The enormous light-up sign atop Echo Park’s Jensen’s Recreation Center is shining once more, after nearly five decades during which it was mostly inoperable.
The landmarked building opened in 1924 as apartments combined with a pool hall and bowling alley, and the 28-foot sign was built to advertise the latter. Made up of 1,300 multi-colored bulbs, it depicts a bowler rolling a (very slow) strike.
The refurbished sign is part of a larger renovation of the building by developer Vista Investment Group. The firm is also renovating the 46 apartments and restoring the structure’s historic brick facade.
In an announcement this week, Vista said that the building’s 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space is fully leased, as well as 5,200 square feet of office space. Vista is also seeking a tenant for the bowling alley and pool hall, though a representative for the developer tells Curbed that, due to noise concerns, the bowling alley isn’t likely to reopen as such.
Named a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument in 1998, the building was originally developed by Henry C. Jensen, who also built the ornate Raymond and Melrose theaters. The former, in Pasadena, was converted to lofts in 2009; the latter, in East Hollywood, now serves as the Ukranian Culture Center.
Here’s a look at the re-illuminated sign.