Common Ground Sites

RFK School
Ambassador Hotel/ Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools

Myron Hunt, one of Los Angeles’s most prominent architects, designed the Ambassador Hotel. A hotspot visited by many celebrities—like Charlie Chaplin and Frank Sinatra—as well as politicians, the hotel hosted many dances, swimming events, and film industry productions. Tragedy befell the hotel when on June 5, 1968, presidential candidate Senator Robert F. Kennedy was shot along with five other people. The senator passed away a day later, his death coinciding with the beginning of the slow decline of the hotel. Despite attempts to revitalize the hotel, the changing neighborhood, new fire code, earthquake safety requirements, and debt forced the hotel to close its doors in 1989, though many movies and television programs continued to be filmed on the site. During its final years, the Ambassador Hotel became involved in a legal battle between groups seeking to make use of the property, most notably LAUSD and the LA Conservancy. Despite the LA Conservancy’s attempts to save as much of the hotel as possible, the hotel was demolished in 2005 to make way for a new school.

While many recall the Ambassador as a political place of importance due to the Kennedy assassination, the hotel was also a center for political activity for the Republican Party. Richard Nixon wrote his famous "Checkers" speech while staying there, and Ronald Reagan held political meetings at the hotel. Supporters of Morris Kight, a gay rights leader, held a dinner at the Ambassador Hotel to celebrate this exceptional leader in the early 1980s.

Currently, this neighborhood represents a dynamic and diverse place with many communities living very close together, and this neighborhood has gone through different waves of gentrification. The development of this neighborhood takes off in the 1920s as Los Angeles expanded westward--at the time of the Ambassador's opening, the most western development of Los Angeles was then at Vermont. The section of Los Angeles and Hancock Park are considered places for the wealthy. Many prominent citizens built their homes here in the decade following World War I, included George Pepperdine, WC Fields, Fatty Arbuckle, Norton Simon, Joe Louis, Princess Pignatelli & Paul Williams.

In 1921, the "Miracle Mile” of Wilshire Boulevard between Sycamore and Fairfax Avenues, was purchased by developer A.W. Ross, who paid $54,000 for 18 acres. At the time, the land was a service road for oil wells in the neighborhood. Ross promoted this stretch of Wilshire Boulevard and some of the finest examples of architecture of the era are still preserved and have their original function--such as churches and temples. Ross promoted this stretch so much that one of his friends called it the "Miracle Mile" in a sarcastic manner-- but the growth that this stretch sustained during the Depression was also considered miraculous. Other buildings have been repurposed to serve new uses, and still others did not survive the devastation of the 1994 Northridge earthquake--much like the Ambassador Hotel.

While many remember the hotel for its heyday “Hollywood” years, the Ambassador is also remembered for being a welcoming place for the community. Several people we’ve interviewed have recounted the arrangement of shops that made the Ambassador feel like its very own city. The Ambassador had its own beauty salon, restaurants, flower shop and post office that made the hotel a place where members of the community frequently visited.

The frequent visits and chance encounters with a celebrity or two became a “Common Ground” for the community where multiple people from all walks of life could unite. The Ambassador Hotel was even printed on an African-American friendly tour guide to Los Angeles. When the Ambassador Hotel closed, beloved, Los Angeles Times columnist Jack Smith, remembered: “I couldn’t afford to pay my way in; but I have always thought of the Ambassador as mine, as central to my experience of Los Angeles; and I managed to enjoy it for years without signing its register of paying for anything that cost more than 25 cents.”

The new facility built in the hotel's place are the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools which still contain some remnants of the hotel such as the doors to the hotel’s nightclub, the Cocoanut Grove, as well as many tributes to the late Robert F. Kennedy and his “ripples of hope,” a reference to one of his speeches.

In the winter quarter of 2010, at California State University as Honors College students, we were given a tour of the Robert F. Kennedy Schools. One of the stops on our tour was the pantry where Senator Robert Kennedy was shot, which is now the school’s library. The first things we noticed upon entering the room were the two murals on opposite ends of the library, both of which were done by Judy Baca and unveiled in September of 2010. The mural above the entrance to the library, Seeing Through Others Eyes, has the late Senator breaking bread with Juan Romero, the busboy who held Kennedy’s head after he was shot. In the background is a lotus flower, with each petal representing the issues that Kennedy “deemed most important: environment, intolerance, poverty, education, health, and war.” The other mural, Tiny Ripples of Hope, depicts Kennedy surrounded by the outstretched arms of children. The mural is a reference to the “ripples of hope” he mentioned in one of his speeches.

Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools (pocket park on Wilshire)
Not much is known about the original bronze sculpture that once stood at the entrance to the Ambassador Hotel. The only evidence that the statue even existed can be found in numerous postcards and photos of the site. One such postcard contains a picture of the original statue with a quote from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “Mandalay” underneath the photo: “Where the flying fishes play.” All is not lost however, as the statue was recreated by artist Bobbie Carlyle, who was commissioned by Los Angeles Unified School District. Standing atop a wave crest perched in a pool of water, a woman is greeted by flying fish leaping in the water around her. Several streams of water spout toward the standing figure. One of the more noticeable changes made to the new statue is its clothing. Carlyle stated that as the statue would now be next to a school, having it clothed seemed more appropriate. Some believe that actress Betty Grable was a possible model for the statue. Carlyle herself has admitted she used Grable as reference for the new statue.
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shatto Shatto Place

Shatto Place is a street running perpendicular to Wilshire Boulevard that once contained what many considered some of the most beautiful homes in Los Angeles. Clara R. Shatto and her husband George R. Shatto sold a lot of land on Shatto Place and drew up contracts that stated that the land was to hold homes only to keep Shatto Place in its original character. Property that was worth less than $10,000 and hotels or businesses were all prohibited structures. George Shatto passed away in 1893 after a prosperous career as a self-described capitalist and police commissioner. In 1916, W.A. Strong fought to change the Shatto contract and won. However, this decision was overturned. In 1927 its status was again tested by the California Supreme Court, which ruled as the 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.

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Bullocks Wilshire Bullocks Wilshire

A luxurious department store, designed by architects John and Donald Parkinson, Bullocks Wilshire, first opened its doors in 1929. The building, named after owner John G. Bullock, is located around South Westmoreland Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard.  Noted for being a prime example of art deco along Wilshire Boulevard, the department store catered to the many types of merchandise one would find in the department stores of today. Interviewees remember going here for "tea and dainty sandwiches." The store included a Chanel Room and the Saddle Shop. Frequented by many shoppers, Bullocks Wilshire nevertheless began suffering a decline in the 1970s. Its slow decline was punctuated by attacks from vandals and looters. Today Bullocks Wilshire, having been acquired by the Southwestern Law School in 1994, is now a school. In 1994, Bullocks Wilshire was acquired by the Southwestern Law School and was repurposed as their new campus; the outside appearance of this building is still intact and recognized as Bullocks Wilshire today.

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Chapman Park Market Chapman Park Market / Chapman Plaza
Today, the Chapman Plaza is filled with Korean shops and restaurants that reflect the culture and people of Koreatown. When first opened in June 1929, the Chapman Park Market had a three-day celebration where thousands gathered to shop in the 28 “marts,” use the post office, or watch the Russian Dancers and orchestra. Besides the markets and post office, the Chapman Plaza included the Chapman Park Hotel that has now been demolished and replaced with the Equitable Plaza office building. Like Bullocks Wilshire, the Chapman Park Market was one of the first business places built with the car in mind. The Market had a 500-car parking lot and a drive through entrance to the main square. Additionally, at it’s opening, the fact that refrigerated rooms are available to every store in the Market was considered to be one of the highest conveniences available to those in the food business.
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  Lafayette Park
Originally part of the Rancho Las Cienegas, Lafayette Square is subdivided in 1912 from barley fields and pastures by the Crenshaw Security Company. 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.
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MacArthur MacArthur Park

In the 1860s, the area where MacArthur Park is today was considered to be an ugly ravine littered with alkali cones. The land was put up for auction by the city and no one purchased it, so in the 1880s Mayor William Workman created a lake and built a park around the lake and names it Westlake Park. In 1930, the park was divided into the two sections that we have today and in 1942 was renamed MacArthur Park after World War II General Douglass MacArthur, a Los Angeles native and someone William Randolph Hearst was promoting as a potential presidential candidate. At the renaming celebration, General MacArthur listened to a speech given by Mayor Brown via short wave radio broadcast. President Manuwl Quezon of the Philippines telegraphed a message to congratulate General MacArthur.

