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Kona Lanes
Costa Mesa, CA


Kona Lanes Marquee
Photo by RoadsidePeek.com

The Kona Lanes bowling alley in Costa Mesa has long been an Orange County landmark. Since 1958, Kona Lanes has been home to bowlers and families seeking a fun place to hang out.



Unfortunately, Kona Lanes shut its doors down for good in late May, 2003 and demolition on the building is nearly complete. It's interesting to see how quickly the building has been leveled.

Kona Lanes Marquee today
Photo by RoadsidePeek.com


On a brighter note, rumors are the sign itself has been saved by a sign museum.



The building in brighter colors
Photo by RoadsidePeek.com

The building a month or so prior to closing
Photo by RoadsidePeek.com

The lights are now out at Kona Lanes... for good
Photo by RoadsidePeek.com

A closer look at the famous marquee
Photo by RoadsidePeek.com



Below is an interesting recollection of the events at the Kona Lanes the last night prior to demolition day. Many thanks to P. Caldwell for contributing both the summary of the evening and the photos.

By coincidence, I happened to be at Kona Lanes late its very last night before demolition. Below are a couple photos as the owner (and a few friends) feverishly scrambled to put things in order before wrecking crews arrived the following morning.

Bowling Lanes being taken apart
Photos courtesy P. Caldwell


The additional thirty-day promised extension for vacating, had been suddenly (last minute abrupt without any explanations) withdrawn. Everyone quite unexpectedly had to do a whole lot of major scrambling, to clear out a huge furnished stocked building in only two short days. Needless to say, it was a mess.

The man with the clock is the last owner. At that moment he was enjoying a pleasant victory amidst an unpleasant experience. If I remember the story correctly: His father was the original architect/builder, who then purchased the lanes himself a few years later. Was so fond of them, he bought them back from his earlier clients when they decided to sell. Dad owned it for some years, and then his son (pictured) later took possession for their last and final decade. Consequently, his own history and connection to Kona actually spanned his entire life. That clock face in his hands had been securely embedded into the center back wall, above all lanes since opening day. It was the one thing he wanted to personally retrieve as a memento for himself. However, there were problems. It was built into the wall, and that other clock was ticking. We eventually figured a way to get it dislodged, without completely destroying it in the process. Making this particular singular moment, probably the only happy high point of the entire and rather sad event.



The following is from the July 2003 Preservation Alley archive

Costa Mesa, CA --- Another Orange County landmark destined for the history books?

Once upon a time, in a land not too long ago, unique bowling centers could be found throughout the Orange County area. Featuring unique mid-century architecture like the once wondrous Anaheim Bowl, fantastic marquees like those at the Garden Grove Bowl and Wonder Bowl, or tiki style themes like that at Kona Lanes, a fine bowling experience could be had at one of these ten pin alleys of choice.

Kona Lanes Bowl, still lit up at night
Photo courtesy Adriene Biondo


Sadly, the majority of the bowling centers are now nothing but a fond memory. And threatening to join the list of lost treasures is yet another treasure of yesterday. Kona Lanes.



Kohl's Corporation is looking to build a retail store at the site of the still open and sometimes rather busy Kona Lanes, as well as the neighboring vacant Edwards theater. Help the community save this 1958 historical landmark.

For more information regarding preservation efforts towards saving this grand bowling alley, contact Adriene Biondo.

Many thanks to Adriene Biondo for photos and for bringing awareness to this critical time period for Kona Lanes and Orange County.



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© Copyright 1998-2017 Syd Nagoshi. All rights reserved. No portion of this document may be reproduced, copied or revised without written permission of the author.