Articles about “laistory”

LAistory: The Odyssey, The All-Ages Dance Club Owned By a Famed Criminal That Mysteriously Went Up in Flames

Once upon a time in Los Angeles, young people had the chance to love the nightlife and boogie almost the same way the grown ups did, thanks to the popularity of all-ages, booze-free discos and nightclubs. One of the most popular and iconic of its era was the Odyssey (or, as it was sometimes known, the Odyssey 1) on Beverly Boulevard, which ruled the night...until it burned down.

LAistory: The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner

Before Lindsay Lohan and Mel Gibson, Angelinos of all ages hungrily awaited news of Fatty Arbuckle and the Black Dahlia, and before TMZ and Perez Hilton fit in our pockets, there was the afternoon edition of the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner. Trafficking in the salacious and the spectacular and operating out of a building boasting hand-painted gold leaf in the lobby, the Herald-Examiner and its home said ‘LA’ like no other paper could.

LAistory: Hollywood's Fred Harvey Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge

Vintage Hollywood postcard showing the Fred Harvey Restaurant The property at 1743 N. Cahuenga Boulevard [map], on a strip of street in Hollywood we often call the Cahuenga Corridor of late, is boarded up these days and undergoing yet another transformation. Over the past decade it's been the site of numerous trendy Hollywood hot spots, where paparazzi gather to ambush stars and heiresses with their flashes and coaxing into the wee hours. Paint it...

LAistory: Clifton's Cafeterias

Photo by jeffkingla via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr Last week came the news that the Clinton family (yes, Clinton) had decided to sell the building that has housed Clifton's Cafeteria, known as Clifton's Brookdale because of its whimsical forest themed decor, since 1935. Although few people admit to finding the food offered at the last of the Clifton's Cafeterias a gastronomic revelation, the news brought the immediate fear that this would...

LAistory: The Battle of Santa Monica Bay

On August 1, 1939, California Attorney General Earl Warren sent 250 local and state officers to raid four gambling ships anchored off the coast of Santa Monica and Long Beach. The Tango and Showboat idled off Long Beach while the Texas and the Rex anchored off Santa Monica. Local and state authorities, riding in Fish and Game boats and 16 rented water taxis, easily boarded the Tango, the Showboat and the Texas. Once aboard, raiding officers eagerly threw roulette wheels, dice tables, black jack tables and slot machines into the Pacific Ocean. Upon approaching the S.S. Rex, officers were greeted with armed gunmen and high-pressure fire hoses. A nine-day standoff ensued, which newspaper men dubbed "The Battle of Santa Monica Bay."

LAistory: Busch Gardens in Van Nuys

Parking stub, park pamphlets, etc. from the early era of the park (Vintage Disneyland Tickets) Once upon a time, Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley boasted its own theme park. The theme, ostensibly: Beer. Well, what else would you make the central focus of an amusement park located on the property of a major brewery? So how did beautiful Van Nuys, California wind up home to the lush, tropical, family-fun oriented Busch Gardens from 1966-1979?...

LAistory: The Cocoanut Grove

The Cocoanut Grove, a supper club where the rich and famous dined and danced, opened 3 months after the Ambassador Hotel, in April 1921. It was designed in Moorish style. The palm trees that decorated the room were rumored to have come from the Rudolph Valentino film, The Sheik and they had stuffed monkeys hanging from them. The ceiling was painted midnight blue and sparkling stars were strewn across its firmament....

LAistory: The Ambassador Hotel

As late as 2005, the Ambassador sat on twenty-four acres of land on Wilshire Boulevard in Koreatown. It was set far back from the street and had the haunted look of old castles. It drew the eye as only someplace ruined, someplace steeped in history can. Blinded, it was worn with crumbling at the edges, bound by a perimeter of chain link fences. It was a fabulous ghost and it could have been a...

LAistory: The Helms Bakery Coaches

Photo by resedabear via Flickr These days we're all a-Twitter about food on wheels. From comforting classics like ice cream novelties to tacos with an Korean twist, we seem to love the idea of finding food on our own two feet and the vendors' four wheels. But before Los Angeles was a tangle of freeways and cars getting food items from a truck was actually a way of life. While some of us may...

LAistory: The Ennis House

In Los Angeles, we knock things down. We build them the way we like them. We believe in creating a world the way we think it should be. It's this ethic that has destroyed some of our more famous landmarks, Pickfair was dismantled by Pia Zadora, the original Brown Derby may, at the time of this writing, be a dry cleaner. In a place where people come to reinvent themselves no one has much...

