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Common Ground: the Histories of the Ambassador Hotel’s Neighborhood
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1865

La Brea Tar Pits: 5800 Wilshire Boulevard. Señor Jose Antonio Roche sells the land now known as La Brea Tar Pits to New Hampshire transplant Major Henry Hancock. In the agreement, Hancock ensures that Los Angeles residents may continue to use as much of the tar as they desire. Hancock himself makes a small fortune digging out tar that is used for asphalt for Los Angeles and San Francisco streets. In doing so, he creates the “pit.” By 1901 the area is nicknamed “La Heusementa” or “the bone yard” for all of the bones pulled out of the tar and discarded to the side. Scientists investigate the bones and discover a treasure trove of fossil records. The discovery of oil also brings dozens of oil drills to the area to pump the site for “black gold.”

1870
Gottfried Schmidt acquires the 160 acres where the Ambassador Hotel stood by means of the Pre-Emption Act of 1841. According to records, Gottfried Schmidt was a farmer who lived with his wife Hulda Franciska and their three sons. They lived on these 160 acres for about thirty years.
1895
November 24: The Wilshire brothers ask City Council to improve the land they donated to be used as a boulevard and to name it Wilshire Boulevard. The lane is called Nevada Street. They petition for the 120 feet wide boulevard to "be laid out in a 50 foot roadway, with 35 foot sidewalk on each side [and] a cement curb and cement sidewalk, six feet wide." In addition, they request that the land running eastwardly that is donated by the city for another boulevard be laid out the same and named Benton Boulevard.

1895

December 11 : Wilshire Boulevard is advertised for sale. It is said to be the “most magnificent property ever offered for sale in Los Angeles.

1896

In the 1860s this area was known as an unsightly ravine with alkali cones. The land was put up for public auction by the city and no one would purchase it so in 1896 Mayor William Workman decided to create a lake and park instead. In 1930 the park was divided in 2 and after WWII what was called “Westlake Park” was renamed in honor of WWII hero General Douglas MacArthur.

1896

February 8: City Council approves the Wilshire Company's petition and dedicates Wilshire Boulevard as a public street. The following ordinances are put into effect: no railroad track shall ever be laid on Wilshire Boulevard, from Park View Avenue to the western city limits; no house-moving on or across the street is ever permitted; no vehicle (truck, dray, wagon, or cart) "carrying goods, merchandise, coal, manure, sand, lumber or other articles of commerce or trade" may travel on or across the street, unless the goods are to be delivered to Wilshire Boulevard residents. Any ordinance violators are charged with a misdemeanor and punished with "a fine no less than $5 or more than $50, or imprisonment in the City Jail for not less than five days or more than six months."

1897

February 4: The Wilshire brothers request that the Park Commission take care of the boulevard's horticulture. After the request is declined, they petition for an ordinance forcing the Park Commission to be in charge of maintaining, caring for and protecting the lawns, shrubberies and trees on the boulevard for a period of no less than two years from the ordinance's establishment.

1900s

Wilshire Center section is developed by Gaylord Wilshire between MacArthur Park and Wilton Place.

1902
Gottfried Schmidt sells twenty-three acres of his property (what would eventually become the grounds for the Ambassador Hotel) to Ella Crowell who then sells half of her newly acquired portion to the Los Angeles Pacific Railway Company who was interested in building a interurban railway at the time.
1904
On September 8, the city of Los Angeles approves the grading of Berendo Street from San Marino Street to Tenth Street.
1907
January 27: A house between Sixth Street and Wilshire Boulevard is considered among the most outstanding houses built by architect Lester S. Moore and contractor Thomas K. Miller. The property measures 60 x 218 feet and the first floor has eleven rooms. It was very costly to build as payments were $12,000 for the house while the overall investment was $20,000.

1912

Originally part of the Rancho Las Cienegas, Lafayette Square is subdivided in 1912 from barley fields and pastures by the Crenshaw Security Co. The elegant residential park, is about a fifteen minute drive west of downtown and is bordered by Venice, Washington and Crenshaw Boulevards, and West Boulevard/La Brea Avenue. Its main feature is St. Charles Place; a broad, palm lined avenue with a landscaped center strip as its centerpiece. The Square, which sat on Los Angeles' westernmost boundary in 1910, was the last and greatest of George L. Crenshaw’s ten residential developments in the city. Crenshaw, a Midwest banker, was a major residential developer and architectural trendsetter who often set the pace for development in the city. Many prominent citizens will build their homes in the decade following World War II, included George Pepperdine, WC Fields, Fatty Arbuckle, Norton Simon, Joe Louis, Princess Pignatelli & Paul Williams.

1915

Rabbi Magnin, of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple off Wilshire and Hobart, is a native Californian who witnesses the transformation of Los Angeles from a land of tourists and orange and lemon fields to a great city of its own. Honored for his 50 years’ of service at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple off Wilshire and Hobart Boulevard, he brings many to the city by serving residents from the west side of LA to the San Fernando Valley starting in 1915. The Temple is built by a congregation descended from one organized in 1862.

1915
December 23: Farmhouse railroad contractor Charles Henry Sharp dies at the family residence on Wilshire Boulevard and Shatto Place on December 22nd. He "started on railroad construction when but nineteen years old" and "built hundreds of miles and developed extensive business interest throughout" the United States. He built many railroad works in the East, South, and Middle east of the US, as well as Canada. He also joined Charles A. Fellows to create The Sharps & Fellows Construction Company, where they worked together on projects in New Mexico, Arizona and California.
1916
September 2: Clara R. Shatto loses the fight to keep the original character of lot fifteen in Shatto Place to W.A Strong. W.A Strong will use the area to build apartment houses and hotels.
1917

March 25: Four grand residences on the west side are sold: two on Wilshire Boulevard, one on South Norton Avenue, and another on Lorraine Boulevard. Residences in Southern California become higher in demand.

