Johnson County announces plans to relocate museum to old King Louie bowling alley

  • Long live the king.

Johnson County officials announced today that the county is buying the King Louie West and Ice Chateau building in Overland Park and is planning to relocate the Johnson County Museum to the relic of 1960s suburbia. The 70,000-square-foot building was completed in 1965 and featured an ice-skating rink and 32-lane bowling alley. The rink was closed in 2007. AMF continued operating the bowling lanes, but they met the same fate in 2009. The county paid $2 million for the building.

The county said it plans on initially spending $1.6 million to stabilize and preserve the strange-looking structure designed by architect Manny Morris. Next year, the county will begin exploring renovation possibilities and the costs of moving the museum from its site at 6305 Lackman Road in Shawnee.

In a press release announcing the news, Johnson County Museum officials made their current building sound like a real dump. “It is crowded and suffered flooding problems in recent years, making a portion of the building unsuitable for long-term operations. About 1,500 square feet of the 20,000-square-foot building was damaged by flooding in 2009, making it no longer acceptable for public use,” the release said.

Possible plans for the King Louie space might fulfill the museum’s desire to establish a National Museum of Suburbia and a Suburban Policy Forum. That seems very fitting for a defunct architectural shrine to 1960s Kansas kitsch. You can read all about that plan here.

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