Welcome to the Tiki Central 2.0 Beta. Read the announcement
Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

Tiki Central / General Tiki

Final Goodbye to Kona Lanes~Costa Mesa, CA

Pages: 1 2 3 119 replies

Well, it happened earlier than expected. It hit The Orange County Register this morning. The original closing date of May 31st was not met, since, supposidley there hasn't been enough business to stay open these last few weeks.

As I pulled up at 11:45 a.m. today, I walk up and I hear a voice coming from the dumpster: "Hey, don't I know you?". Up pops the head of Tiki-Chris of ModCom. I introduced myself as we shake hands as I look at him bewildered as to why he is in there, but then understood very quickly...."The original blueprints are in here somewhere! The manager told me!" he says with a hopeful look on his face. It was either the truth or a cruel last joke from management. He kept looking without luck as I walked into the bowling alley realizing that with the decline of this great historic building, and the attitude of an "I only care about money" corporation that now runs this landmark, that he just might find something of value, in all places, a dumpster.

As you see in the article above, the owner, was suppose to be there negotiating prices on everything in the place. He conveniently was absent this week and is "on vacation". Unfortunately, there isn't anything from the Kona Lanes of yesteryear, only post-1990's items. The poor manager has been dealing with pissed off league managers, whose leagues that have been bowling there the past 10 to 20+ years, since no notification of closing the doors was given. Everyone who paid for a full league and were planning on finishing the month through were calling, leaving nasty messages on the machine which could be heard by all who were in earshot of the answering machine. Again, the owner is conveniently now on vacation. When you call, all you hear is "On May 19th, Kona Lanes is now closed after 50 years...." I don't believe that the leagues were really concerned about the money. I believe that they were really hoping to have a fun, last gathering at a place alot of us here in SoCal grew up with. It's like a loved one who passed on without the last chance to say goodbye.

The only activity now is the chance to buy some memorabilia, if you can call it that. Bowling pins are $5 each. None of which actually say "Kona Lanes". Bowling shoes are $10, and do say Kona Lanes, but were handwritten on the shoes by management as sort of an inventory control. Bowling balls are $5, but all the "Kona Lanes" imprinted ones are gone. The only items available were some old Kona Lanes shirts. As of a half-hour ago, there were about 100 shirts left, but I doubt there will be any left by the end of the day. I was fortunate to be the first person to find the shirts in a hidden little closet area.

Here are the shirts I ended up with, and I believe Bong will get a kick out of the "Nude Bowlers League" shirts.

The manager seemed pretty nice, even though she was swamped with people asking questions, and at one point while hanging out with her, you could actually see her wipe away a tear. She explained as she and I swapped old bowling stories, how she had gathered some of the original old photos, vintage score sheets, matches, etc., and how someone (possibly an ex-employee) stole everything! She was nice enough though to give me this as I walked out the door today:

I'm glad us Hoity Toity SoCal TC'ers got a chance to have a last bowl and drink at this fabulous, but slowly dying building this past year. It was really fun. For those of you that didn't attend, you can find pictures here.

For those passing this sign, which is still yet to receive it's unknown fate, here is what you can expect to see:

A closer look reveals Kona Lanes' last message:

:cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:

SugarCaddyDaddy's Schedule of Stuff!

[ Edited by: SugarCaddyDaddy on 2003-05-21 17:19 ]


So sad. These places are falling like dominos lately. I'm glad I drove down there to bowl last October while in LA.

the OC Register link didn't work for me. Try this one


I feel like, if I had just one more chance, I'd be able to say good bye..... It's a shame they didn't annouce the closing more publicly....

I'm kinda speechless.....

Whaddaya think, maybe the errant, anonymous tiki spirit of Kona Lanes bowling balls might somehow find the supernatural strength to toss themselves through future Kohl's display windows, like lemmings flinging themselves off cliffs, in a mad, desperate act of protest? It could happen.

