An Ohio sign museum has given Kona Lanes a second life, agreeing to
preserve the bowling alley's distinctive Tiki-style sign as a part of
The American Sign Museum, which is based in Cincinnati, Ohio, will
add the sign to its collection of more than 2,500 signs, photographs
and books chronicling a niche of the country's commercial history.
The sign from the bowling alley, which closed May 18, was removed
via crane on Monday.
"We have a number of California signs from the 1950s," said Tod Swormstead, the museum's president. "It's our only sign that's of
that type of theme design."
On Monday morning, a crane commissioned by Anaheim-based Donco
Signs, removed the massive sign from its spot at the Mesa Verde
Shopping Center. The company plans to store the sign for several
weeks, until the museum can arrange for a truck to ship it to Ohio.
It will cost about $1,400 to transport it to the museum's
warehouse, Swormstead said. The museum, incorporated as a
not-for-profit group in 1999, is set to open in spring of 2004.
C.J. Segerstrom and Sons, who owns the center, donated the sign to
the museum. The company elected to remove the bowling alley to pave
the way for retail shops.
"We knew that there was a community interest in preserving the
sign because of its architectural and nostalgic appeal," company
spokesman Paul Freeman said in a statement. "Even though
circumstances made it impossible to leave Kona Lanes Bowl intact, we
are happy that the sign will be adopted by an agency with the
resources to preserve and care for it."
The Segerstroms and Mesa Verde Partners jointly own the center
where Kona Lanes opened in 1958. Since that time, as the popularity
of bowling faded, crowds at the alley grew more and more sparse. The
alley has been demolished.
Planning Commissioner Katrina Foley led the effort to preserve the
sign, which is pictured in the "Book of Tiki" as an example of a
Polynesian fad following World War II.
"Fortunately Tod was able to make it happen," Foley said about
Swormstead's acceptance of the sign. "I was really worried [that it
would be lost]."