One of Southern California's rare, surviving mid-century bowling alleys could be threatened with irreversible alterations and/or demolition.
Covina Bowl closed its doors in March 2017, and its future is now 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 owners of the Covina Bowl have been marketing the property to potential buyers.
In 2017, Watt Communities had expressed interest in purchasing the Covina Bowl site and redeveloping it for a new housing development. The Conservancy met with Watt Communities to discuss the potential for a preservation-minded project, but their proposal would have demolished much of the Covina Bowl and the developer ultimately withdrew from escrow. 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.
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 owners had begun altering some of Covina Bowl's significant features, including its signage and interior concourse.
In the spring of 2016, we nominated the building 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 >>
Now that Covina Bowl is closed, the fate of this building is uncertain.
Please email the City of Covina and tell them that this building should be saved and repurposed as part of any future development, not demolished.
City of Covina
Mayor Kevin Stapleton: firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Community Development, Brian K. Lee: email@example.com
Please copy Marcello Vavala at the Conservancy (firstname.lastname@example.org) on any emails so that we can track progress. Thank you!
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.