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 proposed project by Trumark Homes LLC currently plans to retain and rehabilitate a portion of the Covina Bowl. The Conservancy has been meeting with representatives from Trumark and the City of Covina to discuss this plan. In February, 2020 we submitted comments on the Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the proposed project.
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.
In February 2020, the City of Covina released a Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the Covina Bowl site. Preliminary plans call for the partial reuse of the historic building that will preserve the main character-defining features. The proposed project will demolish Powers, Daly, and DeRosa's 1962 addition to construct approximately 136 new multi-family units on the site.
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.