If only I had a dollar for every time I was asked when the new Bowlski’s was opening! Well, the answer arrived last night. In one of east Dallas’ most anxiously anticipated events, the new Bowlski’s will occupy and open inside the historic Lakewood Theater at the beginning of the coming Labor Day weekend. Hope to see everyone there.
Fair warning. While the important, historic features inside the theater are intact, the “vibe” on the inside is COMPLETELY different. Ceilings everywhere but the lobby had to be removed because they contained asbestos, as did the wall plaster in the auditorium. In his new, funky interpretation, Bowlski’s owner/mad genius, Craig Spivey, left the ceilings and walls exposed while installing rescued 1980’s bowling lanes and equipment from a defunct alley in Mineola, Texas. But it’s not your Daddy’s bowling alley. The mystery of the operation of the pin setters, something I have wondered about for many years, is left exposed for all to see and illuminated by Tron-like blue lights. There’s golf simulators, Karaoke, games, a candy shop, bowling exhibits, a stage for a band, and full bar and food service. There’s even still the original proscenium and a downsized, more original projection screen.
True to good historic preservation practice, however, no important historic elements were removed and the updates are completely and readily reversible. So one day in the distant future, when our grandkids are running things and when single screen theaters (for holographic projection, no doubt) are all the rage again, a few easy removals, some tweaks and some ceilings added, the beloved theater of old could be fully back.
The button will take you to the recent article in the Lakewood/East Dallas Advocate about the conversion.
Photos by Danny Fulgencio
NORMAN ALSTON architects
For the past 30 years, Norman Alston Architects has shown the possibilities that are available when important historic buildings and sites are thoughtfully preserved and equipped for modern, productive use. The firm has completed successful, award-winning restorations, renovations, and additions by demonstrating that preservation is economically advantageous, environmentally responsible and culturally invigorating. Our projects are often catalysts for redevelopment of the surrounding community. Successful projects range from important large structures in large urban areas to numerous small projects in rural communities where professional skills in historic preservation are often assumed to be unavailable.