1919
Ella Crowell and the Los Angeles Pacific Railway Company sell their halves of land (a combined twenty-three acres) to the Hotel Company, who break ground in June 1919 with their $5 million dollar project, the Ambassador Hotel. The Hotel Company's plan meets the approval of the Los Angeles & Wilshire Chambers of Commerce.

1920

February 4: Vernon Goodwin, owner of the Alexandria hotel, the Ambassador of Santa Barbara and the new Ambassador of Los Angeles, returns from a trip to Chicago and New York, where he arranged for some equipment purchases for the hotels and made plans on the improvement of the existing hotels. He states that the edification of the Ambassador on Wilshire will be completed by November 1. He is quoted with saying “people are thinking about Los Angeles more and more. ‘Westward the star of empire takes its way’ is becoming a truism more now than in the past.”

1920

September 13: W.M Von Sick, who lives at 703 East Fortieth Street, lies to residents about being a watchman hired to guard private property on Vermont Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard. He extorts $25 from Edward Hennes using his former police badge that had been revoked to him for the same reason: extortion of money.

1920
W.M Von Sick, who lives at 703 East Fortieth Street, lies to residents about being a watchman hired to guard private property on Vermont Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard. He lies to Edward Hennes and extorts $25 from him as payment. Von Sick has been using a police badge that had been revoked, also for extortion.

1921

January 16: The Ambassador Hotel opens “with a splendor unrivaled in the social life of the West.” 2,000 visitors are scheduled to attend, including some very prominent people. There are also several events planned for the day, among them an all women orchestra performing in the “tea dansant” followed by a jazz performance in the Palm Room. In the evening during dinner, two symphony orchestras performed in the dinning room. The banquet was the largest given in Los Angeles to that day.

1921
January 18: The Ambassador Hotel holds its formal opening ball "with a splendor unrivaled in the social life of the West." 2,000 visitors were scheduled to attend, including some very prominent people. There are also several events planned for the day, among them an all women orchestra performing in the "tea dansant" followed by a jazz performance in the Palm Room. In the evening during dinner, two symphony orchestras performed in the dinning room. The banquet was the largest given in Los Angeles to that day.
1921
The Cocoanut Grove opens as a nightclub within the Ambassador Hotel on April 21. Inside, paper maché cocanut trees with stuffed monkeys swinging from branches loomed over the guests.
1921
December 2: Around 1,200 famous actors and film writers gather for the Writers' Cramp at the Ambassador Hotel. In attendance were Madge Bellamy, Helene Chadwick, Mildred Davis, Marjorie Saw, Marguerite De la Motte, Pauline Starke, Tully Marshall, Theodore Roberts, Ben Turnip and Lionel Belmore. Throughout the night, there were speeches, songs, and a sketch "Lo, the Poor Writer" written by Thompson Buchanan.

1921

Miracle Mile, between Sycamore and Fairfax Avenues, purchased by developer A.W. Ross, paid $54,000 for 18 acres. Land was a service road for oil wells in the neighborhood.

1922

September 3: The president of the Dahlia Society, Dr. G. S Archer of Alhambra, announces an exhibit of "untold numbers" of Dahlias at the Ambassador Hotel.

1922

September 17: Dealers of the Ford company met at a convention held at the Ambassador Hotel on the 13th of September. The following day there were two meetings held – one in Santa Ana and another at San Diego. These conventions discussed sale plans for the representatives and services held at about 9,000 locations around the US providing to the more than five million car owners their services.

1922
July 23: A Coronation Ball of the winner of the queen of Los Angeles is held at the Ambassador Hotel. The first prize was a Durant automobile, the second prize was a $400 piano, and the third prize award was a several hundred-dollar coat donated by the Columbia Outfitting Company.
1923
January 1: A pro-open shop banquet was held at the Ambassador Hotel where L. H Rice, president of the Merchants and Manufacturers Association, discussed the benefits of open shops to the city for the more than 500 present. State Senator, G.W. Cartwright's mention of the "The World's Greatest Blunder" opened up a wide variety of discussions.
1923
July 25: A water carnival was held at the Ambassador Hotel, where several entertainers like Sammy Cohen of the Ambassador Club made an appearance. Cohen presented comedy diving stunts while Olive Hatch of the Los Angeles Athletic Club and Helen Vernon of the Ambassador Club held a race.
1923
August 5: Nearly 100 orphans are given a show in the east lawn of the Ambassador Hotel. Most of them were from the Los Angeles Orphanage while others were from the Jewish Orphanage Home. The show presented real Native Americans to the audience. Among the main attractions was a tiny papoose on the back of one of the Native American woman. Members of the Anatole Friedland company presented vaudeville stunts – some featuring a clown named Poodles Hannaford.

1923

December 18: Santa Monica's City Commissioner is served an injunction preventing the city from widening Wilshire Boulevard to primarily prevent the removal of the shade trees that line its sides. A hearing on the matter is scheduled in Superior Court for Friday morning.

