Historic Echo Park sign flickers back to life

Jensen Recreation Center sign in Echo Park

Photo by Martin Cox

ECHO PARK — With the flick of a ceremonial switch, the large animated sign atop of the historic Jensen’s Recreation Center returned to life on Friday night after the 1920s-era sign went through extensive renovations and repairs.

The 17-foot-high by 28-foot-long sign atop the Jensen’s Recreation Center has been mostly dark in recent years even as the three-story brick and terracotta building below has been renovated and filled with new boutiques, cafes and pricey apartments. Building owner Vista Investment Group paid to complete the daunting task of repairing the nine-decade-old sign after the Echo Park Historical Society* and others had raised funds and support for a relighting.

The sign composed of 1,300 red, green and white light bulbs depicts a bowler throwing a strike, a reminder that a small bowling alley once operated in the building. It is believed to be the only sign of this type and size remaining in the United States, according to some preservationists.

This is the second relighting of the sign. The sign had been dark for several decades when it was repaired and relighted in 1997 with the help of a city grant. That fix proved temporary, however, and the sign stopped working again a few years later.

A post shared by @lahistory on

* Jesus Sanchez, publisher of The Eastsider, is a board member of the Echo Park Historical Society

Screenshot 2015-12-10 at 3.10.51 PM

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Jesús Sanchez, Publisher
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  1. Yay, great to see this rare type of signage and Echo Park landmark working again. Congratulations

  2. Sign looks great.. Glad to see these vintage details given a new life.. more please!

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