Last night, in honor of our lamented Kona Lanes (which I was fool enough never to have actually bowled at, even though I lived for several years just down the street -- don't know what you got 'til it's gone), I, here in Houston, TX, bowled two games at the Palace Lanes, the first time I have bowled in about a decade. I made a point of telling the alley proprietors about it as well (it was a bit light last night, due to league play having finished up already and summer league play not yet started, but they told me that on league nights and weekends you can't find a parking space, it's so packed -- and I can verify that! I've driven past and been amazed that so many cars were in the parking lot of a bowling alley!). They were saddened to hear of it, and stunned at the OC housing prices I quoted to them.

I've heard that Kohl's stores are here in Houston. I visited their website, and I was taken aback. It's like Mervyn's meets Bed Bath and Beyond. BIIIIIIIG DEAL! They're gonna destroy a classic architectural style for THAT?

Tiki culture is becoming bigger, and bigger, and bigger. Its popularity worldwide is surging and broadening every year.

These idiots are going to RUE the day they made this boneheaded decision.

sigh I love you guys just for being here.:drink:

Daily Pilot/ May 28th, 2003

from, 'Not a Gutter Ball Yet':

"Several entertainment operators say they would take over Kona Lanes in a heartbeat if a long term lease or the right price to buy thet land was available.
'It's a goldmine,' said Joe Roussin of AMF Bowling. 'I don't care what anybody says on the Seagerstrom side. I have several people that are interested in that facility, at the right price....[The Seagerstroms] don't even want to look at it. They are just saying it's dead and want to tear it down.'"

"Councilman Allan Mansoor said he believes recreational options are still viable at Mesa Verde, but the onus is on the Seagerstroms to provide them.
'There's no doubt in my mind that a recreational type of use could work there and that there are people that are interested in such a use, but the bottom line is that it's going to be up to the Seagerstrom's to bring something forward,' Mansoor said.
As far as Development Services Director Perry Valantine knows, the Seagerstroms have not yet applied for a permit to demolish Kona. But once they do, the bulldozers can start immediately, Valantine said.
A step Cromwell would like to avoid at all costs.
'When the wrecking ball hits Kona Lanes, it's gone forever and they're probably going to get in there within the next couple of weeks and start demolition,' Cromwell said. 'As long as that building is still there, that has value to someone else.'"

If something isn't done quickly, Kona will fall forever. Futura, what is your advice from the ModComers?

On 2003-05-29 00:34, Luckydesigns wrote:
Daily Pilot/ May 28th, 2003

from, 'Not a Gutter Ball Yet':

If something isn't done quickly, Kona will fall forever. Futura, what is your advice from the ModComers?

Well, here's what I posted on this topic over at Lotta Living.com's board --

Sounds like we need to get our local OC folks on the ball here drumming up support for the Costa Mesa City Council to declare Kona Lanes a historical landmark, and then encourage all the other developers and bowling center operators to besiege the Segerstroms with a virtual glut of proposals to renovate the site, and PUSH THOSE LONG TERM LEASES!

The Segerstroms are turning their back on their family heritage. They were a successful lima bean farming family, and they just happened to own a lot of the land that's become so valued over the past several decades, mostly due to South Coast Plaza's success. But they keep wanting to deny their humble beginnings and become some sort of upper class clan, and they're all about power-power-power. The simple fact is, if it wasn't for Walt Disney, it's likely nobody would have wanted their farmland as much as they do. They got lucky, really. I never even knew that Mesa Verde Center was a Segerstrom property until I started seeing the South Coast Plaza security guards driving around there. The Segerstroms have, for many years, come across as being all about wealth and appealing to the upper classes. I think they look at bowling and other middle-class and blue collar entertainments as beneath them. They'd like to be Donald Bren. They come off as very selfish and anti-community, and tend to think of their own short-term financial interests rather than the good of the city and the needs of Orange County residents. They need to be upbraided about this, and reminded that they put their pants on the same way as everyone else does.

But, in the meantime, let's work to get the Costa Mesa City Council to declare Kona Lanes historic! There are some sympathetic council members! It's worth it to try! Don't give up, everyone!

Heck, if I was there with y'all, I'd be blocking the bulldozers or chaining myself to one of those palm trees just to get some press.

Much of the interior at Kona Lanes has already been torn out as of Friday afternoon. The crews were supposedly going to work through the weekend, so god only knows how little is left.

I encourage Futura (who was eyeing Kona's jungle foliage) to get over there with a shovel and a truck before the bulldozers arrive.