1924
February 19: Rapidly increasing land values impede that the Ebell Club reconstructs their building on their site on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Shatto Place. An assuring real estate agent, Mrs. Grantland Seaton Long, tried to convince the club that she could sell their land for 'one hundred fold." A.B Cooke, the Ebell chairman of parks, presented to the City Council a proposal to stop an ice plant from erecting a building on Third and Vermont in order to make the land into a parkway.
1924
April 24: The Los Angeles Times reports the 60th anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Berny who married during the Civil War in Terre Haute, Indiana. The article details the couple have eight children, sixteen grandchildren, and one great-grandchild but does not note the name of Mrs. Berny.
May 19: The first traffic signals are installed around Los Angeles. They stand at five feet and six inches, and they have two lights; red means "stop" and green means "go." One of the new lights is put up in the middle of the intersection of Adams and Figueroa streets while another one is erected at Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue.
1924
June 16: $50,000 in rare wines and liquor are confiscated at the residence of J. Langford Stack at 411 South Ardmore Avenue. Stack contends the liquor is pre-Volstead Act. The stock invoiced includes seven cases of absinthe, thirty-six cases of bonded liquors, 366 quarts of assorted high-grade liquors, six ten-gallon demijohns of whisky, twenty-six separate gallons of whisky. 200 gallons of wine, and seventy cases of wine. Stack has to produce shipping receipts to prove that this alcohol was shipped to him from his previous home in Chicago where he runs a successful advertising agency.
1924
July 13: Swimming Coach Roger Cornell of the Ambassador Hotel hosted a new program in which high diving and underwater swimming took place. Among the stuntmen was Elizabeth Jones who demonstrated how to swim with ones feet and arms tied.
1924

November 24: LA experiences reckless driving that puts others in danger like racing in public streets. One reporter writes about seeing a woman being harassed by a man in his Ford. He mentions that he feels hustled by other drivers who drive past him and give him impatient looks and feels that there is no control and respect for the highway laws.

1924
December 4: An American flag is unfurled with a bolt that traveled across the country from New York to Los Angeles announcing the beginning of a banquet to discuss the importance of radio. The bolt was sent by J.G Harbor, president of the Radio Corp of America, as he pressed a key in his office in New York. In the banquet Aimee Semple McPherson (an evangelic pastor), Lee Heath (chief of police), Dr. Ross Moor (psychiatrist) and Walter Gordon Clark (vice president of the American Radio Exposition Company) all discussed the many uses that the radio provided for their subjects.
1925
February 1: A very anticipated motion picture introducing new Hollywood talent was held at the Ambassador Hotel as part of the annual balls that Western Motion Picture Advertisers used to hold.
1925
November 15: The Adventurer's Club hosted a Latin America themed meeting at the Ambassador Hotel. People who have visited places like Brazil (David C. Pascoe) and the Andes (George Lewis Cooper), as well as an ex-council member from South America were present. It was also arranged for students of the University of Southern California to go and listen to a live performance of diverse Latin music performing artists as part of their studies of Latin America.
1927
January 27: The Schoenefeld Studios of Music at 642 South Berendo hosts the Shakespeare Study and Dramatic Club' reading of King Henry the Sixth at eight pm.
1927
February 2: Mabel den Akker receives the approval from her parents to marry an "Arab" and marries at her parents home at 660 St. Andrews Place. The groom is Farid Simalka--an Egyptian swimmer and Olympian. The ceremony is officiated by Reverend Bruce Black of the Wilshire Baptist Church. According to the Los Angeles Times: "All's well that ends well," commented Mrs. Van den Akker, who had objected to her daughter's marriage to the young swimmer because of his race. He is an Arab. She added: "I did all I could to stop it--I even asked the immigration authorities to deport the man who is now my son-in-law, but I'm sure now that everything will turn out all right. They do love each other. I was mistaken."

1927

March 24: Construction of new Immanuel Presbyterian Building at Wilshire Blvd. and Berendo St. begins, slated to cost $1,500,000. Originally founded by W. J. Chichester forty years ago. Construction begins witha ceremony hosted by Dr. William O. Thompson of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America. The church has the seating capacity of 2,300.

1927
June 3: Shatto Place is to remain restricted and exclusive as deemed by the California Supreme Court. Ruling includes property bounded by Wilshire Boulevard, Vermont Avenue, Fifth Street and Westmoreland Avenue and prohibits property worth less than $10,000 as well as business buildings. The Court ruled that Shatto Place was entitled to "retain its exclusiveness and not be invaded by secondary residential structures or business buildings." The ruling was passed in accordance with the original sales agreement drawn up in 1904 by Clara R. Shatto.

1929

May 3: Construction of new Immanuel Presbyterian Church at Wilshire Boulevard and Berendo Street is completed. A Gothic style edifice is completed at the cost of $1,300,000. Dr. Hugh K. Walker, "Moderator of the Presbyterian General Assembly," led the dedication. Los Angeles has the second largest population of Presbyterians in the United States.

1929

June 2: Warner Brothers commissions murals to be painted in the walls of B’nai B’rith Temple on Wilshire Boulevard and breaks the Jewish tradition of not honoring false icons by showing representations of the spirit. The murals depicted biblical stories from the books of Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs. Also depicted were characters of the Bible important to the Jewish religion.

1929
June 30: The Classic Art Gallery moves from 611 South Serrano to its new "attractive" headquarters at 647 South Oxford, near the corner of Wilshire. The Classic Art Gallery specializes in pictures of the Old Masters and is run by Dr. Martin Porkay.

