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A Nod to Nostalgia

Bowls, aka lawn bowling, a game related to bocce and petanque that perhaps has been around since the 12th century, still has a presence at Pasadena's Central Park.

Pasadena's Central Park. The new site design plan is closer to the 1925 plans than those of 1989.

The Pasadena, Calif. City Council has approved in concept a $5.3 million master plan in the works since 1989 to update Central Park's 9.2 acres. An environmental impact assessment, now underway, must be completed before final plan approval.

Central Park was proposed in a 1901 bond act. Landscape architect Thomas Chisholm designed the park, which included a tourist club and chess club, a lawn bowling court and roque courts (a version of nine-wicket croquet played on hard sand with a raised border to let the balls carom). The park was redesigned in 1925 by landscape architect Ralph Cornell, and included a lawn bowling clubhouse designed by architect Wallace Neff.

Not much calling these days for roque or lawn bowling areas, one imagines. Todd Holmes, a Pasadena city landscape architect, is doing the upgrade. The site plan will be closer to the 1925 plans than those of 1989. The extensive garden plan for the north park area will be diminished and the central gazebo dropped. There will be new concrete walks that match the existing ones and new steel fencing. One lawn bowling area will be removed (it may be relocated), but the main lawn bowling green and clubhouse will get a redesign, including installing synthetic turf and lighting for night play.

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April 22, 2019, 5:42 pm PDT

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