JAVA LANES in Long Beach - Is it too late?

ARCHITECTURE AND PRESERVATION NEWS for the Los Angeles Conservancy Modern Committee (ModCom) and other Mid Century Modern, Googie, International, Art Deco, 20th Century design

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JAVA LANES in Long Beach - Is it too late?

Postby Futura Girl » Thu Feb 12, 2004 3:16 pm

FROM OTTO at Tiki News...

"Java Lanes, the bowling alley that has stood on Pacific Coast Highway for 46 years, will soon be torn down and replaced with townhomes if a plan for the development is approved this week.

Today (Thursday, February 5, 2004) the Planning Commission will take up a request by Brookfield Homes of Costa Mesa to build 79 condominiums on that site, plus an adjacent parking lot.

[Long Beach, CA] City staff recommends approval of the project. If it is approved it can move forward. However the City Council ultimately will need to vote on the planned zoning change for the site."

The plan was approved unanimously.

Java Lanes is one o' the few remainin' "Polynesian-style" buildings of Googie architecture left from their heyday o' the late 50's an' early 60's. Anyone who's been their will tell ya what a bitchin' place it is, with its steep angled roof an' "B-O-W-L" sign out front.

I guess this is jus' another example of cities tearin' down ever'thing that makes this Southern California.

Say goodbye to Southern California an' say hello to "Homogenous California".
'Til Later,
The HEARSE DRIVER

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Postby SpaceAgeCity » Mon Feb 16, 2004 3:54 pm

Is anyone mounting an effort to save Java Lanes? If not, does anyone have thoughts on how to get the ball rolling?

Chris

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Postby The HEARSE DRIVER » Mon Feb 16, 2004 5:05 pm

I've written to our city councilman, the Long Beach Historical & Preservation Society, an' various reporters for the Long Beach Press-Telegram without any replies.

I'd be happy to mount an effort to save this way-cool building/landmark....unfortunately I'm ignorant on how to do it.

Any help would be beau coup appreciated!
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Postby Futura Girl » Mon Feb 16, 2004 5:29 pm

Can you make it to the modcom meeting on tuesday night? This should be on our URGENT ACTION LIST!!!

You can probably get a lot of questions answered at this meeting...http://www.lottaliving.com/bb/viewtopic.php?p=5408#5408

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Postby SpaceAgeCity » Mon Feb 16, 2004 6:56 pm

Unfortunately, (as usual) I can't get to L.A. in time for the meeting, but I hope someone can add the resulting action plan (if any) to this thread.

Even if (God forbid) it's too late for Java, we should have a contingency plan for saving the sign and some other key design artifacts.

The loss of Kona Lanes was sad -- But I think Java would be even worse. Kona was slowly stripped of its original charm over many decades. When it fell last year, only a hint of its former Googie glory remained.

In contrast, Java still has MANY of its original distinguishing features intact.

CJ

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Postby The HEARSE DRIVER » Mon Feb 16, 2004 9:28 pm

I'm sorry but I can't make it to the meetin' in time, but thanx for the invite!

However, I found out from a friend who talked to the manager of Java Lanes this weekend that Java Lanes has not been sold an' "is not for sale". The bad news is that it appears Long Beach IS attempin' to re-zone the area to force Java Lanes out an' enable a real estate developer to turn it into the dreaded townhomes.

So, I guess the threat ain't as imminent as I first reported, but no less serious. Maybe this gives us a li'l breathin' room to get our ducks in a row an' protect Java Lanes.

BTW, the original article from the Long Beach Press-Telegram that started me on this is here: http://www.presstelegram.com/Stories/0, ... rch=filter
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Wasn't there a drive-in

Postby modfan » Wed Feb 18, 2004 8:02 am

movie theater in that vicinity of the Traffic Circle at one time.
Seems like that got demolished too, I think for townhomes too....