1929

November 13: Thirty-two posts of the American Legion sponsor the Western Aircraft Show for American Legion Day. Festivities begin with a parade of drummers and those in the represented American Legion posts. The Western Aircraft Show takes place at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue. The show has sixty-five airplanes and aviation equipment on display. Attendees include wartime aviators and film celebrities.

1930

December 14: The United States Census reports that Beverly Hills is the "fastest growing community in the United States." Residential areas are being occupied at 1% per month.

1930
April 3: The 3rd annual Academy Awards are held at the Cocoanut Grove and marks the first occasion in which the famous Oscar statues are used.
1931
July 8: Erma Hubbell, social executive for the Ambassador Hotel announces she has "added a staff of eight Latin American gigolos to her crew.... For those (guests) that enjoy dancing we have arranged a series of tango teas and just to be sure that lonely women will find a partner who can dance the tango we always have from six to eight gigolos--trained professional dancers--to serve as partners." The Los Angeles Times reports: "Mrs. Hubbell explained that the Ambassador was the first hotel to introduce the gigolo and she believes the innovation has proven its worth." Hubbell's misuse of the term "gigolo" causes a hullabaloo as the men employed at the Cocoanut Grove are professional dancers. In 1967 the Los Angeles Times revisits the "gigolo controversy" and Hubbell recalls: "What incensed the professional dancers was the "uncouth and ribald snickers" engendered by their being termed gigolos, defined by the dictionary as "a man living on the earnings of or supported by a woman." The Latin Americans somewhat undermined their case when they supposedly chanted to the press in unison: "To feminine tangoists nightly we're sold, We're willing to push and to haul and to tow, But we simply won't stand to be called gigolo. So there."
1931
August 2: Harry Howard (28 years of age) and Ray Golish (30 years old) are arrested for having a speakeasy in their apartment at 729 South St. Andrews Place. Liquor raiders seize cases of whisky and gin and several hundred quarts of beer.
1931
October 11: After a deluge of complaints from local residents and the Wilshire Boulevard Association, Robert S. Breyer, president of the Los Angeles Traffic Association, announced that the "gongs" would be removed from the newly installed traffic signals on Wilshire Boulevard. According to the Los Angeles Times: "When the signals were put into operation last week, four loud gongs, one on each signal, marked the change from stop to go."

1931

December 20: Along with the rest of the city, Wilshire Boulevard undergoes beautification efforts in preparation for the 1932 Olympic Games. Realty broker Howard B. Lawson takes responsibility for the clean-up of vacant lots and planting of gardens therein for Wilshire Boulevard. City officials advise to plow the empty lots instead of burning them when clearing the vacant lots of brush and weeds. An estimated 25,000 trees are planted citywide.

1932
July 31: The International Ball is held at the Shrine Auditorium. Many important figures like musicians, celebrities and Royalty attend. People of the British and French Council were also at the event. Meanwhile, Pasadena has opened a series of education events in the Huntington Library, Art Galleries, Universities and the Community Playhouse for three days of hospitality.
1932
April 17: The Automobile Club of Southern California explains to motorists how to read traffic light signals on Wilshire to stop people from crossing red lights.
1933
October 16: Kittens are rescued from tree: 3 kittens are left in a paper bag hanging in a tree off Commonwealth Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard are rescued by police and given homes. The kittens names are Lucille, Dorothy and Christy.
1936
January 16: Federal liquor raiders discover a "Sucker List" at 1230 Irolo Street when they went in search of illegal liquor supplies. Elwood Squires, head of the investigation, reports finding names and addresses of many Hollywood stars and prominent citizens in a notebook, mixing equipment, a capping device and labels and stamps.
1937
April 20: Superior Court Judge Ambrose fines former police officer Jack M. Dempsey one cent for his conviction for simple assault and declares: "There is nothing that you can be proud of in the fact that I have said what have said about the prosecution of this case which was not for the purpose of punishing you for what you really did, but protecting the police officers for doing something which they had no business to do." Dempsey returned to his home at 752 South Irolo Street and accidentally broke several "red lanterns" (like contemporary construction cones) that were left to mark a street excavation. He entered his home and discovered two policemen in his home who had been notified by radio of the destroyed lanterns and had rushed to the scene. Dempsey demanded they leave, as he had done nothing wrong. In so doing, Dempsey struck one of the officers across the face with his gun.
1939

October 17: The women's division of The Democratic National Committee met at the Ambassador Hotel to discus the New Deal proposed by President Roosevelt, headed by the director of the committee Mrs. Dorothy McAllister.

1944

September 11: The Jewish Welfare fund raises 2 million dollars to help European countries affected by the Nazis. It is the most money any organization in Los Angeles has been able to collect. A celebration for the 3,000 volunteers of the organization is held at the Ambassador Hotel.

1944
October 16: A meeting is held in Berendo Jr. High on Berendo Street and Pico Boulevard to discuss Proposition 12. The Proposition proposes that all workers, regardless of whether they belong to a union or not, should have the right to work without being exploited.

1947

September 5: Representatives from six Wilshire boulevard businessmen’s groups plan to beautify Wilshire Boulevard and make it the most famous boulevard in the world. They are considering adding more landscapes throughout the street and getting rid of unattractive hot dog stands, "unartistic" billboards and shack-type flower stands.

1948

May 25: The National Council of Jewish Women held its annual June breakfast at the Ambassador Hotel with a "romance of California's early history" and will also present their new president Mrs. Harry D. Seltzer. The breakfast will have some members presenting a list of "California 'Firsts'" such as the first marriage, the first divorce, and the first nun of the State.