Recession Obsession: Randy's Donuts

Growing up on the East Coast I recognized early in life that doughnut culture orbited around the sugary planet called “Dunkin Donuts.” Some of my earliest memories were commercials featuring a gentlemen (who resembled both Super Mario and Hitler) who would exclaim softly through a grin, “it’s time to make the donuts.” Los Angeles didn't seem to have an equivalent character, nor a universally agreed upon doughnut hub. I observed the undiscerning masses finding satisfaction in the city's numerous, tiny independent doughnut shops (whose wares looked to all have rolled off the same assembly line in Palmdale.) But it didn’t take long to figure out that the most prominent doughnut in LA was three stories tall and stale as hell (see picture above.)

LAistory: Randy's Donuts

Yesterday was officially National Doughnut (or Donut) Day, but there's no reason to not carry the spirit of celebration over to your weekend, which is why today we're looking at the story behind one of our city's most well known structures.

LAistory: Hollyhock House

Photo by erinpk, via Flickr. Hollyhock House is a wonder wrought by Frank Lloyd Wright for our fair city. Though old Frank was a dick in person, he was unquestionably one of the more prominent architects of the twentieth century. Usually associated with his midwestern "Prairie Houses" (very influential in the arts and crafts movement, they were extended, low buildings with sloping roofs and deep terraces and overhangs. These, incidentally, were also an early...

LAistory: The Tower of Wooden Pallets

Department of City Planning We live in a city filled with thousands of landmarks, but whether it's just our proclivity for changing courses like our capricious weather patterns, or it's a matter of life imitating the kind of art that put us on the map, even when we call something a "landmark" it doesn't mean it's even here anymore. Or, really, that it even makes sense. Such is the case with one of the...

LAistory: Pickfair

Pickfair in its glory days. As any fan of LAistory knows, Los Angeles is a city of vanished places. We tear free of the past, and generally, whatever comes next, is not as fabulous or interesting as what was there before. The same holds true for the property called Pickfair. Superstars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks purchased the property at 1143 Summit Drive, in the San Ysidro Canyon in 1919. It was fifteen acres...

LAistory: The Pan Pacific Auditorium

The Pan Pacific Auditorium in 1937 (Photo via the Los Angeles Public Library) Imagine a structure hailed for its exterior design that took 60 days to build, was trafficked by hundreds of thousands of people for almost four decades, spent 17 years abandoned with an uncertain fate, contributed to the launch of LA's preservation movement, and took one night to burn to the ground. One structure that once stood in Los Angeles fits precisely...

LAistory: Mapping LAist's LAistory Series

View LAist's LAistory Map in a larger map Our team of researchers* are still knee-deep in material prepping for the next big entry in our series, so in the meanwhile, we thought we'd assemble this map that locates the places and events we've covered so far as LAistory closes in on its 1-year anniversary. Many of the places we've covered aren't even there anymore, but some vestiges remain in the form of buildings re-purposed or...

LAistory: The Garden of Allah

Paradise then, yes. Paved now, yes. 8150-8152 Sunset Blvd at Crescent Heights "Don’t it always seem to go / That you don't know what you’ve got / ‘Til it's gone / They paved paradise / And put up a parking lot" --Joni Mitchell, "Big Yellow Taxi" Urban legend has it that folk music legend and "lady of the canyon" Joni Mitchell penned her 1970 song "Big Yellow Taxi,"--an eerily cheerful lament about green space...

LAistory: Fatty Arbuckle's Plantation Cafe

from City of Culver City's website After Fatty Arbuckle's career was deep-sixed by one of the biggest scandals of its day, he tried his hands at a few things, not the least of which was Fatty Arbuckle's Plantation Cafe. Built at 11700 Washington Boulevard in Culver City, across the street from the site of Arbuckle's elementary school. Lavishly decorated by the head of the MGM art department, the cafe opened in 1928 with star...

LAistory: A Few Good Reads

Photo by dtaylor123 via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr There are plenty of ways you can reach out and connect with Los Angeles' vast and fascinating history beyond the confines of our weekly LAistory column. Whether it be through joining a preservation group, taking a walking tour, visiting a museum or historic site, or opening up the pages of a book, LA's stories are often within our grasp. For LAistory, while we...

LAistory: Tail O' The Pup

Tail O' The Pup in better days, from their website. We in Los Angeles like our big food. Big, architectural, junk food that is. Perhaps the king of big food is the Tail 'o the Pup, a hot dog stand designed in the shape of a hot dog in a bun. Already moved once from its original location where the Beverly Center now stands, the Tail O'the Pup was declared by the City of...