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Postby The HEARSE DRIVER » Wed Feb 18, 2004 4:03 pm

Yer right 'bout the drive-in. The Circle Drive-In used to be a few block from Java Lanes on PCH. It was torn down in the late 80's an' replaced with office buildings an' townhomes.

***LATEST NEWS ON JAVA LANES***

I jus' got off the phone with John McNaughton from the office o' Long Beach city councilman Dennis Carroll, an' accordin' to him, the destruction o' Java Lanes is a done deal!

Apparently, Java Lanes has been sold to Costa Mesa-based Brookfield Homes for the construction o' townhomes....across the street from townhomes....aroun' the corner from townhomes....down the street from townhomes.

The only hurdle left is the re-zonin' o' the lot, an' that appears to have the backin' o' the plannin' board an' city council.

Does anyone know if there is anythin' that can be done? What do I need to do to save JL? I'm new at this, but I'm passionate 'bout this style, this era, an' this buildin'!
Every day is Halloween when ya drive a hearse!

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Postby Adriene » Thu Feb 19, 2004 5:27 pm

Java Lanes was called out as a resource but the mitigating measures only require Brookfield to photo document it and preserve the sign by warehousing it 'til it can be relocated. Between the unanimous vote of Planning and the various complaints the bowling alley has consistently received over the years from neighboring residential areas, chances are we will not be able to save Java. Nevertheless, I encourage all of you to write letters, call your councilman, and let your voice be heard. http://www.ci.long-beach.ca.us/support/webemail.htm

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Postby Adriene » Thu Mar 18, 2004 2:39 am

While Java's still standing, let's generate a groundswell of support!

I've posted the issue here http://www.recentpast.org

and drafted an online petition which just went live: http://www.ethical-business.com/default ... il&pet=974

Please forward to everyone you know!

Maybe we'll even have to organize a Tiki rally...Java should stay!

Thanks everyone, Adriene

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Postby So_Cal_Native_in_Texas » Thu Mar 18, 2004 10:30 pm

A bowling alley that receives complaints from neighbors? Like what, it isn't bland and cookie cutter enough?

Here in Houston there are still bowling alleys, and they're popular too! The one nearest me is a midcentury design, I think, but hardly of the distinct Googie or Exotica/Polynesia styles.

:( Seems the wrong type of people are buying up properties around SoCal and flattening them. The only way to save these kinds of properties, for sure, is to buy them, refurbish/restore them, and keep them well maintained, before some development corporation buys them and (being a development corporation) makes the brilliant decision to lay waste to a long-beloved landmark.

Honestly, the only thing that really makes people sit up and listen is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Tie any restoration or "Save the _______" efforts to the property owner's bank account, and they just might do the right thing.

Barring that, buildings have been known to be purchased in their entirety and moved to a different location. Check out the Lasky-DeMille Barn across from the Hollywood Bowl. It used to be on the Paramount Lot.

We can only hope that Java Lanes, or elements of it, can be saved from the wrecking ball. In fact there's little need for a wrecking ball to even be used, and Brookfield Homes can develop the property the way they want.

Save it or move it, but don't let it be destroyed! If they can transport the original London Bridge across the Atlantic and have it wind up on the Colorado River in the desert, they can bloody well move a bowling alley from Long Beach to somewhere a little further inland! Old places are cool, they just need lots of TLC and affection!

I think we need to develop our own little group of real estate entrepreneurs who go around saving existing midcentury properties, restoring them, and getting them registered as historical landmarks whenever possible. Aren't y'all sick of watching it all fall down before your eyes? We can DO something here! We can and should take action to keep the tidal wave of destruction from wiping out all the good places left in Southern California!

