Wednesday, June 27, 2007

When Bowling Was King

Curbed LA posted this YouTube video yesterday, a mini profile of Chris Nichols who just published a book on Bob’s Big Boy architect Wayne McAllister. He’s been a leader in preserving and saving mid-century modern structures as former president of the LA Conservancy’s Modern Committee.

It’s a nice little piece on Chris, but it’s doubly interesting because it features very briefly Covina Bowl. There are very few structures in Covina now that vividly evoke the city’s years of rapid growth from orange groves to suburban living. Those still standing have fallen into disrepair, while most have been razed and in their place stucco buildings have gone up. Covina Bowl still stands, but I continually think it won’t last either. Inside it’s not in the best shape even though its pyramid entrance is still a striking design element. Nowadays there are more “fun” bowling alleys to go to (Lucky Strike?) but Covina Bowl is a reminder of the days when bowling was at its most popular. It wasn’t just for kids, teenagers with nowhere else to go before their curfew is up, or the parents who were dragged there. Everyone went bowling!

As evidence of what Covina Bowl was like fifty years ago, just check out one of my favorite slides from Charles Phoenix. This woman is enjoying some fine dining at Covina Bowl.

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