Thursday (July 21) marks the 10-year anniversary of the closing of the Van Dyke Sports Center Butterfly Disco. A good part of my childhood was spent there in the late ’70s! I would ride my big red Schwinn 10-speed with a pocket full of quarters to play my favorite pinball machines.
This arcade had everything: a full arcade, pool hall, golf driving range, go karts and even a raging “Disco Dancehall.” Throughout my childhood, I watched the transition from pinball machines to the very first video games.
Since the arcade was little less than 5 miles from my home, it was a staple for my childhood throughout my teenage years. I remember having my first car there- even getting busted by the police for steaming up my windows one night with my girlfriend. A bonus was also the Van Dyke Drive-In in Warren, which was located right next door.
I was never bored during summer vacation. I’ll always remember gathering all my neighborhood friends to spend an afternoon in somewhat air-conditioned comfort, and for those who frequented, you will always remember the strange smell when you walked in the door. Yes, it had its own unique scent.
Fast-forward to 2022, and it looks like the arcade business is coming back. But, I’ll never forget the wonderful memories of my childhood at one of my favorite places to go to to have fun with friends. After they tore down my shrine to my childhood, for those who wonder what became of my favorite childhood place, it is now a thriving Menards Box Store.