Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Wilshire Center

RFK Community Schools, 2011
Vintage Postcard of the Ambassador Hotel, 1921

Last month, Larry and I were at dinner on Wilshire Boulevard, across the street from the new Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools. We had long been fans of the old Ambassador Hotel, previously on this site. There was a huge preservation effort to save the old hotel, but it just didn't happen.
We'd driven by the new school before, but this was a chance to walk over and really check out the exterior of the building.

The Last Days of the Ambassador Hotel

The footprint of the building is the same as the old Ambassador Hotel. The curve of the structure and the added section that was the Cocoanut Grove look like a cleaned-up version of the original hotel. The only remaining pieces from the past are at the front of the property...the art-deco pylon and fence with the parking sign.

In front of these original pieces there's a Robert F. Kennedy Inspiration Park with varying levels, concrete benches and raised planter beds and a fountain. There are also printed quotes about RFK on the walls.

I hear that the auditorium inside the school resembles the original Cocoanut Grove. I kind of wish I was still in high school and could attend this up-to-date vision of modernity.

concrete park in front of school

Just in case you're vague on your L.A. history, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in 1968. You can read up about that here. Supposedly, the entire kitchen of the Ambassador, where RFK was shot has been taken apart and is in a storage facility somewhere in Los Angeles. Apparently, the Kennedy family did NOT want the school named after RFK. They didn't want to pay tribute to the place of RFK's death. Well, OK then. Why didn't they just name the place Ambassador High School to memorialize a once beautiful and grand hotel and Los Angeles landmark?

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