1949

There are 43 drive-in restaurants along Wilshire Boulevard. Bob’s Airmail Service, “a gas station set under the wings of a twin-engined airplane” is found at the corner of Cochran Avenue.

1950

The median dividing Wilshire Boulevard at "the Miracle Mile" has palm trees planted on it.

1952

September 24: Richard Nixon composes his “Checkers Speech” at the Ambassador Hotel. He also addresses the nation in the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood via radio broadcast. He orders for the theatre to be empty except for the technicians and has as his audience his wife and a few members of his staff like Representative Pat Hillings, William Rogers and James Basset. After the broadcast the Nixons left the theatre to find a group of supporters outside cheering them on.

1953
April 2: The Ardmore Recreation Center, located at San Marino and SouthArdmore Aces, receives a thank you note from a senior who joined an event hosted by the American Women Volunteers Service Society held for the Seniors of LA.
1956

October 29: The Nixons join the services at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church. To get to the church, they walked two blocks from the Ambassador Hotel.

1957
The Cocoanut Grove is completely remodeled with a $750,000 budget.
1957

December 9: The Ephebian Society held a party at their headquarters in 642 Berendo Street "…for their annual toy-stuffing party." In order to gain support, they sent out notices inviting the public to come out to help with their charity work.

1960

September 8: Campaigns for the presidential election between John F. Kennedy and the re-election of Richard Nixon began after the Labor Day holiday. Democrat candidate Kennedy made his first major address at the Shrine Auditorium, after which he had a sidewalk campaign at the Valley Plaza Shopping Center before going towards the Ambassador Hotel. Republicans held an event at the Hollywood Palladium on September 29 where they used the slogan "Buy A Share in the Nixon-Lodge Victory." They also sold supporters a "$100 a plate dinner." Nixon's headquarters were at 3773 Wilshire Boulevard, 4248 S. Vermont Avenue, Chinatown; 445 Gingling Way and in 7022 Pacific Boulevard, Huntington Park.

1961
June 29: On Monday, Vice-president Nixon addresses the opening night session of the national convention of the City of Hope. Over 1,000 delegates and guests who are representing 405 auxiliaries in 28 states have been invited to the event. The Meeting will take place at the Ambassador Hotel on a Monday and will end Wednesday. Chairman of the convention cabinet Bernard S. Selber predicts the meeting will "emphasize and expand Duarte's City of Hope patient care, research and education in the catastrophic diseases." The meetings will also decide what the National Medical Center will be working on for the next two years. The delegates will obtain most of their information from president Louis Tabak and executive director Ben Horowitz. Greetings from Los Angeles citizens will be shared at the beginning of the meeting by Mayor Samuel W. Yorty.
1962
June 17: The first part of a series called "The Making of the President 1960" is printed. The series narrates the course of events that led up to the election of President John F. Kennedy. As the results of the election were coming in, Nixon was watching from the Ambassador Hotel.
1962
March 22: The Los Angeles County Federation of Republican Women's Annual School of Politics is scheduled to be held in the Ambassador Hotel. The meeting is scheduled for 10am in the Embassy Ballroom and a luncheon meeting will be scheduled at noon in the Cocoanut Grove. The luncheon meeting will be under the control of county president Mrs. John D. Bowler Jr. The Santa Monica Republican Women's Club will put on a humorous play directed by president Mrs. Wayne Scott which will illustrate how to defeat or avoid election fraud. Ronald Reagan will be a guest speaker at the luncheon and Mrs. Ralph Gahm is in charge of event arragments with the help of Mmes. Theron Martin, E. Roy Ingraham, Howard Green, Archie Lee West, Elizabeth Kinsey and Edward Karst. Also in charge are Mrs. Harry Newman president of the San Fernanado Valley Club for the morning meeting and Mrs. Robert Thorsen president of the Reseda Club for the luncheon meeting.
1962
April 22: Van Johnson is starring in "The Music Man" at the Ambassador Hotel's Cocoanut Grove after 4 years since his last appearance in Hollywood, since "Kelly and Me," for Universal-International. Van Johnson is so happy to be back in town he comments on how "even the air smells so wonderful, I had forgotten how neat and clean and orderly everything is." He even compliments how Wilshire Boulevard's Moroccan Facades new buildings resemble Cairo or Hilton Hotels. Reminiscing of the start of his career, he remarks that the "first Hollywood Oscar Dinner I went to was here at the Grove."

1963

April 23: The Wilshire-Shatto area grows with the opening of the Mission National Bank, the first independent bank to headquarter between the downtown Los Angeles and Beverly Hills-Westside financial centers in years. Papy H. Toy, the president of the new bank, calls this area “the most rapidly growing part of the Wilshire community.” The décor of the bank recalls early Spanish, complete with murals illustrating California’s mission trails and missions. The color scheme will be Spanish as well: green, red, ivory, black and gold.

