A Blog About the Environment, Land Use, Preservation, Politics and Life, In and Around Shoreline, WA
Search This Blog
Thursday, January 21, 2010
[Blog post] R.I.P. Sunset Bowl and the Future of Other Bowling Alleys: What Would the Dude Think?
Interest in Historic Preservation, can take many forms. Here is an article from the MAin2 Blog on a place from the mid 20th Century that is now lost, Sunset Bowl. Many icons from this period have already disappeared. We have some buildings here in Shoreline which are also valued, such as The Crest Cinema. Here's hoping it will continue to thrive as one of the Landmark Theatre chains most popular local sites. It may not be fancy, but it works. (Still only $3!)
We have many worthwhile places in Shoreline worth highlighting and saving, which would increase our economic viability if preserved as a cultural asset and promoted as such. Lets think creatively, and make Shoreline the best it can be, without throwing away the past.
R.I.P. Sunset Bowl and the Future of Other Bowling Alleys: What Would the Dude Think?
Bowling alley in WA state / Photo: UW Special Collections, Art Hupy Collection, Hupy 0242-10
Ballard’s Sunset Bowl was demolished yesterday. As first reported by My Ballard, a group of former employees walked through the building one last time to say their goodbyes. Sunset Bowl, built in 1957, had been closed since 2008 after the property sold to Avalon Bay Companies. Plans for redevelopment of the site for a new apartment building have been approved by the City of Seattle but according to a statement from the developer to My Ballard, development is not yet moving forward. A landmark nomination was submitted by the developer as part of the process but Sunset Bowl was not nominated by the Landmarks Preservation Board because it did not meet any of the criteria for listing. Efforts to save Sunset Bowl by a passionate group of advocates were not successful.
Although demolition of the Sunset Bowl building has been expected for some time now, the question of the value of bowling alleys in our communities comes to play. Each year, more and more of these one-story boxy buildings with large surface parking lots are being torn down. Few may stand out architecturally, but their significance for communities as a place for sport and social interaction cannot be denied. Most bowling alleys contain not just bowling lanes but also restaurants and lounges—they are multi-generational, community gathering places.
Bowling alley in WA state / Photo: UW Special Collections, Art Hupy Collection, Hupy 0242-20 The land value for these properties is usually high and the lots present themselves as attractive redevelopment sites. Leilani Lanes, built in 1961, met the same fate in 2007 when it was demolished to make room for a proposed multi-family residential project which has yet to be built. The Leilani Lanes property was sold to developer Michael Mastro in 2005 and foreclosed in 2009. The property remains a gigantic empty lot—not exactly the “best and highest use” is it? Seattleites can still go bowling at the West Seattle Bowl (built in 1948 and renovated in recent years), Imperial Lanes (1959), and Magic Lanes (1960).
It’s interesting to note that all of these bowling alleys date from the mid-twentieth century when bowling as a sport was embraced by the masses. The game grew in popularity in the early 1950s when production of the automatic pinspotter was introduced more widely. The historic and architectural significance of buildings housing bowling lanes has been recognized in other parts of the country but they are no less endangered. The Holiday Bowl in Los Angeles was declared a City Historic–Cultural Monument for its cultural and architectural significance but landmark listing did not save the bowl. The Googie style Holiday Bowl, designed by Armet & Davis and constructed by five Japanese-American businessmen in 1957, catered to a multi-cultural neighborhood in LA’s Crenshaw district. The bowl, its coffeeshop and bar (called Sakiba) served as important community gathering spaces for many ethnic groups, particularly for Japanese-Americans whose bowling leagues thrived at the Holiday Bowl. The bowl closed in 2000 and was demolished in 2003, despite an impassioned effort by many to save it. It was replaced by a Big 5 Sporting Goods store, but the Holiday Bowl’s story lives on as a chapter in the book, Sento at Sixth and Main.
Another Los Angeles bowling alley that was torn down in the last decade was the Hollywood Star Lanes, featured in the cult-classic film, “The Big Lebowski.” The place where “the Dude” bowled was demolished in 2003 (a bad year for LA bowls) by the Los Angeles Unified School District for construction of an elementary school. At least it’s not just an empty lot. With the Sunset Bowl now gone, Ballard has two big empty lots on NW Market Street within a couple blocks of each other.
Note: the images for this post were chosen to show the beauty of the mid-century modern bowling alley. They are photos of an unknown bowling alley somewhere in Washington state. Let’s celebrate these places for what they were and what they mean now.
