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The name game at Winnetka Bowl

Canoga Park Bowl used to be open 24/7.
Canoga Park Bowl used to be open 24/7.
Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images

Canoga Park Bowl is a bowling center icon.

Having opened in 1957, the center is one of the very oldest in the Los Angeles area. Until late last year, it was one of the few centers to be open 24 hours a day.

Celebrities frequently flocked to the center in the wee hours when it was open 24/7. Eddie Murphy came so often that the center gave him his own parking card.

Whitney Houston was a frequent visitor and so was Evander Holyfield. And Will Smith enjoyed time at the center with his family. The Los Angeles Clippers were represented as well.

So with such an illustrious past, Canoga Park Bowl recently wrote a new chapter. It is no longer Canoga Park Bowl. It is Winnetka Bowl, still located on the corner of Winnetka Avenue and Vanowen Street.

And here’s why the bowling house changed its name, according to Mike Willis, who’s been the manager of the center since 1978.

“We have new management and they wanted to change the name of the center,” he said. “Technically, we are in the city of Winnetka.”

Willis said Monday that the change “took effect last week. It’s now official.”

A visitor to the center can tell. There’s no longer a Canoga Park Bowl sign in front. It’s a Winnetka Bowl sign.

“It’s still Canoga Park Bowl, but with a new name. Everything else is the same,” said Willis, acknowledging that customers have noticed the change from the sign.

There’s another thing that hasn’t changed at the center. Winnetka Bowl, which includes a Best Western Hotel in its premises, remains the biggest bowling house in the San Fernando Valley.