1963
April 28: Nat King Cole is scheduled to play at the Cocoanut Grove for three weeks at the Ambassador Hotel's supper club. Cole is a "jazz pianist" who, at the time of this article, was popular for the recent record album "Rambling Rose" and "Dear Lonely Hearts." Recently, he had also played in Australia, Korea, Japan, Formosa, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. In July, he will be in England. His Grove performance will feature lyrics in Spanish, Italian, French, and Japanese.
1963
November 15: Rabbi Edgar F. Magnin is given a tribute for 50 years of being a great leader of Wilshire Boulevard Temple. Wilshire Boulevard Temple, at Wilshire and Hobart Boulevards, was built in 1862. Mangnin became in charge in 1915 when there was fewer than 300 families. Thirty years ago, there were only 700 families, but the growth has picked up to around 2,500 families. Rabbi Magnin states he "doesn't think there is any formula for his success." He adds that if he had to say what has been his most inspiring
experience, "it would be living in Los Angeles for the past 50 years and [watching] it grow." Magnin notes "the temple and church do not stand today for the cultural oases they were half a century ago but they still stand for something for faith of man in something better than himself."
1963
December 9: An article in the Los Angeles Times claims that "people and prestige" are the reasons why California and the Nation's great business are found alongside the Miracle Mile. Famous department stores like West-May Co, the Broadway, Seibu, and Ohrbach's are considered to be among the best on the site. Men's stores like Mullen & Bluett, Phelps-Terkel, Silverwoods, Desmond's, and Brown-Wilshire Apparel are also named. The Miracle Mile is also declared important due to the three radio stations broadcasting from the location. The creation of high-rise apartments like Wilshire Square (to be completed in 1964) are said to insure the Mile's future.
1965
November 1: Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York travels across the continent for a $100-a-plate fund-raising dinner in Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel where he will find himself in the middle of California's boiling Democratic Factionalism which began when Representative George E. Brown Jr. and Edward R. Roybal, liberal Democratic congressmen from Los Angeles, asked Kennedy to be a honored guest at a "civil rights dinner." Kennedy's friends
then warned him that it wasn't really a "civil rights dinner" but a campaign fundraiser for the three congressmen.
1967
April 9: The famous New York Tishman Firm takes over Wilshire Boulevard with new initiatives to discourage the city from expanding and encourage it to grow. New buildings of higher altitudes like the Picadilly Apartments at 682 South Irolo (close to Seventh Street) and high-rise office buildings in 3440, 3450, 3460, and 3470 of Wilshire Boulevard were constructed.

1968

June 5: Senator Robert Kennedy is assassinated in the ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel after delivering his victory speech for winning the California Democratic primary in his bid for United States president.

1969
On October 1st through the 5th, the Ambassador Hotel opens the 1969 Los Angeles High Fidelity Music Show naming it the "Sounds of the Seventies" under the auspices of the Institute of High Fidelity. Fifty-one exhibitors will present the latest equipment in the field of home entertainment. Live entertainment will be staged on the helipad during the 5 day show at the Ambassador Hotel.
1970

October 6: Ronald Reagan in his campaign for presidency hosts a dinner at the Ambassador Hotel. In the event, celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Dean Martin, and Bob Hope were present supporting Reagan.

1971

June 6: On Saturday, Mayor Sam Yorty announces a federal allocation of $791,000 for the improvements of six Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department FacilitieSouth The parks consist of Ramona Garden, $126,00; Hazard Park, $100,000; Gilbert W. Lindsay Community Center and MacArthur Park, $250,00; Ardmore Recreation Center, $40,000 and Echo Park $25,000. With this federal money, Ramona Gardens will create two vest-pocket parks and Hazard Park will continue with its construction. MacArthur Park will also take advantage of the funds and speed up the construction of a new boat house and other necessities. The money given to Echo Park will help expand the lighting system.

1976

January 16: Persian Rugs will auctioned off at the Ambassador Hotel during a free exhibition.

1977

April 5: the Ardmore Recreation Center will be having an Easter Egg Hunt on Thursday at 1:30 for 6 – 13 year-olds.

1977
July 26: The Los Angeles Times asks "foreigners" where they eat when in LA and Hans Bauman of the German National Tourist Office recommends the Lowenbrau Tavern on 3211 Beverly for its good portions. It reminds him of "student inns" Heidelberg.
1977
October 28: The public is invited at the Round Table West luncheon meeting at the Ambassador Hotel to discuss "Mystery and Science Fiction As You Like it" with writer Adela Rogers St. Johns and author-director Michael Crichton.

1980

January 30: For Los Angeles Times writer Mary Ellen Strote, a corner of land at Wilshire Boulevard at Warner represents American empty lot which serves as a Christmas Tree lot in December across the street from the Jewish Temple she attends, when she sees a Muslim man stop to prayer there.

1980
July 10: On a Sunday evening, Eddy Manson, president of the American Society of Music Arrangers (ASMA) gives Benny Carter the Golden Score Award in the Ambassador Hotel in the Embassy Ballroom. The award honors Caster's 50 years of giving to the AMSA. Benny Carter happened to be a well known "composer, arranger, band leader, alto saxophonist, clarinetist, trumpeter, and writer or conductor for records, night club artists, and films 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro' and 'M squad'." Marl Young, secretary of the musicians, briefly explained how Carter ended segregation between the "white local" and "branch local 767" (also known as the "colored branch") in 1952. The next morning, Carter left for an 8 am plane to Stockholm where he opened a six day jazz festival. Carter intends to return on June 21st to play with Teddy Wilson at the Playboy Jazz Festival.

1980

July: Chief of Police Daryl Gates concludes that although a few officers may have used excessive force on protestors during the May 1 Parade, police action was justified. The Communist Revolutionary Party had requested a permit for its parade but was denied one. The group proceeded on the sidewalks and when a few crossed against a red light, a police “skirmish line” was put in force. The “skirmish line” included thirty officers who waited at Bixel Street in order to be deployed by the LAPD. Local television crews recorded police officers swinging batons in order to keep the crown in place. According to Gates, the Communist Revolutionary Party is known to encourage violence and thus justified what some perceived as “excessive force.”