Crest Cinema photo credit - Shoreline Historical Museum
• Douglass Squirrel sighted in Briarcrest by Chris Southwick Feb 2012
• Cottontail Rabbit sighted in Briarcrest Neighborhood Nov 1st. Did not look like a domestic "bunny!"
• Coyote spotted in Paramount Park Meadow, just sittin'. 3/11
• Varied Thrush sighted in Paramount Park Neighborhood 2 & 3/11
• Townsends Warbler photographed in Highland Terrace Neighborhood 1/11
• Blackheaded Grossbeak sighted near Paramount Park last Fall
• Great Blue Heron sighted at Hidden Lake in Boeing Creek basin
• Barred Owl sighted in Thornton Creek Park #1 near Jackson Park, 8/10
• White crowned sparrow identified in Highland Terrace/Aurora Square neighborhood
• Blackheaded Grossbeak sighting in Hillwood neighborhood
• Two Raptors sighted in Shoreline. Osprey and Merlin have been documented at Ronald Bog and Echo Lake respectively this summer (2010)
• Pacific Chorus Frog heard in Shoreline's Hillwood Neighborhood
• Three types of warblers identified in Briarcrest neighborhood in May and June
• Red Breasted Sapsucker Banded in Briarcrest Neighborhood of Shoreline
• 4/16 - Mating pair of Pileated Woodpecker seen yesterday in Paramount Park. They were utilizing some "snags" (dead trees) which were placed in the wetland restoration area with a KC Wildlife Habitat Grant in 2002. The Pileated Woodpecker is considered a "Priority Species" by WDFW. The pairs mate for life and make their nests in cavities they excavate in dead trees with their sharp beaks. They eat insects and grubs they find in the dead wood.
• Great Blue Heron seen today at Thornton Creek Par #6 eating two fish in five minutes. It's interesting to note that it took many years to get the City of Seattle to realize that there are fish living in Thornton Creek, only 2-3 blocks from Northgate. In the design of the Thornton Creek Water Quality Channel at Northgate, fish passage was a non-negotiable issue. The Great Blue Heron is considered a Priority Species by WA State.
• River Otter Spotted at Kruckeberg Botanic Garden! The Garden does not have a river running through it, so we were startled to see what appeared to be a river otter (Lutra canadensis) passing through recently. River otters live in rivers, streams, and coastlines. With water repellant fur and webbed feet, these playful members of the weasel family are designed for swimming and catching fish, their main food. However, they often wander far from water in search of a mate or new living area, surprising the unsuspecting staff of botanic gardens. The Kruckeberg Garden is near the headwaters of Storm Creek.
• Wood Ducks seem to be happily proliferating at Thornton Creek Park Six near Northgate. With the help of stewards, beavers and other species, habitat is improving at this little "wild" urban paradise. Despite a jungle of invasives there is a wetland habitat (improved by beavers) that suits the Wood Ducks. Today, 13 were sighted in the branches of a fallen cottonwood. 13 Wood Ducks Today!
• Beaver families have been moving in and building habitat around our urban watersheds, especially into Thornton Creek. Here is a photo a "creative engineer" naturally utilizing the creek corridor at Thornton Creek Park #6, which is a wetland waiting for better "engineering".
• At least 40 bird species have been sighted at Paramount Park over the last 20 years and more. The Barred Owl is one visitor who is watching over us.
• 12 birds at Greenlake today including Western Grebe, Bufflehead, Great Blue Heron and Hooded and Red-breasted Merganser
Janet proudly served on Shoreline City Council, from 2005-2009 and is an outspoken, current environmental and preservation activist residing in Shoreline, WA. Over the past 20 years, she and many other partners have succeeded in many remarkable accomplishments for the environment and community. On the City Council, she helped spearhead many environmental achievements for Shoreline, giving Shoreline a "green city" profile. She is a founding member of Paramount Park Neighborhood Group, Thornton Creek Legal Defense Fund (which advocated for and succeeded in "daylighting" Thornton Creek at Northgate), South Woods Preservation Group, Lake Ballinger Forum, Sno-King Economic Gardening group and other efforts. She serves on the Advisory Board of Friends of Fircrest, and is a member of Shoreline Chamber of Commerce and Shoreline Solar Project.
Janet holds an Art degree from Moore College of Art, Phila, and runs an arts business for 30 yrs. She also is sales rep for Appel Farms dairy at Seattle Farmers Markets.
Janet and her wonderful, patient husband, Alan Worthington of 32 yrs have two grown sons, Travis and Spencer.