Covina Bowl | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by John Eng

Covina Bowl

Southern California has a few mid-century bowling alleys that survive intact and unscathed, a testament to the glory days of the building type. One of the most exuberant is the Covina Bowl on San Bernardino Road, a Googie masterpiece beckoning bowlers, diners, and revelers of all kinds to come sample its exotic offerings.

Completed in 1956, this bowling alley was designed for brothers Louis, Leonard, and Angelo Brutocao by architectural firm Powers, Daly, and DeRosa, widely recognized as the masters of the form. Between 1955 and 1962, the firm designed nearly fifty bowling alleys in California, creating destinations that were far more than just a few lanes: they included restaurants, cocktail lounges, banquet rooms, and lavish decorations to attract a clientele far beyond the members of the local bowling league.

The Covina Bowl features a steeply pitched A-frame roof over the main entrance, its pyramid-like shape combining with vaguely Egyptian decorative themes to evoke a sense of escape and exoticism.

Although it is more Polynesian than Egyptian, with its rock cladding and soaring roofline, it is unquestionably Googie at its best, flamboyant and playful, with colorful interior details to match. Inside the building, a cocktail lounge once featured Egyptian statuary, and wonderful mid-century light fixtures and terrazzo floors still survive. The Covina Bowl is a stunning example of the Googie bowling alley designs that were perfected by Powers, Daly, and DeRosa and provided inspiration throughout the country in the postwar period.

Brunswick Sands Bowl interior
Photo by Jessica Hodgdon/L.A. Conservancy

Brunswick Sands Bowl

The Sands Bowl's Googie-esque, Egyptian-themed design is a great example of a bowling center in the "California style," with cocktail lounge, sunken dining room, and exotic decor.
Santa Fe Art Colony
1916 building that originally housed the C.B. Van Vorst Company, now known as the Santa Fe Art Colony

Santa Fe Art Colony

Originally built to house the operations of C.B. Van Vorst Furniture Manufacturing Company, since 1988 it has been home to live/work artists as the Santa Fe Art Colony. In June 2019, the Conservancy nominated the building for local Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) recognition.
Photo by Michael Locke

Union 76 Gas Station

Originally designed for LAX, the most amazing gas station in Southern California is widely recognized as one of the best examples of Googie design in the world.