"Ma" Zott's Center Line Recreation

"Ma" Zott was the wife of Joseph Zott and the mother of Nelson, Milton and Josephine. In 1928, Joseph and his wife sold their farm at the southeast corner of 12 Mile Road and Hoover and moved to Center Line, where they built the Center Line Recreation. "Ma" was the proprietor of Center Line Recreation, which consisted of a 10 lane bowling alley plus a bar and grill that was located at 25325 Van Dyke on the west side of the street, midway between Wiegand Blvd. and Engleman Avenue. Four or six of their bowling lanes were purchased used (they had originally been installed in the 3rd floor of St. Clement School) and the remainder were bought new.

The bar and grill was originally located in the same building as the bowling alleys, but sometime in the mid-1940's, the layout changed when the adjoining building to the south at 25317 Van Dyke became vacant. This building had been occupied by William Sperlich's Funeral Parlor (and before that "C&R Chevrolet") who moved his business to a building on Van Dyke near Voerner Avenue. "Ma" took advantage of this opportunity and acquired the additional space for the bar and grill which was then connected to the bowling alley by an interior doorway. In later years, the business was known as "Ce-Lane Bar" and "Center Line Lanes". The entire block was eventually torn down in the late 1960's as part of the "urban renewal" of Center Line.

"Ma" Zott behind the bar at Center Line Recreation (ca. late 1930's).
She was known as a generous person and also a good cook (click to view full-size image).


"Ma" Zott and her son, Milton "Dutch" Zott, behind the bar at Center Line Recreation (ca. late 1930's)
(click to view full-size image).


Center Line Recreation employees (left to right):
Josephine Zott, Charles Grobbel and Lucille Kunath (ca. 1939).

Josephine was the daughter of "Ma" Zott and she would later marry Richard Carney. Charles and Lucille would marry each other in 1940. This photo was taken in the empty lot just north of Center Line Recreation. In the background is Schuster's Hardware store that was located on the northwest corner of Engelman and Van Dyke. The second story of this building housed the Michigan Bell Telephone Company's Center Line Exchange equipment and operators. The Rinke General Motors car dealership building is visible on the other side of Van Dyke.


Vincent Grobbel worked after school and evenings at the Center Line Recreation bowling alleys as a pin boy. He used this 3 in. x 4.5 in. wallet to hold his family photos when he enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard in March of 1941.


This 4.5 inch long, plastic-handled screwdriver is labeled with the name, address and phone number of Ma Zott's bar and grill, which dates it to the 1940's.

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Webmaster: Mike Grobbel
This page created: 13 Dec 2004; Last revised 31 Aug 2006
URL: http://centerline.grobbel.org/ma_zotts.htm