In 1967, Jimmy Webb wrote his song “MacArthur Park,” which talks about falling in love with Susan Ronstadt in this park and the eventual break up. Pop act, The Association rejected the song because they felt a 22 minute song was too long. Webb decided to take it to Richard Harris to include in his album “A Tramp Shining” as a 7 minute song and produce the whole album for him. They recorded in Los Angeles from December 21, 1967 through January 6th, 1968 and released the album later that year. To date, “MacArthur Park” has been covered by more than 50 times including a disco version by Donna Summer that was her first single to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1986, MacArthur Park held its 100th year celebration featuring a 5k run, a carnival, and plans to increase the amount of public art in the park.

The people we have interviewed claim that since the 1980s the park has been overrun with crime and is generally considered a seedy place where a lot of violence and drug use takes place.

Police Abuse
Most recently, on May 1, 2007, a protest calling for citizenship of undocumented immigrants turned violent when the LAPD began to use tear gas, rubber bullets, and other riot gear material to break up the protest. This was not the first time MacArthur Park has seen political protests. In 1984, an Anti-Reagan Parade was held on 6th Street from Shatto Place to MacArthur Park.
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St James St. James’ Church
One of the most notable places to visit is Wilshire Center's churches and places of worship throughout the area. Places of worship typically feature emotional, financial, spiritual and social support to individuals or families in need. St. James’ Church began in 1911,originally on Pico Boulevard and Ardmore Street, with about 12 parishioners and was named after James, the first disciple of Jesus to have been martyred. Once the population in the area increased, the church moved to Western and Monette in 1916 and by 1926, the church moved to its final and current location on Wilshire and St. Andrew’s Place.
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Temple Wilshire Boulevard Temple

In 1862, after receiving a state charter, Joseph Newmark helped establish the B’nai B’rith synagogue. Years after its formation, the B’nai B’rith synagogue, which had made homes in both Broadway and Temple and Ninth and Hope Streets, in 1873 and 1896 respectively, began construction on a third home. Situated on the corner of South Hobart and Wilshire, construction of the temple was completed in 1929. The temple also contains a mural depicting the history of Judaism created by Hugo Ballin. The building of the Temple was supported generously by Warner Brothers Studios.

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St Basils St. Basil’s Church

After seeing the need to move St. Basil Parish from 7th and Catalina Street to a more suitable site, Friar Edward Kirk chose Wilshire and Harvard as the parish’s new location. The original wood-frame St. Basil’s Church—named after St. Basil of Caesarea, a priest and monk famous for his acts of kindness toward the poor—was built in 1920. After suffering heavy damage due to a fire in 1943, the cause of which was never determined, the church was rebuilt in 1969. The new church, now a structure comprised of concrete much like most of the buildings that surround it today, stands as a building comprised of twelve towers. The church became a symbol of excessive spending for the Chicano Movement in 1969, due to the fact that almost 3 million dollars were spent to erect the church. Members of the protest believed the money should have been used to help the poor instead of building such an extravagant structure.

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Immanuel Presbyterian

First founded in 1888 and located in downtown Los Angeles, the Immanuel Presbyterian Church moved to Wilshire Boulevard and South Berendo Street in 1929. The cornerstone of the church, containing photographs of its founders, Dr. Smith and Dr. William J. Chichester, as well as a copy of Sunday’s Los Angeles Times, was placed amidst much ceremony on May 13, 1928. The construction of the church at the time was an estimated $1 million; Chauncey F. Skilling was the architect chosen for undertaking such a task. Modeled after French 15th century Gothic architecture with vaulted ceilings that reach 80 feet, the Main Cathedral Sanctuary can seat up to 1, 750 parishioners, said parishioners being a diverse Latino, Korean, Filipino, and Ethiopian community. Other components of the church include its Westminster Chapel and Chichester Chapel.

