Covina_Bowl_1
The Covina Bowl was designed by architect Gordon Powers and is a masterpiece of 1950s Southern California Googie bowling alleys. Photo courtesy of When We Were Home.

Southern California is known for its many intact Midcentury Modern architectural treasures and this year marks the 62nd anniversary of one of its best and brightest; The Covina Bowl, an unapologetically showy shrine to the sport of bowling and all its kitschy trappings.

Built in 1956 for the Brutocao brothers by Powers, Daly and DeRosa, an architectural firm that designed dozens of these kinds of atomic-age destinations in the post war years, the Covina Bowl boasts an exaggerated A-frame roof over its main entry, with flagstone cladding, period lighting, unexpected Egyptian and Polynesian decorative flourishes, and a 60-foot tall classic Googie sign.

But that’s not all, in addition to its massive 50-lane bowling alley (expanded from 32 lanes after opening), Covina Bowl had a diner, a cocktail lounge, banquet rooms and much more. In fact, when this joint opened sixty-two years ago at 1060 W. San Bernardino Road in West Covina, it was one of the most glorious bowling centers in its heyday; an exciting Googie showpiece and entertainment palace for the whole family.

Covina_Bowl_2
The bowling center’s 60 foot tall hourglass-shaped sign represents classic Googie design.
Photo courtesy of Ken MacIntyre.

 

Covina_Bowl_3
Flagstone cladding, Mayan-style textile blocks and a folded plate roof porte-cochère greeted guests at the bowling alley’s main entrance. Photo courtesy of Ken MacIntyre.

Unfortunately, that was then and this is now.

Despite an outcry from a small but devoted fan base (Friends of Covina Bowl), The Covina Bowl was shuttered in early 2017 after many years in decline and is currently a time capsule awaiting rescue.

The building is eligible for placement on the National Register of Historic Places, meaning it could still escape the wrecking ball in one form or another.