Sadly, I did not get the blueprints, as other scavengers (as I later learned) probably beat me to the punch. I actually saw the blueprints a few years ago, and they ALMOST let me have them -- until they had last-minute second thoughts. Anyway, I went back a month ago, and they couldn't find them. When I went in on June 21st, Juanita (the good-hearted but overworked manager), told me they ran across the blueprints the day before and had thrown them out!!! (Insert expletives here.)

See Sugar Caddy Daddy's post (above) for the rest of that story. Let's just say it was a nasty experience, and one I never plan to repeat. Do I get some sort of Urban Archaeologist merit badge?

Anyway, I loitered around for long enough to snag a late-50s pink/black/white bowling ball (Kona's original color scheme), a 1960s modern fiberglass chair (light green), a couple bowling pins and an unused employee shirt.

I also got the chance to talk to a few folks who had been bowling there since it opened in 1958. I grilled them for details and found out quite a bit about the place.

Another icon fades into the sunset, my favorite bowling alley is kaput, and Juanita is out of a job. Massive bummer all the way around.


[ Edited by: SpaceAgeCity on 2003-06-03 13:43 ]

As of yesterday, Kona Lanes' big roadside sign was laying on the ground in the parking lot. It looks like they were careful not to cause much damage in removing it, so perhaps someone who cares landed it for their collection.

Workmen were putting a fence up around the property, but I still got in to take a few photos. (Not yet developed.)

The interior is about 1/2 to 2/3 gutted.

The only good news is that a few of the nicer plants outside have been carefully removed. Let's hope they found good homes.

For those interested, 5 of the original scoring/projection tables were snapped up by the "vintage" store across the street. These aren't the tables used recently, but were stored somewhere in a back room all these years.

Anyway, the vintage store is a bit hard to spot. Look for a record store called "Noise, Noise, Noise," and the vintage store (which has no sign, but is called "53rd & 3rd") is just a couple doors down. I'd guess the tables are for sale, but they haven't been priced yet. (The owner was out when I stopped past.)

As for earlier comments about the Costa Mesa city council,... They long ago assessed their options for saving the Kona. They wanted it to stay, but they didn't have much leverage. Thanks to our (ahem) esteemed Governor, I'd be surprised if the city could afford enough lawyers to fight the Seagarstroms. (I'd guess the city doesn't want to cross swords with the Segarstroms anyway. It would be like Anaheim fighting Disney.)

Did I mention that the bar at Kona Lanes was originally Polynesian themed? Wish I had a photo of THAT!


thejab posted on Tue, Jun 3, 2003 7:00 PM

Does anyone know how to get a hold of the owners regarding the sign? I notified the American Sign Museum last year but just emailed them again when I heard the sign was taken down recently. They want to see if they can save it.

Here's some info as of today, June 3, 2003:

I head out at about 4 pm. I take a few snap shots of the now fenced in, abandoned and half-gutted Kona Lanes. You see it as I saw it today:

I look up and see Kona's last words:

Note the Kona Lanes sign that has been there almost 45 years, is now on the ground:

(You can't tell, but yes, a chain link fence is surrounding the whole lot.)

Not more that 4 or 5 minutes passes after I took these initial pictures, two guys in a pickup truck with a really small rented red trailer comes in followed by a guy in a tie driving a black BMW. The trailer is REALLY small in comparison to the sign, so I figured that no way are these guys going to try to lift this sign and get it into the 8 foot(?) trailer. So I walk over (while on the outside of the fence on the sidewalk), I pretend to take pictures of the remaining standing sign, and trying to hear what the conversation was about. I see the guy in the tie, or the "OK Guy", another guy (who I refer to as "A-hole" and his buddy "Dweeb"), as he sizes up the Kona sign on the ground and kicks it, like he's checking the tires or something! What? Yeah, he kicked it while the sign was down! I thought "what is that suppose to be for?". So I pipe up and say, "Excuuuuuuuuse me sir...what will happen to the Kona Lanes sign?" I direct this question to the "OK Guy", but the "A-hole" turns to me, points his finger and says "Hey, don't you worry 'bout it!", as the "Dweeb" nods in approval of "A-Holes" comment. I was kind of shocked! The "OK Guy" gives the "A-Hole" a funny look and says to me "the City of Costa Mesa is taking an interest in it". OK.....I don't get a good vibe from the "A-Hole" and thought 'oh what the hell', so I look at the "A-Hole" and say "HEY! EAT ME!", as I grab my crotch and shake my Pin & Gutterballs at him Joe Pesci/Robert DeNiro style. It's not like me to do that, but I think that I was pissed since he seemed to disrespect the Kona sign, not to mention the smart remark he gave me. The "OK Guy" laughs, and adds that he cannot comment any more on the sign. I then hear "DAMNIT!" as the "A-Hole" hurts his hand slightly as he attempts to try to lift one end of the sign, I assume to see how heavy it really is. I don't normally take pleasure in other people's pain, but in this instance, I do believe KONA got his/her shot in. :lol:

So to end this long story, I walk back to my car, still parked at the entrance of the fenced in lot. I hang out for a couple of minutes since I had to answer my cell phone, and out comes the "OK Guy" about 10 feet from me at the gates entrance. I hear him on his cell as he stands just feet from me and says to his office "yeah, the fence is up, but we still don't have the chain and lock here to secure the sign inside the fence".

Oh, if I only had a huge truck to snag that Kona sign!

Personally, I think that the A-Hole & Dweeb are just looking to make a buck either by selling the sign for scrap or as is for profit. If they were truly a sign company, they would not have pulled up with a pickup and a rented undersized trailer.

I don't have much else to add. I'll stop by again soon, and will comment only if I see/hear anything different.

Sorry for the long read, but I wanted to be as thorough as possible.

SugarCaddyDaddy's Schedule of Stuff!

[ Edited by: sugarcaddydaddy on 2003-06-03 21:01 ]

Boob posted on Tue, Jun 3, 2003 10:13 PM

where are the Pidgeons going to hang now???

I understand the point would be to get the whole sign... but yes... even if you could just score the "Kona" part! Sad to see these things destroyed... all traces of Wisconsin and Milwaukee's tiki were totally wiped out years ago... its really too bad that remaining cultural landmarks are not valued and allowed to stand.

The closure of the Kona Lanes made it into today's OC Weekly:


(thanks Nic!)


To contact the (former?) owner of Kona Lanes, Jack Mann, call Tustin Lanes. (Sorry I don't have the #, but I'm sure it's online somewhere.)


Good news~!

The KONA LANES BOWL neon signage is being saved by the American Sign Museum of Cincinnati, Ohio. I'm certain there are some folks out there who may be upset that this SoCal icon is moving to the midwest, but think about it this way: it's being saved from a worse fate and is going to a museum where it will be appreciated by thousands of visitors for years to come.

The sign will soon make the trek to Ohio and the American Sign Museum is requesting donations for the KONA LANE's transport and refurbishment. The museum is a 501(c)(3) organization so donations towards the KONA LANES will be tax deductible. If you wish to become a museum member or make a donation, mail your check to the American Sign Museum, 407 Gilbert Avenue, Cincinatti, OH 45202. (800) 925-1110. Check them out at http://www.signmuseum.org.

The purpose of the American Sign Museum is to preserve, archive and display a historical collection of signs in their many types and forms. The Museum will also document and survey the products and equipment utilized in the design and manufacture of signs, and offer biographical information of the people who have contributed to the industry.
The Museum is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation and was founded in 1999 as the National Signs of the Times Museum.
American Sign Museum
407 Gilbert Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
(800) 925-1110
(513) 421-2050, ext. 336
Fax: (513) 421-5144

Woo-hoo!!! :-)

Let's hear it for Tod Swormsted and friends at the Sign Museum!

Another bit of classic mid-century California saved for future generations! Thanks guys!


As of 7/10/03

There is absolutely no turning back...

SugarCaddyDaddy's SoCal Hoity Toity Schedule!

[ Edited by: SugarCaddyDaddy on 2003-07-25 10:57 ]


As the dust settles and it falls into night, you can faintly hear, ever so softly, of bowling pins and laughter, the sound of ice falling into a highball glass..... I will miss Kona Lanes also. The charismatic structure is lost, but if you listen very carefully.....