1980
April 13: Minorities are slowly but surely changing the face of Los Angeles causing majorities to become minorities and minorities majorities. Political power is also changing which causes different ethnicities to have more power than they ever had. The population of Latinos is growing from Los Angeles to San Fernando Valley, reaching a Latino concentration of 50% or more and in the old Latino neighborhoods, as far as 90%. African American immigration has increased to 90% or higher in Compton, Watts, and South Central. Asian population has also increased by 7% as they have made homes near the Civic Center and in Adams and Wilshire districts. Armenians also add to the Los Angeles population adding to 100,000 scattered around Los Angeles areas. Greeks also scattered around Boyle Heights and Gardena. Norwegians, Russians, Jews, Iranians, Samoans, American Indians also add to the population of Los Angeles.

1981

February 28: Dean Williams, owner of the Dolores Drive-In Restaurant (one of a the few remaining drive-ins with carhop service in Southern California) on Wilshire Boulevard near La Cienega loses an eviction battle against the landowners, Don Levin and the Mardon Investment Company. Dolores Drive-In is popular amongst teenagers and celebrities in the 1950s and 1960s but after being unable to stay a writ of possession from Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Smith, the owners plan to build a three-story office building in its place. After 34 years of delicious service, Dean Williams the owner for the past 10 years receives a six-month eviction notice. The property owner plans to build a three-story building in its place. The site is unable to be preserved as an historic landmark because the home of the Suzy-Q French Fries and the Jumbo Jim Hamburgers is “not of sufficient archeological or cultural significance,” according to the Beverly Hills Architectural Commission although now it would be recognized for its Googie architecture, a truly Southern California style.

1981

George Moussazadeh opens Mr. Price, one of the largest discount operations in the nine-story Desmond’s tower. Built in 1928, it was the first major building along the Miracle Mile. Although Desmond’s closed in 1980, its name is still hanging on the tower wall. The whole building was empty before Mr. Price moved in.

1981
July 19: Linda Arrigo Shih is arrested at the Taiwanese Embassy on Wilshire Boulevard for "felony vandalism." Shih allegedly "overturned a carton filled with bags of red paint on the hallway carpet outside the Taiwanese Coordination Council for North American Affairs, began stomping on the bags, then was dragged kicking and screaming into the council's suite, where she was handcuffed and the door was locked." While Shih protested inside, 70 individuals held a protest outside the building at 3660 Wilshire Boulevard. This protest was not part of Shih's actions and the participants wore masks so that the Taiwanese Kuomintang of Nationalist Party could not identify them and hurt loved ones still in Taiwan. Shih was protesting the arrest of her husband in Taiwan for sedition. The others were protesting the death of Professor Chen Wen-cheng; protestors allege that Wen-cheng was tortured and killed when visiting Taiwan earlier in the month.

1983

Plans to rejuvenate the “most historically significant areas of Los Angeles’ ‘main street’” take are announced. Meanwhile, the “once grand 65-year-old” Ambassador Hotel, is up for sale.

1983

November 13: The revitalization of Wilshire Boulevard is evident in the $35 million expansion of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the building of new commercial centers.

1984
May 4: the Federation for Progress agrees to change the route of its Anti Reagan administration protest march during the Olympic Games. The group switches the route from Wilshire Boulevard to 6th Street and assuages concerns about traffic expressed by the Olympic Games Organizing Committee and the Los Angeles Police Department. Governor Deukmejian had threatened to send in the National Guard to Los Angeles should an impasse not be reached.
1984
June 14: The "Wilshire 500" is held along Wilshire Boulevard as a fundraising effort for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. In this competition, five man teams race custom beds down Wilshire Boulevard between Ardmore and Normandie. The event was sponsored by Waterbed Gallery of Buena Park. The winning team was "Linda's Lovers" and sponsored by singer Linda Rhonstadt. Each winner received a waterbed donated by the Waterbed Gallery. Other teams were sponsored by Lou Ferrigno, Billy Barty, athletes from the LA Raiders, the LAPD, KTTV, KRLA, PM Magazine and a host of other corporate sponsors.

1984

October 28: The Los Angeles Conservancy recommends the Miracle Mile be recognized for its architectural treasures and for its innovation in urban planning. The preservation organization nominates it to the National Register of Historic Places and sponsors a festival with a parade, a barbershop quartet and carnival in its honor. The Wilshire Boulevard neighborhood west of La Brea is noted for the fine examples of Art Deco and Moderne buildings including the May Company with its tiles and tower at the corner of Fairfax and Wilshire; the Dark Room at 5370 Wilshire Boulevard is an Art Deco gem whose storefront includes a 1930s camera, using the lens as a porthole; Tru Litho Service at 5401 Wilshire which is noted for its Streamline Moderne style; and the black and gold terra cotta Zigzag Moderne style of the El Rey Theatre at 5515 Wilshire. According to The Los Angeles Times, “The district was one of the first retail strips of its kind to accommodate the shopper arriving by automobile. The stores were given windows, facades and towers to catch a driver’s eye, and, among other things, provided parking in the rear.”

1985
Ardmore Recreation Center is not in good shape and the Board of recreation and Parks Commissioners are thinking of changing the name of the park to Seoul International Park to better reflect the neighborhood.
1985
William J. Brennan, a Supreme Court Justice who voted in favor of Roe V. Wade, was speaking to law school graduates about the importance of helping the underprivileged, as a plane chartered by Rev. Robert L. Hymers of the Fundamentalist Baptist Church in downtown Los Angeles called for the death of Brennan with the sign "Pray for death: baby-killer Brennan." Hymers quickly changed his message instructing 350 followers at the Ambassador to simply pray for the removal and replacement of the justice with someone who opposes abortion.

