Vintage Pins: SoCal's Classic Bowling Alleys

A+D Museum remembers the iconic mid-century architecture in a new exhibit.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame
    Southern California bowling alley architecture is remembered in a new A+D Museum exhibit.

    It's a funny commonality we all likely share and never give a second thought. If you're asked to describe Southern California style of the '50s and 1960s, what places or businesses do you cite as prime examples?

    Old-school diners, probably. Motels and gas stations, too. Suburban tract homes, sure. And, without fail, people summon the following two words: bowling alleys.

    How the bowling alley became synonymous with the cutting-edge mid-century architecture will be considered in the new Architecture and Design Museum exhibit "Bowlarama: California Bowling Architecture 1954-1964."

    The Miracle Mile museum is lining up the proverbial pins for the show's one-month run, a run that launches on Friday, April 11.

    The show considers the "space-age recreation center" that "reinvented the sport of bowling in the 1950s." "(P)hotographs, drawings, and original drawings" will tell the Googie-flavored, neon-whimsical story. And who's at the helm of the curating ship on this one? Mr. Chris Nichols, that maven of LA modernism.

    Of course, lively buildings housing bowling lanes haven't fully disappeared from the SoCal landscape, but the wrecking ball has met more than a few. And while the zigzag roofwork and outlandish signage sometimes needs a buff-up here and there, fans of bowling alley arcana can still sense the spirited style of yore.

    It hasn't been all gutter balls for iconic bowling architecture, in short. See the show then seek out your favorite alley for a little post-museum recreating.

    "Bowlarama: California Bowling Architecture 1954-1964" runs at the A+D Museum from April 11 to May 11.

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