Thursday, March 27, 2008

No. 127 - Exposition Club House

Exposition Club House

Exposition Club House
1926
3990 Menlo Avenue – map
Declared: 5/1/74

So there I was, taking pictures of Monument No. 127, when I brashly thought, rather than ask for permission and be denied, why don’t I just go inside and take pictures until someone stops me? I mean, how long will it be before I get collared by security? Well, the answer was ‘not very long at all.’

Exposition Club House
The Menlo Avenue side.

Known as Agricultural Park since the 1870s, the 160-acre tract was renamed Exposition Park in 1910. In just three short years, the park was already home to a state armory, an exposition center, sunken gardens, a central fountain, and what would become the Natural History Museum.

Exposition Club House

The Exposition Club House was built sometime in the 1920s. Maybe the mid- to late-twenties, but possibly as early as 1922. A Los Angeles Times article from June 20, 1924 announced the city’s Playground Commission’s plans to build a pair of clubhouses, one each in Echo and Exposition Parks. The cost of the Exposition Park structure was estimated at $75,000, to be paid for with a commission bond issue. “The Exposition Park clubhouse is part of a plan… which will eventually give to the area baseball diamonds, tennis and horseshoe pitching courts.” I’d bet it’s the same clubhouse, but I wouldn’t bet a lot. For perspective, the neighboring Coliseum opened in June, 1923.

Exposition Club House
Exposition Club House
Exposition Club House

What’s unknown is the architect behind the Spanish-Colonial Revival building. I’m not sure that’s too tragic. I’m glad the building’s still around and being made of good use (it’s now the Ahmanson Senior Citizens Center and is part of the city’s Recreation and Parks Department), but it’s sort of unremarkable, I think.

Exposition Club House

Oh. I did get in two or three interior shots before I was busted. For what it’s worth, both the guard and his boss to whom he brought me were both good guys. Or maybe they were just suckers for my crocodile tears.

Exposition Club House
Exposition Club House
The ballroom.

Sources:

Hunt, Rockwell D. “Metamorphosis in Three Years” Los Angeles Times; Nov 2, 1913, p. II13

“To Draw Up Playground Club Plans” Los Angeles Times; Jun 20, 1924, p. A8


Up next: Hancock Memorial Museum

4 comments:

Nathan said...

Well, it’s no George Washington Smith, that’s for sure. It may be unremarkable, but at least it’s “picturesque.”

Senior center, eh? I guess the trick here is to garb yourself in polyester and old-age makeup and go undercover with the trusty Brownie Junior.

Palm Axis said...

One of the big issues at the time of the Club Houses' restoration was the curvy wall that surrounds the building. It had been painted with community murals (that had been marred by graffiti). What do you save? the murals that fall under a protective category and are of value to local residents or return the wall to a place that predates the murals?
Obviously, the choice was to remove the murals. I do like the addition of the community garden at the south end......So you made it to the Olympic Swim Stadium.

Anonymous said...

I came to preschool at this exact building from 1979-1980 and I just have very fond memories of this beautiful building. We also used to live right across from it, but now I believe it's a soccer field. Also, there used to be right on the corner of King Blvd and Menlo across from this building a pizza place. You were able to see from the big window how they made and tossed the pizza. I have many great memories. We moved out in the Summer of 1980 and it was just nostalgic visiting this place with my children. Thank you for the great photos.

Santa Barbra bl said...

Hey im from that area, grew up near there in the 70's I do remember the pizza place, they served beer too. It was at the time a good place for usc guys to grab a slice and a brew. Does anybody remember the name of that pizza place?