1985

May 17: the LAPD files assault charges against four protestors involved in a May 1, May Day protest that led to a confrontation. According to the Los Angeles Times, four men from the Revolutionary Communist Party were charged with battery against a police officer, but the bruises and scratches the police men sustained in the alleged assault did not warrant felony assault charges. The alleged assault took place on Wilshire Boulevard between Bixel Street and Lukas Avenue.

1985
The American Arab Anit-Discrimination Committee of Los Angeles dedicated their to time to help find the murders of Alex Odeh who was killed after a bomb went off while he was opening the ADC office in Santa Anita. Around 750 people filled the Cocoanut Grove at the Ambassador Hotel, the majority Arab-American.
1985
Comic dealers and collectors gather at the Ambassador Hotel for "Cons."
1985
August 6: 3,000 individuals hold hands from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica on Wilshire Boulevard to honor the 40th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Observations are held worldwide. The LAPD arrests individuals for painting on the sidewalks with watersoluable paint. They painted silhouettes of those who perished on the fateful day and included animals alongside humans with the word "Hiroshima." The five were painting different parts of sidewalks on Wilshire Boulevard but arrested at 4:30 am.
1985
October 5: Barry Atwood, chairman of Access Now, announces the group's plans to hold a protest from MacArthur Park to the Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, following Wilshire Boulevard. The protest is organized for the annual meeting of American Transit Association. This protest is not sanctioned by the Los Angeles Police Department who vow to arrest anyone involved with the public demonstration. Access Now represents disability rights and fights for access in public places.
1985

The Famous Brown Derby restaurant is located at 3377 Wilshire Boulevard, Opposite of the Ambassador Hotel. Since its addition, the Brown Derby has drawn in many stars and people from high society.

1986

Urban Innovation’s Lottery to determine, “what is the goal for Wilshire center.” To put Wilshire Center in a “community context” and not just a boulevard.

1986

June 22: The 100 birthday of MacArthur Park is celebrated with through different events including free music concerts, a 5K run, a children’s carnival and the relighting of different lamps and signs in the park. The festivities were sponsored by the Otis/Parsons School of Design and primarily through the organizing efforts of Al Nodal from the School. In addition to refurbishing lighting, Nodal spearheaded the addition of public art to the park including a mural at the bandstand. For the intensive electrical work, Nodal was aided by Local 11 who supplied three electricians, five laborers and an operating engineer who worked for three months. Local 11’s headquarters are adjacent to MacArthur Park.

1986
The Ambassador Hotel is back for sale once again, but this time the Hotel is in danger as many real estate promoters see the hotel's 23.5-acre parcel of land as a space for large office buildings and retail development. The Schine Family have owned the Ambassador Hotel since 1946 and now, Lester Crown, supervisor of the sale, has said that "there are no promises that the hotel will be spared the wrecker's ball." It is esimated that the property is on sale for $50 to $100 million. The Ambassador Hotel is known for the gatherings of the rich and famous and the Amabassador Hotel's Cocoanut Grove night club was the spot in the 1920-40's. The Ambassador Hotel is always remembered and connected to the assination of Robert F. Kennedy, who was shot by Sirhan Bishara Sirhan during a sppech to a crowd of 1,800 supporters after he had won the Democratic presidential primary in California. The Ambassador is for sale and in danger because its occupancy rates are running at less than 60%. It is estimated it needs at least $15 to $20 million worth of renovation.

1993

R.H. Macy & Co. closes Bullocks and strips the building of all its Art Deco elements.

1994

After being saved from demolition, Bullocks is purchased by the Southwestern University Law School and is used as a library and offices.

1995

August 31: Some “urbanists” declare the “lack of continuity” along Wilshire Boulevard as its most “crucial overall failure.” Architects Ron Altoon, who is involved in efforts to preserve and develop the Boulevard’s architectural heritage states “today Wilshire is more of a kind of urban clothesline than a real grand avenue—a line with good and bad, elegant and trashy elements hanging from it.” Fellow architect, Scott Johnson, “blames the mixture of social change and economic decline for the absence of any real visual cohesion along Wilshire.” Johnson declares “The income levels of the new immigrants that have settled along eastern and central Wilshire are low, and so the economic engine for regeneration just isn’t functioning there right now.” Mid-Wilshire has the highest commercial vacancy rate in comparison to any other city.

1999

James M. Wood Blvd, formerly 9th Street is renamed in 1999 (portion of 9th Street from Figueroa to Western Avenue). A labor leader, he contributed to the downtown Los Angeles vertical skyline with community dedication and social change for the working class as he fought for affordable downtown housing and good wages. During his career, he was able to forge a relationship between labor and business and community leaders.  He held various positions that helped to build Los Angeles which included his time on the board and Chair of the Community Redevelopment Agency with urban renewal projects and the Los Angeles State Building Authority team which actually got the State Building built in downtown. However, he was accused of helping real estate interest (private industry) with subsidies above the needs of the poor and homeless during his time at CRA.  He also created the SRO Housing Corporation for the housing needs of low-income wage earners in the midst of redevelopment efforts in Bunker Hill. He worked in various political programs (Associate Director for Political Education), and later became head of the LA County Federation of Labor.

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