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Postby Adriene » Tue Mar 23, 2004 10:46 pm

We have 68 signatures -- thanks everyone! Keep it circulating. http://www.ethical-business.com/default ... il&pet=974

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Postby Adriene » Sat Mar 27, 2004 2:55 am

I can e-mail a flyer to anyone who'd like to help us get signatures. E-mail me at astroluxe@mindspring.com

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Postby The HEARSE DRIVER » Wed Mar 31, 2004 8:54 pm

Jus' thought ya might be interested:

The Phantom Coaches Hearse Club is havin' their April meetin' in the parkin' lot of Java Lanes this Sunday, April 4th beginnin' at 12 noon 'til 'round 3.

Java Lanes has been a regular meetin' place for the PCHC, so this is gonna be our "wake" for the proud, yet doomed buildin'.

If ya'd like, please swing by an express yer condolences, bowl a few frames, or jus' enjoy the beauty of a bygone era.

Java Lanes is located at 3800 E. Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach, CA.

Besides, when do ya get to see a buncha hearses all together?
Every day is Halloween when ya drive a hearse!

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Postby Adriene » Mon Apr 05, 2004 7:34 am

I was at Java Lanes yesterday with friends handing out flyers -- the situation is URGENT! Please let the City know we want Java Lanes to stay. The Long Beach Unified School District previously pulled out when they discovered a fault runs under Java Lanes. The project is located in the Newport-Inglewood Fault Zone which is designated as the Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zone -- but Brookfield Homes of Costa Mesa plans to build condos right over the fault!

Here is the link to phone numbers and e-mail addresses for the Mayor & Councilmembers:

http://www.ci.long-beach.ca.us/support/webemail.htm

Thanks to everyone for supporting the incredible Java Lanes!

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Postby Adriene » Tue Apr 06, 2004 11:01 am

It's time to organize a rally ASAP -- they have pulled the demolition permit for Java Lanes. PLEASE KEEP THE ONLINE PETITION IN CIRCULATION -- WE NEED TO PUT UP A FIGHT AND LET PEOPLE KNOW THIS IS HAPPENING! E-mail me for an updated flyer -- we need volunteers to copy and distribute them!

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Java Lanes

Postby Sharpnoiz » Thu Apr 08, 2004 10:57 am

There are over 300 signatures on the petition now!

I was just introduced to Lotta Livin yesterday and have been active about circulating the petition/flyers since Monday. To be honest I didn't take the sad news seriously when I heard it a few weeks ago. Since the plans for the school development fell through a couple of years ago on the property, I didn't pay much attention at first.

Fortuneatly there's a board like this to keep informed and contribute to on a regular basis. Any further suggestions or help needed, let me know.

I'll be at Java on Friday to get a few games in and pass out some flyers while I'm there. Thanks, by the way to Adriene for supplying the petition, flyers, and energy to keep the ball rolling on this.
***
~Stephanie

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Postby Adriene » Thu Apr 08, 2004 3:25 pm

So happy for the local support -- thanks, Stephanie!

It would be great if Huell Howser/KCET's California's Gold would cover Java Lanes before it's too late!

Let's all let him know -- e-mail him at huell@calgold.com

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50s Bowling Alleys

Postby Synthetrix » Tue Apr 13, 2004 7:26 pm

Well I figured I better get down to Java Lanes and take some photos for the site before it's gone forever. You can check them out along with pics of the Kona Lanes and the still operating El Dorado Bowl at
http://63.249.135.19/synthetrix/bowl/index.htm
There are links to sign the petition as well.
***
Synthetrix Photos of the Forgotten
http://photosoftheforgotten.synthetrix.com/

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Postby Futura Girl » Wed Apr 14, 2004 1:00 am

passed out flyers at VLV this weekend... have a stack that went untaken - who wants to get 'em?

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Postby Adriene » Wed Apr 14, 2004 9:56 am

Thanks M-M for circulating flyers at VLV -- and Vic, thank you for putting up a Save Java Lanes page - really appreciate that! Adriene

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Postby Adriene » Wed May 12, 2004 12:17 am

I am very sad to report that the last partner has signed off. Java Lanes will be closing its doors forever on June 1st.