On February 4, 2003, the Immanuel Presbyterian Church was declared a Historic-Cultural Monument worthy of preservation by the Los Angeles Heritage Commission. The Immanuel Presbyterian Church, with its 205-foot stone steeple can be seen today, situated across the United Teachers of? Los Angeles building.

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Founders The Founder’s Church of Religious Science
Paul Revere Williams, an architect famous for his residential projects and the first African American member of the American Institute of Architects, designed the Founder’s Church of Religious Science located on the corner of South Berendo Street and West 6th Street. A secluded garden hidden by a 14-foot high wall covered with Greek cross perforations is situated in front of the church itself, a circular structure with a dome roof that is 110 feet in diameter. Dr. Ernest Holmes, the church’s founder and writer of several metaphysical books, requested that the design of the church be circular to represent the unity embodied by the teachings of Religious Science and so “the devil would not be able to hide in the corners.” Dr. Ernest Holmes placed the church’s cornerstone on October 18, 1958. Before the church was completed in 1960, services were held in the Wiltern Theater. The Founder’s Church seats up to 1,400 people, contains many modern elements such as light and sound systems, and a pulpit that can be converted into a stage.
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kittens Lost Kittens

On October 16, 1933, Dorothy Tolson discovered and rescued 3 kittens left in a paper bag hanging in a tree off Commonwealth Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard. They are rescued by police and given homes. The kittens are named Lucille, Dorothy and Christy after their rescuers.

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The Gaylord Apartments

The Gaylord Apartments opened in 1924 across the street from the Ambassador Hotel and are named after Henry Gaylord Wilshire, the founder of the Wilshire Boulevard. Henry Wilshire founded Wilshire Boulevard when he donated the land to the city under the condition that the street be named after him. Wilshire was also a socialist who frequently ran in political campaigns. The Gaylord Apartments are 13 stories high and have been an iconic landmark on Wilshire Boulevard and have housed people like John Barrymore and Richard Nixon.

the HMS Bounty
Next to the Gaylord Apartments is the HMS Bounty, a sea-themed restaurant that opened in 1962. Previous incarnations of the HMS Bounty were called The Gay Room and The Secret Harbor. Since 1962, the HMS Bounty has provided another hangout like the Ambassador Hotel and the Brown Derby where both celebrities and civilians could get together to eat. It is said that Winston Churchill once ate at the HMS Bounty. In 2006, long after the Ambassador Hotel had been closed, the HMS Bounty and Gaylord Apartments hosted an invite-only “wake” for the Ambassador Hotel which was attended by Margaret Burk, who signed copies of her book “Are the Stars Out Tonight?” which is a book of memories and history of the Ambassador Hotel. Today, the HMS Bounty still operates as a restaurant and the Gaylord Apartments are still available for rent.
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Brown Derby

Opened in 1925, the Brown Derby was a small café located right in front of the Ambassador Hotel. The restaurant was part of a chain of restaurants but the Brown Derby on Wilshire was the most popular and iconic one since the restaurant was built in the shape of a derby hat. Its origins are rooted in story around Robert H. Cobb, owner of the cafe. Cobb bet a friend that he could get people to eat his food out of a hat. He also invented the Cobb Salad at the Brown Derby on Wilshire. The place served typical diner style foods but it quickly became a place where Hollywood stars hung out after either visiting or performing at the Cocoanut Grove. Like the Ambassador Hotel and the Cocoanut Grove, the Brown Derby blurred the lines between the famous and the ordinary citizens and allowed anyone who could afford a burger and soda the chance to dine with celebrities and mingle with those of different socioeconomic classes. In 1980, the Brown Derby closed and a mini-mall known as the “Brown Derby Plaza” opened on the site. The dome structure that made up the Brown Derby was placed at the top of the Brown Derby Plaza where it can be seen today.

