Holiday Bowl (building)

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The Holiday Bowl was a bowling alley on Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. It was founded in 1958 by five Japanese-Americans and was a significant part of the rebuilding process of the Nikkei community after internment during World War II.[1] The owners of the Holiday Bowl sold shares throughout the community in order to finance its construction."[1]

Cultural significance[edit]

Located on Crenshaw Boulevard, the Holiday Bowl was important in the desegregation of Los Angeles and served an Anglo American, African American, and Japanese American clientele.[1] The coffee shop served grits, udon, chow mein, and hamburgers.[1] The Bowl operated four decades, and was a cultural, architectural, and recreational feature for the Crenshaw district "as the Hollywood Bowl has for the Hollywood Hills".[2]

The Bowl was built by Japanese entrepreneurs as a combination bowling alley, pool hall, bar and coffee shop in 1958 and served Crenshaw's Japanese residents who "had not long before suffered Manzanar's internment camps and a blanket racial ban by the American Bowling Congress."[2] A Los Angeles Times magazine story noted: "Once haunted at 4 a.m. by swing-shift aerospace workers and nighthawk Central Avenue jazz musicians, the Holiday Bowl, like Leimert Park to its south, remains a concrete expression of community in an era when the whole notion of community has been raised to the level of abstraction."[2] A 1999 LA Weekly story said, "Holiday speaks of Crenshaw’s bright, enduring middle-class dreams, with its ’50s-inspired orange-and-green décor and giant plate-glass window that affords a grand view of Baldwin Hills to the south. Eat your grits and eat your heart out."[3] The article also states that the ownership of the Bowl changed hands several times and offered "a huge cross section of ethnic dishes: Japanese (saifun, yakisoba, donburi), Chinese (a vast assortment of chow mein, pork noodles, foo yong) and black Southern (hot links, grits, salmon patties, short ribs, biscuits and gravy)."[3]

The owner said he took pride in Holiday’s staying power, in its history, and the fact that it was designed by Armet & Davis, "the architectural firm that popularized Googie-style coffee shops and turned diners like Holiday and the nearby Wich Stand into zig-zaggy emblems of L.A. optimism."[3] He said the building was not damaged during the 1992 Los Angeles riots and that people bowled that night.[3]

Architecture[edit]

The Holiday Bowl is considered an example of Googie architecture and was designed by the Armet & Davis architectural firm.[4] The firm is said to have "defined '50s Googie architecture".[2] Helen Liu Fong was the designer at Armet & Davis who is credited with designing the Holiday Bowl.[5]

The Bowl was photographed in stereo for 3-D viewing by Jack Laxer.[6]

Closure, fight to save, demolition[edit]

The Bowl closed in 2000 and was targeted for demolition. Bowl supporters mobilized, persuading the City of Los Angeles’s Cultural Heritage Commission to designate the structure an historical-cultural monument.[1] The building features in historic tours and activities.[7] It is listed as number 688 on the City of Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument list.[4][8] The bowling alley was torn down in October 2003 and replaced with a shopping center. The Coffee Shop, which became a Starbucks Coffee, was spared from demolition along with the signs that were erected for the former alley and the nearby former honda/pontiac dealership. [9][10] Preservationists wanted the landmark saved for its history, cultural significance, and architectural history.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Hollywood bowl History project The Studio for Southern California History http://www.socalstudio.org/collection/holiday_bowl/index.htm
  2. ^ a b c d The Best...The Beautiful...and the Bizarre; THE 'SHAW; Holiday Bowl: Strike or Spare? Ed Leibowitz August 8, 1999 page 8 Los Angeles Times Magazine (preview) [1]
  3. ^ a b c d Erin J. Aubry Holiday Bowl July 22, 1999 LA Weekly http://www.laweekly.com/1999-07-22/eat-drink/holiday-bowl/
  4. ^ a b Scott Kurashige Game Over for Holiday Bowl? Summer 2001Asian American movement E-zine http://www.aamovement.net/community/holidaybowl.html
  5. ^ Elaine Woo Obituaries; Helen Liu Fong, 78; Architect Created Futuristic Designs for Coffee Shops April 26, 2005 Los Angeles Times (preview) page B.10 [2]
  6. ^ Kathy Bryant All Three Sides of the Story; Photographer Jack Laxer brought '50s 'Googie' architecture to life on stereographic film. November 22, 2001 page E2 Los Angeles Times
  7. ^ http://www.holidaybowlcrenshaw.org/community.html#nexus
  8. ^ [3] LA city planning list
  9. ^ Peoples Guide to LA http://www.pgtla.org/tours/crenshaw.html
  10. ^ July 28th, 2008 City project California http://www.cityprojectca.org/blog/archives/886