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.

Photo by Annie Laskey/L.A. Conservancy

Catalina Casino

Constructed for $2 million, the Catalina Casino was hailed as "a monument to the effort of William Wrigley, Jr. to give Catalina the finest and best the world's artisans have to offer."
Photo by Linda Dishman/L.A. Conservancy

The Stuart Building

With elegant screening, reflecting pools and fountains, and other details, this building demonstrated that industrial architecture could be attractive and appealing, as well as cost-effective.
Mel's
Photo by Jessica Hodgdon/L.A. Conservancy

Mel's

A great example of Louis Armet and Eldon Davis early Googie designs, showing their use of angled rooflines, dramatic signage, and other space-age elements that would become even more angled and dramatic in their later work.