Perhaps I shall make an oil painting of the sacred sign. Good Idea?


Looks like another chain I'll have to boycott. Not that I ever went to Kohl's. Walgreens, you now have company.

They tore down the ice rink too!!! The meories of knocking myself out cold when I was a kid trying to learn how to ice skate!!! Drove by the other day and it was like...something is missing!!! Am I in the right place? Twilite zone-ish!! Not good for the brain!

I haven't even been by there since they've taken down the sign. I just don't wanna expose myself to that.


Oh my god, not Ice Capades! I loved going there when I was in High School! We got to know some of the kids working there and would have parties after closing time, on the ice with the furniture. We'd have chair races and eat pizza and chug beers. OOhhhhhhh, I can't believe they tore that down too. Ohh the pain. :(



I have found the Kona Lanes sign...
Or perhaps it was never missing to begin with.

I came upon this site by accident this evening: http://www.signmuseum.com/exhibits/collection/neon2/neon2.htm

It's in Cincinnati,oddly enough, in a very cool sign museum (read personal collection).



Wow, thanks Tiki Joe. That is an odd place for it to end up. Cincinnati.


I am as surprised as you are.


Great! How did you stummble upon it? Did you go to the museum or found it online? Either way it great to know where it's at! Thanks for posting the news!

A bit of Kona Lanes History here on Tiki Central will show that the sign's final destination was always going to be the museum in Ohio (see "lynxwiler's" post on the thread).

More Kona Lanes reading.

What a great night at Kona Lanes!

Also, I pass the old site where Kona Lanes used to live and as of today it STILL is an empty lot...those b*astards at City Council!

I am still quite disturbed about it being torn down since I grew up in Costa Mesa and Kona Lanes was my hangout for years! It was the only place I could go on my bike before driving where I could always find my friends; the place where (during my Rockabilly days) we could bowl and enjoy music anytime and meet girls at the neighboring Ice Capades; the place that had the coolest coffee shop...ah well, I'm pissed all over again! uuuuggh!

Just my 2 coconuts worth.


I am so sad about that awful empty lot. As Charlie Brown used to say: AAAUUUGGGHHH!!! Yet I'm happy that at least that awesome sign is still making people feel good just looking at it :).

Now if only the Hanalei sign were there keeping it company--what a pair!

I COULD do a search but I'm dead tired...anyone know what happened to the Hanalei relic?

Thanks for posting about this!



I was researching about the Kon Tiki, online, that was here in Cincinnati years ago. I found nothing about the Kon Tiki, but I came across this link to the Sign Museum. I've been past the museum many times and I've seen some really great signs in their lot. I've always wanted to stop by, now I have to.



Awesome find Tiki Joe!

We had some good times at Kona Lanes and I'm so glad to see that the sign found a good home.

Mahalo for posting this.

On 2005-09-05 13:03, stentiki wrote:
Awesome find Tiki Joe!

We had some good times at Kona Lanes and I'm so glad to see that the sign found a good home.

Mahalo for posting this.

Well, let me first say sorry for replying to such an old thread, But I grew up in Costa Mesa and was just only 10 min ago telling my wife about this place called Kona Lanes and Ice Capades where I grew up. So I logged on to Google and searched for Kona Lanes just to see if I could find it to show her and this came up. I am devastated by this news and wish I would have known about this when it was going on. What happened to the awsome pizza place (can't remember the name But I know it had to do with baseball and the sign was blue) and the record store that use to be there? Are they gone too? What about the Supermarket that was there to the left? I use to live directly across from Orange Coast College. I can't believe the memories this thread has just brought back to me and I am shocked to read it's gone. Oddly enough, I live in Cincinnati now, how freaking weird is that!!

Anyway, thanks for the memories this site and thread just gave me, I just had to sign up and post to this thread. :)

Take Care

I just rememberd!! HomeRun Pizza??? And was it a Vons?? Wow..Too weird..I couldn't even imagine seeing an empty lot there...If anyone drives by and would be so kind to post a pic, I would be forever grateful.

[ Edited by: oldschoolsocalguy 2007-01-17 18:02 ]

oldschoolsocalguy wrote:
...If anyone drives by and would be so kind to post a pic, I would be forever grateful.