LAistory: Schwab's Pharmacy

Crowds gather outside Schwab's on Sunset in 1950 (Photo: Underwood & Underwood/Corbis) It was just over a year ago when the doors closed for good at the Virgin Megastore in the retail complex towering over the southeast corner of Sunset Boulevard and Crescent Heights. For many, it was the end of an era; the music store was the much-lauded anchor of the stores at 8000 Sunset and a regular stop for locals, celebs, starry-eyed...

LAistory: Los Angeles Alligator Farm

Unfortunately, you were born too late. You missed the alligator farm. At the turn of the century, the Lincoln Heights neighborhood popular as a weekend get away for Angelenos. In 1907, Francis Earnest and his partner, Joe "Alligator" Campbell opened an alligator farm (It was right next door to their ostrich farm. I'm not kidding.) With 2000 alligators and a smattering of turtles, iguanas and snakes, the farm offered such attractions as watching the...

LAistory: Who Killed William Desmond Taylor?

William Desmond Taylor William Desmond Taylor lived the kind of life that would be tough to live today, in our era of numbers and cards and facial recognition software. In the end, he paid a steep price for that life and so did Hollywood. Maybe he even lived many lives. He was an antiques dealer, panned for gold, he spent time in either the British or Canadian armies during World War I. He was...

LAistory: Tropical Ice Gardens

Once upon a time, when UCLA's roots were barely sinking into the grounds of a blossoming area called Westwood, there was an outdoor skating rink open year-round for pros and amateurs alike.

LAistory: Dan the Miner

Photo used with permission of M. London. In 1849, a flood of people came to California to cash in on the gold rush. They spent years bent over rivers, sifting for gold. Sometimes they made a fortune. Others, they came away empty handed. In this town, perseverance can really pay. Or sometimes it just gets you even more screwed. The “Dan the Miner” Statue has stood in Carthay Square since 1925 and has certainly...

LAistory: The Post-War House & The Home of Tomorrow

Call it a sign of the times: The property on the southeast corner of Wilshire and Highland bears a giant banner bearing the word "Foreclosure." Foreclosures, sadly, aren't uncommon, but this property seems like a bit of a curiosity, though, if you take a closer look. It's bordered by a low fence, and clearly used as a business, but among all the other offices, restaurants, and retailers in the neighborhood, it seems to be built...

LAistory: Carthay Circle Theater

All cities have the things they’ve plowed under. In Los Angeles, we still have whole neighborhoods that are named after things that aren’t there anymore. The Carthay area is named after a legendary movie palace, the Carthay Circle Theater. Other areas are also named after movie theaters, like Picfair, but Carthay Circle was considered on par with Grauman’s Chinese and second to none. A first run, road-show house, Carthay Circle was built in 1926,...

LAistory: Monkey Island

Image from "Hollywood 1900-1950 in Vintage Postcards" Arcadia Publishing/ (No publisher of image given) As Los Angeles began to reach out in all directions from its tenuous core in the early part of the 20th Century, the city became a place for families and for visitors, and finding ways to make money off keeping them entertained was a frequent pursuit of many visionaries and entrepreneurs. Although a massive theme park like Disneyland didn't come...

LAistory: Sowden House

Ken Kesey told us that “Some things are true, even if they never really happen.” What if a woman was never killed in a house that looks like it might gobble you up if you’re not careful? What if that crime felt true? Then where are you? Well, the answer is, of course, Los Angeles. The Sowden House was built in 1926, for artist and photographer, John Sowden. He wanted a startling space with...

LAistory: Cross Roads of the World

Shopping "experiences" like those Rick Caruso has developed in Los Angeles certainly give locals a lot to grouse about, but aside from the perils of modern living (see: Muffin tops, American Girl, and Uggs), these outdoor hyper-designed environments aren't anything new. Of course we can go back hundreds and hundreds of years and note that shopping outdoors in a village-esque atmosphere was a way of life--mainly because you lived in that village--but we can...

LAistory: The Outpost Sign

Photo by Marc Wanamaker/Bison Archives Hiking through the Hollywood Hills, one finds a lot of garbage. There's the usual bottles and cans of various types, old bits of carpeting, couches, bones, bicycles, even old cars sometimes. They all have (little h) history. Someone had to truck it up there and leave it, either to get rid of it, or to live in it, whatever. But very little has (capital H) History to it. Though...

LAistory: Griffith Park

It all started with the ostriches. Well, not really, but don't you think it should have? In fact, Griffith Park started with a curse. When the original owner of Griffith Park, Don Antonio Feliz died of small pox in 1863, he left his extensive land holdings to Don Antonio Coronel. Subsequently, his blind, destitute 17 year old niece, Dona Petronilla, cursed the land -- great misfortune would come to whoever owned it. One by one,...

