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
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
building in brighter colors Photo by RoadsidePeek.com
building a month or so prior to closing Photo by RoadsidePeek.com
lights are now out at Kona Lanes... for good Photo by RoadsidePeek.com
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.
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(last minute abrupt without any explanations) withdrawn.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
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?
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
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
Many thanks to Adriene Biondo for photos and for bringing awareness
to this critical time period for Kona Lanes and Orange County.