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The Wiltern Theater
The Wiltern Theater began originally in 1931 as the Warner Brothers Western Theater and had a movie theater at the bottom floor and offices for rent on the upper eleven floors. In 1934, the Warner Brothers left the theater and the new proprietors changed the theater’s name to The Wiltern, after the intersection of Wilshire and Western where the theater is located. Wilshire and Western at the time is a very busy intersection – as it remains today the Wiltern Theater still remains a functioning theater, although it is only used for live performances.
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El Pulgarcito
El Pulgarcito, or “The Little Flea”, was a restaurant across the street from MacArthur Park that catered to the Central American community of Los Angeles. Opened on August 23rd, 1981, El Pulgarcito was often a meeting spot for people visiting MacArthur Park as it was for the Hill Street Historians one afternoon. Our visit on June 26th, 2011, part of a participation at PEG-LA: Secret City Playtest in MacArthur Park, was one of the last as El Pulgarcito closed it's doors the next day. The food served at El Pulgarcito reflected the culture of the many Latin American visitors and residents to MacArthur Park and offered them a place to indulge in their favorite foods. Christian Lainez, one of the Studio’s staff members, recounts the story of how his parents and relatives went on dates at El Pulgarcito and how the restaurant served as a meeting spot for his family who often travelled from as close as the San Fernando Valley to as far as El Salvador. El Pulgarcito should be remembered as a place for love and good food in the heart of one of Los Angeles’ most iconic parks. Once one of the last remaining original establishments dedicated to serving the Central American communities, El Pulgarcito remains in the hearts and memories of Christian, his family and hundreds of thousands of people who have come into El Pulgarcito and made it successful for 30 years.
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Kimchi Taco Trucks
Food trucks are prevalent all over Los Angeles and nationally. The gourmet food truck movement of recent years has spawned many franchises dedicated to offering food services. With colorful and often enticing concepts of food, many communities now have a huge range of gourmet food trucks to choose from aside form the universally known taco trucks. The Kimchi Taco Truck is a Korean food truck that travels Los Angeles and usually parks outside of the Korean Christian Services Center after church services on Sunday. The Wilshire Center often sees a lot of food truck vendors and other food stands because there is very little available space within the neighborhood to open a “brick and mortar” store. However, some of these food trucks have been sources of controversy to existing restaurants and street vendors. Trucks have been known to park in front of restaurants and obstructing the views of patrons inside. Some trucks have used food typically served by street vendors but have then displaced these individuals who do not have money for a food truck.
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So Hyang Korean Restaurant
Korean Barbecue restaurants are one of the most popular types of restaurants in Koreatown and So Hyang Korean Restaurant is one of the most popular in the Wilshire Center. These establishments feature tables with grills built into the center. Customers are brought out marinated meats, fish, poultry, and vegetables that patrons themselves cook on the built-in grills. So Hyang Korean Restaurant is one of the many Korean Barbecue locations within the City Center on 6th that shares parking with the Equitable Plaza. They feature delicious marinated beef, shrimp, and vegetables along with a variety of equally appetizing side dishes. While So Hyang Korean Restaurant charges for each individual marinated dish, one can find a variety of Korean Barbecue locations around the Wilshire Center that offer all you can eat barbecue for around 10 dollars.
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Medusa is a lounge on Beverly Boulevard that caters to a “gothic” crowd with candle lit tables and dark, mysterious sculptures. The place provides a get together for some of the more boisterous members of the community who are into drinking and dancing. Events hosted there occasionally require “upscale dark club attire” which although dark and foreboding to some, is celebrated and appreciated by many more. The Medusa is the former Lowenbrau Keller Hofbrau Haus, which served typically German food like wursts, sauer kraut, and spaetzel from the 1970s through 2000. Prior to being the Lowenbrau Restaurant, the building was a Safeway Shopping Center.
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Mama’s Hot Tamales
2122 West 7th Street - Mama’s Hot Tamales is a Latin American Restaurant, Art Gallery, and Community Organizer operating in the heart of MacArthur Park. The restaurant was first introduced to us by Isa-Kae Meksin in an oral history interview for Common Ground in which Meksin celebrated Mama’s Hot Tamales for offering food during the “Streetful of Tamales Festival” in MacArthur Park in 2002 that featured a variety of tamales prepared by several local vendors. In addition, over 30 artists from the Absolut Chalk Street Painting Festival used chalk to decorate 7th Street that year. Mama’s Hot Tamales is a very unique restaurant that not only provides food and art to the community surrounding MacArthur Park, but also offers business lessons to aspiring immigrant restauranteurs who, after completing Mama’s Hot Tamales internship, typically go on to open their own restaurant. Sandi “Mama” Romero, the owner of Mama’s Hot Tamales, has even been gracious enough to loan her own money to help her graduates start up their own businesses. If tamales and food preparation aren’t on the list of skills that a local has - that’s ok too. Mama’s Hot Tamales also provides space in the restaurant for local artists to showcase and sell their work.
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James M. Wood Boulevard
James M. Wood Blvd, formerly 9th Street is renamed in 1999 (portion of 9th Street from Figueroa to Western Avenue). As 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 (CRA) 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 such as the Associate Director for Political Education, and later became head of the LA County Federation of Labor.
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Power of Water
Lafayette Park
