Covina Bowl | Los Angeles Conservancy
Covina Bowl, following its closure. Photo by Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy

Covina Bowl

Good news! As of January 17, 2023, the Covina Bowl is now a designated local landmark in the City of Covina. This was the result of the recent partial preservation rehabilitation effort, and to ensure the Covina Bowl is protected for the future. The Conservancy thanks the City of Covina, Trumark Homes, and preservation consultant and historian Jennifer Mermilliod for their help in making this a reality.

Win-win outcomes often come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes involve partial preservation approaches. The 1956 Covina Bowl is a good example, an effort that the Conservancy, our Modern Committee and the Friends of Covina Bowl led for the past few years. This began with our successful effort to have the Covina Bowl officially determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Since its closing in 2017, the fate of the Covina Bowl remained in limbo with rapid deterioration. As of June, construction on the new Covina Bowl redevelopment kicked off with a plan that retains the core of the Covina Bowl while marrying it with a new housing development by Trumark Homes. While not perfect preservation, the Conservancy worked closely with the City of Covina and Trumark Homes to find a win-win solution that retains many of the character defining features, including the Polynesian themed entry and coffee shop for the Covina Bowl Project.

While historic preservation and housing are often characterized as being mutually exclusive, that’s often not the case as both can occur. As the Covina Bowl eventually reemerges in its new form and use, the Conservancy thanks all involved in helping to ensure this win-win outcome!

One of Southern California's rare, surviving mid-century bowling alleys remains empty and in deteriorating condition, at times threatened with irreversible alterations and/or demolition.

A project by Trumark Homes LLC will retain and rehabilitate a portion of the Covina Bowl. The Conservancy has worked closely with representatives from Trumark and the City of Covina to discuss this plan.

We submitted comments on the Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the proposed project in February 2020 and the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in February 2021. In March, the City certified the Project's EIR giving a green light to the proposed redevelopment.

Covina Bowl closed its doors in March 2017, and its future has remained uncertain. A coalition of local advocates, Friends of Covina Bowl, has formed to advocate for the preservation and sensitive reuse of this irreplaceable landmark.

Following its closing, the long-time owners of the Covina Bowl marketing the property to potential buyers. Concerns mounted as the building was left open and heavily vandalized. In July 2019, the Covina Bowl came under new ownership.

The Conservancy is working with the new owner to review plans and ensure the building maintains its eligibility as a historic resource. We will continue to advocate for a win-win solution for the property that preserves the Covina Bowl building while incorporating new development on the site.  

Before Trumark Homes took ownership, numerous real estate developers expressed interest in purchasing the Covina Bowl, including Watt Communities in 2017. Most expressed interest in purchasing the Covina Bowl site and redeveloping it for new housing development. The Conservancy met with Watt Communities and others to discuss the potential for a preservation-minded project, but various proposals would have demolished much of the Covina Bowl. Ultimately developer after developer withdrew from escrow.  

While the Conservancy successfully nominated the Covina Bowl to the National Register of Historic Places in 2016, the building currently lacks local protections that would ensure that future modifications respect its historic fabric. The City of Covina currently has a D+ in the Conservancy's Preservation Report Card due to the limitations of its historic preservation ordinance.

Completed in 1956, Covina Bowl is a Googie masterpiece that blends modernism with elements of Polynesian and Egyptian exoticism. Architectural firm Powers, Daly, and DeRosa—widely recognized as a master of the form—designed the A-frame building to house a lively bowling alley and cocktail lounge. 

In late 2015, the Conservancy and our Modern Committee learned that the long-time owners had begun altering some of Covina Bowl's significant features, including its signage and interior concourse.

In the Spring of 2016, the Conservancy nominated the Covina Bowl to the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of its contributions to postwar architecture and recreation. The State Historical Resources Commission voted in favor of the nomination during its meeting on July 29, 2016, and it was officially found to be eligible for listing by the Keeper of the National Register in Washington, D.C. on September 19, 2016. As a result of being determined eligible for the National Register, it was listed on the California Register of Historical Resources. Click here to read the application >>

Join the effort! Local residents have created the Facebook page Friends of Covina Bowl to help advocate for the preservation and sensitive reuse of this irreplaceable landmark. Like the page to stay informed and help speak up for preservation.