Here are pictures from May 2006 (almost exactly 3 years since Kona Lanes closed). As you can see, absolutely no progress has been made to the lot. It's almost hard to believe that Kona Lanes used to be in that empty space and it's a shame that it seems to have been torn down without purpose since there had previously been this 'uproar' of needing to put a Kohls or similar type of retail shopping store there. I am by this lot about every other day and it still looks the same as it did when I took the pics last year.

A closeup just to show you that even trash has been left there with no one even cleaning up the lot:

oldschoolsocalguy, I grew up in Costa Mesa as well. The name of the pizza place was Ball Park Pizza. Also, do you remember Haus of Pizza that was there across the street (and still is), as well as Calentino's on the other side of the street, which also has been around since 1969 and is still going strong to this day. The Von's is still there, and maybe you remember:

  • Music Market: the place to go to get all of your vinyl, 45's and your Farrah Fawcett red-bikini poster.
  • Bilbo Baggins: one of the first places in Costa Mesa to actually introduce Open Mic Night.
  • Ice Capades: which went from "Ice Capades" to "Ice Capades Chalet", then finally to "Costa Mesa Ice Chalet"
  • Swensen's Ice Cream...then turned into a Ben & Jerry's, then finally to a "Baguette" place.

Do these spark some memories?

Last note: The buildings you see behind the empty Kona lot are now occupied by Vons, FastFrame, Gina's Pizza, Juice it Up!, Starbucks, Costa Mesa Federal Credit Union, Newport Tanning Club, Submarina Sandwiches, and a few other franchise-type businesses, which is the way most commercial real estate brokers are going...with the larger, "safer", franchised retail establishments rather than with the mom 'n pop businesses.

Ahhh!! I just got chills, really.. Ball Park Pizza!! Wow..I can remember that blue sign and basketball machine inside there like it was yesterday. And hell yes I rememebr the record shop, skating rink, Haus of Pizza....Unreal, I use to walk up there every day! I lived in Pine Creek Village for a while. Thank you Sooooooooo Much for posting those pics, I was looking foward to flying my wife out there this year and showing here all this as she is from the midwest. Sad I can't share that part of my life with her and it appears to be as you said all for nothing.. Thanks for the memories and replying to this old thread for me:-) I turned my Mom onto this thread as well, as she spent more time in Kona than me!!

Take care

PS- Mom and I are planning to make the 5 min trip to the sign museum, lol..If I can get some pics while there I will post them for you all if you are interested in seeing them.

Take Care

Music Market rocked! My first wife and i used to go there every week or two!Lotsa great old LPs from back in the day! And some great rare stuff! Karaokeed once at Kona Lanes,but never bowled there! I think I sang "Fire" by the Ohio Players! Yowza! Thanks for the memories!

I grew up in Costa Mesa and Music Market was great. They always had good stuff, lots of posters and import 7 inches. I had a friend who worked there that told me one of the reasons the prices were cheap was that pretty much everything "Fell off a Truck."

Another late arrival...

I live in the North Bay now, but I, too, grew up in Costa Mesa and damn near grew up in Kona Lanes. My dad started taking me there when I was 4 or 5, and I worked in the building three times: in the coffee shop (before it was remodeled into a snack bar and the remaining space converted to storage), as a porter (remember that word?) and behind the desk. My wife and I debated a Kona wedding, but opted for my mother's home (she still lives on Nassau Road, a two-minute drive to Kona if you hit the lights).

That last stint was in 1988. More than once, I wrote Kona's column in the Pacific Bowler (I still have a copy from that October). My wife was working in the snack bar, the manager's name was Ed, and we used to joke about (what we called) his "Mr. Ed Burger". When John, Kona's manager at the time, moved to Westminster Lanes later that year, I went with him.

Our daughter was able to join us (she didn't bowl, something about the bumpers being unavailable, or something) at Kona some time in 2002, either when we drove down for an awards banquet or for that Christmas but, apparently, we didn't take pictures. If I'd only known...