A stern-looking figure of a woman stands atop a rectangular stone base. On the front side of the stone base is a bas relief of men, women, and children clamoring for water. Upon closer examination, the woman towering over these people is carved with curving, graceful lines. She is the water the people seek, a compelling force to be reckoned with. The Power of Water is a sculpture in Lafayette Park created by Henry Lion, Jason Herron, and Sherry Peticolas. Manufactured on September 1, 1934 and installed on January 27, 1935, the Power of Water was crafted as part of the Public Works of Art Project, a New Deal program hosted by the federal government in which artists were commissioned to create public works of art. Originally a working fountain, the Power of Water was ironically filled with dirt and no longer functions as such. On one side an inscription can still be seen: “PWAP. 1934. Lion-Herron-Peticolas.”
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Otis Group
On the corner of South Park View Street and Wilshire Boulevard across the American Cement Lofts building a set of bronze statues can be seen. A newspaper boy in the process of hawking his wares stands next to a figure of General Harrison Gray Otis himself. General Otis’s arm is extended, pointing toward the site where his old home was and the former location of the Otis Art Institute. The newspaper boy—modeled after Andrew Azzoni, a boy whose father knew the sculptor of the statues—holds up a newspaper with one arm and carries several with the other. Absent from the set is the statue of a soldier carrying an unfurled flag, an unfortunate victim of a collision with a car. The “Otis Group,” designed by Russian prince Paul Troubetzkoy and unveiled to the public on August 3, 1920, was created for the General Harrison Gray Otis Memorial Association formed after Otis passed away in 1917. A committee within the organization was tasked with deciding what would be appropriate for a tribute to the late Otis. After coming to the conclusion that a bronze statue worth $50,000 would “best express the purposes of the organization” the committee invited sculptors to send in their designs. Out of all the submissions, Troubetzkoy’s design was chosen. As evidenced by the accompanying inscription, the three statues represented Otis’s roles in life as a “soldier, journalist [and] friend of freedom.”
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MacArthur Monument
Roger Noble Burnham, a sculptor famous for his “Trojan Warrior” statue at the University of Southern California, created the central figure for the MacArthur Monument in MacArthur Park. Burnham was present at the ground breaking for the monument, along with architect Harold F. Kellog. Other people involved with the creation of the monument include engineer S.B. Barnes and contractor Ray Myers. Originally the monument would have contained a waterfall and pool, but due to estimated costs exceeding the amount of money raised for the project both imagined additions were scrapped. In the monument, General MacArthur stands resolutely in front of a wall. The wall in question contains two inscriptions. On the left side is the following inscription: “Soldier-Battles are not won by arms alone/ There must exist above all a/ Spiritual impulse - a will to victory/ In war there can be no substitute but victory.” On the right side of the statue is the other inscription: “Statesman - Could I have but a line a century/ Hence crediting a contribution/To the advance of peace. I would gladly yield every honor which has been/ accorded by war.” At the base of the memorial are a group of various shapes meant to represent the Philippine archipelago, the country where General MacArthur uttered one of his most famous lines: “I shall return.”
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Hungarian Freedom Fighters Memorial
After World War II, Hungary was kept under the influence of Soviet rule. After power in Hungary was wrested by the Hungary Communist Party, the country began to descend into chaos. The people of Hungary, fed up with the state of the nation brought upon by their government, began to protest. These protests were violently dealt with by the nation’s police. After a group of protesting university students were fired at by the state police, Hungary erupted in what became known as the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Years later, in 1969, the Hungarian Freedom Fighters Memorial was erected in MacArthur Park. Created by Arpad Domjan, a white obelisk with an eagle perched on top sits on a stone base. An engraving of Hungarian revolutionaries can be seen on the front of the obelisk. A stone nearby bears an inscription honoring Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty accompanied by an engraving of his face. An inscription on the monument itself honors the “heroes of the Glorious Hungarian Freedom Fight of 1956.”
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Wilshire Vermont Wilshire/Vermont Station
"Los Angeles Seen, Untitled, Hand Holding a Bowl of Rice"
Both the L.A. Metro Purple Line and Red Line pass through the Wilshire and Vermont Station. Like any Los Angeles Metro station one would pass through, the Wilshire and Vermont Station features some artwork as well. Located by the escalators leading downstairs, a piece done by Peter Shire in 1996 can be viewed today. Titled “Los Angeles Seen,” the work features various metal sculptures, such as stars, a bridge, and a mechanical acrobat on a unicycle. On the lower level of the station, letters and symbols can be viewed on two pillars covered in tiles. The untitled piece, created by Bob Zoell, features letters facing the tracks that spell out “go,” “-ing,” “by,” and “-by,” a nod to the commuters traveling along the subway. Aboveground, an apartment building, called the Wilshire Vermont Station Apartments, surrounds the entrance to the Wilshire/Vermont station. An 8200-square foot mural, “Hand Holding a Bowl of Rice” by April Greiman, covers two walls of the apartment. The mural was based on a still taken from footage of the area. At night the mural is lit up by a row of lights at its base.
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Park Plaza Park Plaza Hotel
Designed by Alexander Curlett and Claud Beelman, construction on the former Park Plaza Hotel building was done in 1923. Former home to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the building was sold after the Elks’ attendance began to decline significantly. Built in the Neo-Gothic style, angels can be seen on each of side of building, some grasping swords by the hilt while others hold torches. A line of sphinxes lie next to the angels. A row of mermaids, a clock with Roman numerals and an elk head greet visitors and tenants walking on a red carpet emblazoned with the hotel’s logo. The likeness of a soldier, nun, and knight wrap around the building as a repeating pattern. Above the main entrance of the building the following quote is inscribed: “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you ye even so to them.” On the side of the hotel facing the Los Angeles Public Social Services Building are a set of window displays.
Protests Along Wilshire

