Wednesday, September 26, 2007

No. 69 - Los Angeles Athletic Club

Los Angeles Athletic Club

Los Angeles Athletic Club
1911 – John Parkinson and Edwin Bergstrom
431 West Seventh Street – map
Declared: 9/16/70

The Los Angeles Athletic Club was formed back in 1880, its first president being James B. Lankershim, its first headquarters in the Arcadia Building on Spring Street. For most of the decade it was the on the Downey Block, after which it relocated to South Spring Street, first at 226, then at 523 ½. The L.A.A.C.’s website says members included muckety-mucks Harrison Gray Otis, Harry Chandler, Eli Clark, Moses Sherman, Henry Huntington, Edward L. Doheny, Charles Canfield, Senator Stephen White, and Mayor Fred Eaton.

Hotel Baltimore
The Hotel Baltimore

In 1911, construction on a new club building began at Seventh and Olive Streets on the site of the former Hotel Baltimore. John Parkinson and Edwin Bergstrom were the architects. The Beaux Arts building stands twelve stories tall and features pressed brick with a trim of terra cotta. The Los Angeles Athletic Club opened its gym at noon on April 8, 1912.

Los Angeles Athletic Club

Back then, the big thing was the historic, 100-foot swimming pool. Holding 166,000 gallons, it was the first pool to be built on an upper floor (in this case, the sixth). Here 'tis from the inside.

Los Angeles Athletic Club Swimming Pool

And from the outside...

Los Angeles Athletic Club

During the teens and twenties, the crème de la crème of early Hollywood hung out there, most notably Charlie Chaplin, who lived at the club for a spell.

I could go on and on, but I’d just be copying stuff off the club’s site’s history page.

Los Angeles Athletic Club
The Olive Street side

If you’re interested in the set-up as it was in late 1911, look up L.A.A.C. president Frank A. Garbutt’s series of articles for the Los Angeles Times called “The New Athletic Club”. Over the course of a couple of weeks, Garbutt went into lots of detail of the building, one floor per day. The collection is a veritable advertisement for the club. (Garbutt was with the club from 1890 to 1947.) One of my favorite bits of information is "The garbage is taken care of in a unique manner, being frozen in a special garbage refrigeration room, thus keeping it sweet and sanitary during the time it remains in the building."

Mmmmm…. sweet, sweet garbage.

Finally, one more shot of the Los Angeles Athletic Club. That’s the old Pantages Theatre to the right, now advertising something called “olamono5”.

Los Angeles Athletic Club

Up next: Widney Hall


Anonymous said...

Doesn't seeing things like this (remnants from a better past) make you feel like we're Rome, just a bit beyond 476 AD?

On a more positive note, I think LAAC is great. My wife is there right now.

Rachelle Navarro said...

were you joking when you said it's advertising olamano5?

It's in the downtown area close to the Diamond District. I'm sure it says Diamonds. :)