Man says he's found 160 bowling balls under his Michigan home

Man says he's found 160 bowling balls under his Michigan home

July 15, 2021

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It turns out bowling balls aren’t a great foundation for a house.

David Olson, 33, is learning that firsthand now that he’s discovered the home he purchased in Muskegon, Michigan two years ago is built on top of old bowling balls.

Olson told Fox News he began to discover weathered bowling balls buried under his home and yard at the start of July.

He and his wife are the second owners of the home they currently live in with their three children.

Olson claims they received a house inspection before they finalized their purchase, which noted the “cement stairs were kind of leaning into the house” and needed to be demolished.

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When Olson made time to remove one of the stair’s loose cinderblocks on July 1, he soon found out that old bowling balls were the culprit, he said.

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    David Olson, 33, tells Fox News he found bowling balls in his stairs on July 1, 2021, when he decided to remove a loose cinderblock. (David Olson)

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    According to Olson, the weathered bowling balls were stacked in a gridwork pattern. (David Olson)

Olson said so far he’s removed 160 bowling balls in total and has documented the process in his public Facebook group titled, “The Bowling Ball Guy.”

In a phone interview with Fox News, Olson said he was initially concerned with his apparent discovery because he wasn’t sure if he was dealing with “some kind of dumping ground” with “hazardous material.” But, after he contacted the manufacturer of the bowling balls – Brunswick Bowling Products – he soon found out the old pieces of equipment likely came from a plant the company had in the area back in the 1950s.

A marketing manager for Brunswick Bowling told Fox News the company’s Muskegon bowling ball plant was located on Laketon Avenue from 1906 to 2006, which is not the same location where Olson’s home is now.

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    Olson says Brunswick Bowling Products confirmed to him that the bowling balls were manufactured in the 1950s. The company reportedly had a plant in Michigan at the time. Reps at Brunswick did not return Fox News’ request for comment. (David Olson)

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    Some of the discovered bowling balls are completely intact while others are damaged or are in broken fragments. (David Olson)

Olson said he eventually smashed up the rest of the loose cement and found “a gridwork of balls stacked up” in between what appears to be poured sand.

Some bowling balls were completely intact while others were damaged or in broken fragments, Olson noted.

While Olson said he’s removed several bowling balls near the area where his leaning stairs are, he has apparently spotted more under a few cement stones that make up his patio, which he had to move to level it out.

“I noticed there was gridwork of bowling balls underneath that too,” Olson said. “So, my estimate is there’s probably at least just as many in the ground still as there are above ground at this point.”

When asked about the home’s builder, Olson said he believed the original builder and homeowner is a man who died in 2016, according to independent research he’s done.

“From what I’ve dug up about his past he had owned a machine shop in the West Michigan area. My assumption is that he had some contact at Brunswick during the late fifties and was building the house and needed to fill in a bunch of voids basically,” Olson theorized.

Olson said that he’s heard from past Brunswick workers that the old plant used to have an unlocked dumpster where people potentially had access to disposed of scraps. 

“I’m thinking that’s kind of how it all ended up. There was a guy that needed to fill a void. The balls were cheaper than dirt. So, he kind of went with that route,” Olson added. “I feel like you wouldn’t get away with that nowadays.”

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    Olson tells Fox News he and his family have been left with a "sea" of bowling balls. (David Olson)

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    In total, Olson recovered 160 bowling balls but he says there’s plenty more under his patio. (David Olson)

In the meantime, Olson said he and his family have been left with a “sea” of bowling balls. Roughly eight have been donated, but now the toolmaker and father of three thinks he’ll keep as many as he can for a creative display or garden edging.

As for the international attention Olson has received from his unusual home find, he said he “had no idea it was gonna go this far.”

“Now that I’m at this point, I just want to convey that I noticed on that post where I read thousands of comments, but it seemed like everybody on there just had really positive and constructive things to say. That’s kind of rare these days,” Olson added. “I just want to use this kind of platform in front of the world and just tell everybody we’re all human and let’s put our differences aside and just be positive.”

Olson and his family currently have a GoFundMe campaign set up to help with demolishment costs.

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