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7/10 Bowling Club - Say Farewell, May 30th

Postby MsJVonFink » Fri May 21, 2004 3:11 am

Started up a bowling club! No, not a league, just a get together for the hipsters who know that a good game of bowling and a drink or two is where it's at! Coming to a different L.A. mid-century era bowling alley the last sunday of every month:
Http://www.710BowlingClub.com

Our first meeting @ Java Lanes! Sunday May 30th, Meet 6:30 & Bowl 7:00.

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Postby nichols » Mon May 24, 2004 10:07 am

710? I think we're gonna send a MODCOM contingent down there to join you on Sunday. Thanks for setting a date.

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Be there or be square

Postby MsJVonFink » Mon May 24, 2004 4:14 pm

Hey glad to hear it, the more the merrier! Spread the word, and see you there.

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Saturday contingent

Postby swell-a » Fri May 28, 2004 2:05 pm

I'm headed down there Saturday morning 11am - 2pm with a few folks to shoot some footage and interview some of the staff. If anyone wants to come on down and give their two cents, we'd love to have you. Footage will be going up on the swell-a website.
thanks,
Hilary

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Hello

Postby cielophoto » Sat Jul 03, 2004 7:29 am

Java Lanes is closed but not forgotten. I am so happy to have found such love and support for Java and for prevervation of cool buildings. I'm a photographer and I have documented exterior and interior photos in the few weeks after Java Lanes closed. The exhibit is called "Lost" and it's a one night event on JULY 17, 2004 from 7-10pm in a San Pedro studio. For more info: www.cielophotography.com.

Cielo Roth-Calderon

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Postby TwinJim » Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:43 pm

I finally got down to Long Beach to pay my respects to Java Bowl yesterday. The ominous chainlink
fence with the green vinyl fabric had the place surrounded. The marquee still stands with it's farewell to the patrons, but I seem to have missed the remarkably vivacious BOWL sign. It was placed in storage I read in this forum, right? So a few clicks of the camera and I coast the bicycle down PCH; another piece of the past recorded but gone.

On the topic of Bowling lanes, a group of us, greatly influnced by "The Big Lebowski" made an afternoon of it at Montclair's Bowlium on Holt Blvd recently. A friendly outfit there. We spoke to the manager who's run the place for a little over a year. He seemed quite proud of the fact that his parent company put a lot of money into the Beverly Bowl in Montebello last year. I almost asked why him they thought it was an improvment to remove the big classic sign but let it pass.

The only hope to save the remaining lanes is:
1. use them
2. Hollywood makes the "sport" popular once again with another Big Lebowski or King Pin
3. Johnny Depp or some celeb type admits to the press they bowl
[/u]

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Postby nichols » Wed Jul 07, 2004 6:00 pm

When you go to these places and talk to management
-- push 'em! Really tell 'em what you think. If you see some corporate person hanging around, jump 'em and explain how important that roofline is.. why they shouldn't remove signage. Get in on it! I never let a chance get away to let some business owner/manager that I am there to spend time and money precisely because it's an architecturally/historically/culturally important place and if we all keep pressing, maybe they will hear us.

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Postby TwinJim » Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:37 pm

The manager of Bowlium was quite delight to see his establishment featured in Charles Phoenix guide book to the Pomona Valley, which I brought along to our little roll party. He had special interest in the vintage image of Bowlium's original signage, now lost. He did have the original artist rendering of the place in his office yet the sign photo got his attention. These owners need to be made aware that a good many of us frequent a classic bowling alley, for example, because there's still some elements of the past remaining; the more the better. Sure, you want the place fairly functional too, but the owners respond to economics mainly.

But thanks for the pep talk/talking points, Nichols. If he told us he was about to take down HIS signage I would have latched on to his pant leg till the cops arrived. Hey, I dig that shot of you and John English doing some asphalt theatre to save the old Downey McDonalds some years back.


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