex. I think l was 11 years old.

  2. My Dad, Eddie Gath, also worked their. He worked with Bernie and Marty many of nights

  3. Nick Valcanas says:

    I remember my brother and I, 10 and 9 years old, were with our mother at Irene’s Hair Salon, my mother’s hairdresser. The salon was on the second floor of the the building that housed Metro Music and Martins Clothing. The building next-door to the Strand Theater a short distance from Talbots and Harry Bass on Central Street, diagonally across from McQuade’s, ok sorry I digress. My mother was having her hair set when we heard all the noise of fire trucks and police cars, not nearly as loud as todays sirens but we new there was something big going on. Miss Irene went to the back room and spotted the fire from the back window of her salon. The great thing was that the building was built over the canal so there was nothing to block the view. The building has since been torn down, it ran along the Central Street Bridge. Miss Irene told my brother and I that we could stand by that window to watch the fire.
    Oh, it was so amazing watching that “big gigantic fire” of the Rex building as water from the
    fire-hoses poured into the billowing, “gigantic fire and stinky black smoke” and then seeing the huge roof collapse and the brick walls falling into the canal. “WOW! awesome! ” It was quite the experience for a 10 and 9 year old to watch. My brother and I often recall that experience we had together. An “Awesome” memory to say the least.
    Sad that the Rex had to burn down but the silver lining is the great building and institution that that stands in its place today.

  4. David Brother says:

    I remember that the Rex advertised 64 lanes of bowling, in itself a prestigious number. When you walked in, at my size, you saw a sea of pool tables. Bowling pins were set by a “pin boy”. One pin boy took care of two lanes. As he sat rather precariously on a divider between the two sets of pins, must have potentially been dangerous work when the pins got smashed. I want to say it may have cost 15 cents to bowl a string.

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