LAistory: Fatty Arbuckle

Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle had the dubious distinction of being the movie business' first scandal. Born in Kansas in 1887, Roscoe Arbuckle (who only used the name "Fatty" professionally, and otherwise detested it) was catapulted to fame in Mack Sennett's Keystone Cops movies. He made famous the "pie in the face" gag so familiar to many of us. For a larger gentleman, he was an astonishingly graceful tumbler, and was said to have a lovely singing...

LAistory: Chutes Park

Downtown Los Angeles has been going through a massive period of renewal and development over the last several years in what can be thought of as an attempt to revive what was once the true core of our city. From high rise high-end condos and lofts to the entertainment "campus" of LA Live, there are more reasons now than in recent memory to live or visit Downtown. However, if we flip through the pages of...

LAistory: The Platinum Blonde

Just like there was an original "It" Girl, there was also an original "platinum blonde." Jean Harlow was born Harlean Harlow Carpenter on March 3, 1911 in Kansas City Missouri. Her father was a dentist from a blue collar background, while her mother was from a rich family. These were only the beginnings of their differences and her mother grew very unhappy in the marriage, eventually turning most of her attention to her daughter. Harlean...

LAistory: Spanish Kitchen

Old Spanish Kitchen photo used with permission by eyetwist via Flickr Some ghosts (though it's a little late in the season for it) aren't what you think. They aren't wailing waifs or glowing skulls. They're a restaurant called the Spanish Kitchen. I'm not talking about the Spanish Kitchen on La Cienega -- decorated like there's a South America Land in Disneyland and it's in it, though they have a sign that is an authentic...

LAistory: Houdini's House

What better way to celebrate Halloween than to talk about Harry Houdini, the greatest magician who ever lived. He died on Halloween in 1926 and on that day for 10 years thereafter, his wife tried to contact him by holding seances. He starred in a few early movies even -- mostly silent pics and serials. And he lived here for a time, though he was based mostly out of New York. These days, magicians...

LAistory: Get Involved!

In our weekly LAistory series we take a look at the people, places, and events in our city's amazing history. Our topics range from the long-forgotten, old familiar, or completely new to Angelenos, and hopefully our work reminds you that although our city is rich with history. Some of you may want to learn more and do your own digging...so this week we're bringing you some cool historical events that are happening that can help...

LAistory: Elias J. "Lucky" Baldwin

The name "Baldwin" shows up here and there around the City and County of Los Angeles, like in Baldwin Hills, or on Baldwin Avenue, which runs from El Monte through Temple City and into the foothills in Sierra Madre. Well the Baldwin in question is Elias J. "Lucky" Baldwin, a man who made a name for himself as a real estate maven and as a bit of a wild card in the late 1800s and...

LAistory: The It Girl

We talk about "It" girls in this town. There's a new flavor every week. It could be Mischa Barton, Scarlett Johansson, or Sienna Miller. We all kind of know what that means. A young starlet, largely untried but definitely gorgeous and sexy. But did you know that the phrase comes from one "It" girl? The original was the one and only Clara Bow. Clara Bow was an original Hollywood legend; born into the tenements of...

LAistory: Pilgrimage Bridge

Photo of Pilgrimage Bridge via Historic Bridges of the United States Recently there was a brief news item on LAist (and some ensuing traffic headaches) about some construction materials spilling onto the 101 Hollywood Freeway near the Pilgrimage Bridge. Sure, most of us have driven through the Cahuenga Pass on the freeway or northbound on Cahuenga or southbound on Highland and have passed the Bridge, or we've crossed it--maybe en route to the Bowl...

LAistory: Something Smells at the Train Station

This story didn't happen at Union Station. It was about four years too early for that. But at least in reading the story, we can imagine that it happened there, as all good noir stories should. It was 1931, and something fishy was going on. The train from Phoenix had pulled in on time, now all the luggage was gone, except two trunks -- that stank so badly, the porters wished it was fish. It...

LAistory: The Fred Harvey Room

While we're talking about train stations, a man by the name, Fred Harvey forged a partnership in 1876 with the railroads to open chains of hotels and restaurants along the railways, they continued to be built and operated through the 1940s, though Fred Harvey himself died in 1901. They became a civilizing force in the wild west. Food was served on china, and coats were required in the dining rooms. It's thought that blue...

