Few museums in the country offer as detailed a glimpse into the Gilded Age as The Frick Collection. Henry Clay Frick was one of the most successful (and ruthless) "robber barons" of the era. He constructed his palatial New York mansion as tribute to himself and his triumphs. A veritable treasure trove of beautiful artwork, the house that Frick built has since passed into gentler hands and is open to the public as a must-see gallery.
The public cannot go into the basement, however. Modern fire codes keep visitors from entering and while there isn't much art to see, there is something beautiful.
Hidden away from prying eyes is an ornate, handcrafted bowling alley.
Devoid of any automatic pinsetting conveniences, the alley is in fact quite sophisticated. While the pins must be replaced by hand, a clever hand-powered ball-return saves some effort.
A simple chalkboard is used to keep score. A little more civilized than those zany animated scoreboards in modern alleys.
Intricate woodwork, stone, and plaster make for a very luxurious bowling experience. Amazingly enough, these beautiful lanes cost only $850 to build. Before inflation, of course.
The art is the main draw for visitors and few know about the true masterpiece downstairs.
The lavish, beautiful house itself also pulls people in as one of the few Gilded Age palaces you can still see in their original condition.