Our next trip was in February 2004, after the demolition, for my stepfather's funeral. The services were on Baker Street; we took Adams Avenue to Huntington Beach for the reception, but I wasn't looking toward the site at the time; and we took Hamilton/Victoria back to my mother's house, then took the freeway home, not touching Harbor Boulevard again. No one mentioned Kona Lanes; our thoughts were elsewhere—though, now that I think about it, I seem to remember noticing that the Edwards Cinema was gone.

We came back for Christmas 2005 and, while looking for a motel (the Costa Mesa Inn at Wilson, formerly the Ha' Penny, was full), I remembered a Super 8 near Kona Lanes, actually driving past it to get a look at the old haunt, and seeing nothing but a fence. Turning around, wondering how I could have missed it, we were quite sure we were in the right spot, but, nothing. We checked in to the Super 8, I walked next door to the 7-11, and I couldn't help but stand there for a few moments and stare across Mesa Verde Drive.

Kona Lanes was gone. Just... gone.

An indelible part of my child- and young-adulthood, gone. Even writing about it now, it seems surreal.

I asked the clerk what happened; he told me it was torn down a couple of years earlier; I asked the night manager at Super 8 what she knew, and she related the rest of the story. When I rejoined my family, I repeated the news, almost in tears.

Well, thanks for allowing me a forum for catharsis... :)

[ Edited by: RadioKirk 2007-03-27 13:10 ]

How about another memory, while I'm at it...

One of the duties for which I volunteered in 1988 was "calling" Rainbow Bowling at Kona Lanes, something I would also do in Westminster (with a wireless mic, allowing me to have a little fun by sneaking up behind bowlers on occasion) and Bakersfield as I gradually moved upstate.

I was working the night of the first game of the World Series and sat on the short wall/ball rack listening with a transistor radio and an earpiece (to not disturb the bowlers, though several would get updates from me as the night went on, and a few stood close by as the game went in to the bottom of the ninth). When Kirk Gibson won it with the walk-off heard 'round the world, I literally screamed, something like "Yes! YES!! I don't believe it!!" Naturally, that got everyone's attention, and I heard people yelling, "WHAT?!" When I explained what had happened, the place erupted!

If memory serves, NBC replayed the game after midnight, so I did get to see Vinny and Joe; I don't remember who called it on radio, but the moment was electric!

Long live Kona Lanes...

I've made a wallpaper (1024x768) for anyone who wants it:



Hey SC Daddy, it's been a long time... I moved within walking distance from Kona Lanes three years ago, right after they knocked it down. It kills me to think of how many kareoke sessions I've missed. It still blows my mind that it is better for the community as an empty lot than as a bowling ally. What a waste.

Oh yeah, Noise Noise Noise (next to Kona) is gone too now. You can't even buy records in Costa Mesa any more.

and goat hill records down on Harbor and 19th. :(


[ Edited by: Bigtikidude 2013-02-23 08:11 ]


There's a brand-new Kona Lanes t-shirt being made by the guy who runs pupntaco.com. See the Tiki Marketplace :)

[ Edited by: RadioKirk 2007-05-06 15:59 ]


I registered to this forum just to post about Kona Lanes. I gre up in Huntington Beach on Atlanta and Bushard in the 70's and Kona Lanes was a part of my growing up. I remember when they closed it and the building was still there -- I was hoping that they were renovating it or something and then the next time I drove by (I live in Irvine, so it wasn't that often) it was gone. There are few landmarks left from the 60s and 70's (Remember the old Harbor Center? I won't even go there)

Its funny, but I was doing a Google search for tanning salons (lol) and came across this post. I am glad I did. Thanks for the memories.


I was in Orange County last week on vacation and checked out the site of the late Kona Lanes, and took a few snaps (click for larger image):

About the only thing that's changed in the four years since the building was unnecessarily razed is the weeds since raised.

The mounts that used to hold the giant street sign remain.

Finally, as if to mock us, the one remaining structure is the stone wall that sat underneath the other end of the overhang from the building's main entrance (according to my memory, anyway—the more recent pics of the building show no overhang, but it may have come down at the same time as the more garish red extensions over the former coffee shop).

This represents progress from what, exactly?

[ Edited by: RadioKirk 2007-07-20 20:08 ]


ANyone in here have any good pics of Kona Lanes ?

All the photo links are dead here.


What a frickin' crime!

Pages: 1 2 3 119 replies