May 4, 1981 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.

August 6, 1985, 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.

October 5, 1985 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.


the Talmadge Apartments

Joseph Schenck, president of United Artists, purchases the apartment building at Berendo Avenue for wife actress Norma Talmadge in 1922. He names the building The Talmadge, and they live on the 10th floor. Joseph Schenk is credited with giving Marilyn Monroe her first major role.

Homeless Health Care Los Angeles

The mission of Homeless Health Care Los Angeles (HHCLA) is to improve the health of homeless people through direct services, education and advocacy. The HHCLA has been around since 1985. HHCLA’s projects have sought to benefit the community and have covered topics such as the following: the availability of substance abuse treatment programs in L.A. County, the enumeration of homeless people by the U.S. Census Bureau and the LAPD, and policy and practice recommendations for combating tuberculosis, hepatitis, and homelessness.HHCLA has AIDS education programs for homeless shelters and organized the first cross-training conference on AIDS and homelessness to bring attention to the epidemic’s effects on homeless people.
California Trinity University
California Trinity University(CTU)'s early form began as a school of acupuncture and oriental medicine in May 1994. In the Fall of the same year, CTU earned an approval as a degree-granting institution from the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education (BPPVE), an agency that regulates all private postsecondary institutions in the State of California, and began its first class. CTU was likewise approved to operate by the California Acupuncture Board, the body regulating the licensure and practice of Acupuncture and Traditional Oriental Medicine in the State of California.
Shatto 39
Shatto 39 Lanes
Construction for Shatto 39 Lanes began in 1961 and its plans included a combination bowling alley and retail store-office building with a subterranean parking garage. It is owned by the Shatto-Tjomsland Company and located at Vermont and Fourth Street. On November 6, 1966 Tom Rosa, a bowler with a 151 average, scored a perfect 300 game. After only bowling for three years, Jimmy Evans bowled a 278 in January of 1967. His accomplishment made the Los Angeles Times.
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