LAistory: Union Station

There are few places in Los Angeles where you can feel the history, where if you squint hard enough, you could easily be in the 1930s, and yet that have a key place in Los Angeles' future. That place is Union Station, one of the most beautiful buildings in our city. Most of it is open to the public and it's central to anyone who wants to take a train, bus or subway (which makes...

LAistory: The Ugliest Building in Los Angeles

In 2007, Curbed LA named Hollywood and Highland the ugliest building in Los Angeles. From many (if not most) angles, they have a point. But In the center of this ode to modern consumerism is a secret, a reference to the glamor and debauchery that are Hollywood's past. It started, as all the best secrets do, a long, long time ago. In 1916, D.W. Griffith made Intolerance, his response to the widely maligned Birth of...

LAistory: Price of Happiness Now $69

A Quick Look at the History of the Cost of a Trip to Anaheim's Disneyland The high cost of living has hit everyone hard, and now Mickey Mouse is feeling the pain, too. That's why the price of coming to visit him and all his friends at the "Happiest Place on Earth" will be even more expensive, starting tomorrow. KNBC explains: At Disneyland in Anaheim, one-day prices will rise from $66 to $69 for those...

LAistory: Pink Lady of Malibu

On October 28, 1966, commuters between Malibu and the Valley were surprised by the image of a large, running depiction of a naked woman. Sixty feet tall, painted in pink house paint, she was quickly dubbed The Pink Lady. At first, there was much speculation as to the artist and the purpose of such an image. Due to the subject matter, it was assumed to be a man. It turned out that this mysterious image...

LAistory: The 1925 "Hollywood Subway"

Think LA's relationship with underground rail transit began with the first tunnels blasted out to make way for the Red Line? Think again! LA's first subterranean transit system was a short stretch of tunneling dubbed the "Hollywood Subway," which moved its first passengers under the city in 1925 via electric interurban rail cars. Opening Day in Toluca Yard (end of the Hollywood Subway at 1st and Glendale); original source unkonwn, via California Trolleys The idea...

LAistory: The Wreck of the Dominator

The Dominator ran aground on March 13, 1961 at the point between Lunada Bay and Malaga Cove, near Rocky Point. Carrying a load of wheat and beef from Vancouver, B.C, the vessel was trapped by the current after coming too close to the cliffs. Residents have watched over the years as the sea slowly destroyed the wreckage, until finally just a few bits of the hull and bow remain scattered on the shore. More of the boat is visible at low tide. There are two routes by which to access the wreckage today. Experienced hikers and climbers can make their way down the steep cliffs, but must be cautious of the rocky terrain. It is recommended you go at low tide, be prepared to get wet, and keep an eye out for interesting tide pools.

LAistory: What's in a Name?

LAistory is a series that takes us on a journey to what came before to help us understand where we are today. So far we've been to Val Verde, Thelma Todd's Roadside Cafe, a house in Beverly Hills, Echo Park's Bonnie Brae House, Marineland of the Pacific, and Grand Central Air Terminal, and Wrigley Field. Los Angeles. L.A. The name is so familiar. Whenever major cities in the U.S. are named, Los Angeles is...

LAistory: Baseball's First Wrigley Field Was in LA

LAistory is a series that takes us on a journey to what came before to help us understand where we are today. So far we've been to Val Verde, Thelma Todd's Roadside Cafe, a house in Beverly Hills, Echo Park's Bonnie Brae House, Marineland of the Pacific, and Grand Central Air Terminal in Glendale. Now we're going to take you out to the ballgame, some decades back... The arrival of the Dodgers in Los...

LAistory: Grand Central Air Terminal

LAistory is a series that takes us on a journey to what came before to help us understand where we are today. So far we've been to Val Verde (the "Black Palm Springs"), Thelma Todd's Roadside Cafe, a house in Beverly Hills, Echo Park's Bonnie Brae House, and the long-gone Marineland of the Pacific. Now we're taking to the skies and flying back to the Golden Era of air travel right here in Glendale......

LAistory: All That's Left is the Story

LAistory is our new series that will take us on a journey to what came before to help us understand where we are today. We began with Val Verde, the "Black Palm Springs", then journeyed to Thelma Todd's Roadside Cafe, and now we're looking at where a house once stood in Beverly Hills... The piece of property at 9755 Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills sat empty for a good twenty years. I have some...

LAistory: Val Verde, The 'Black Palm Springs'

Although Los Angeles is by most standards a young city, it is a city full of history, regardless. In LAist's past we've looked at the mysterious Spider Pool ruins, the life of James M. Wood, and Campo de Cahuenga, but have barely scratched the surface. Today we're introducing a new feature on the site, LAistory, which will take us on a journey to what came before to help us understand where we are today. We...

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