Monday, September 24, 2007

Lankershim Hotel

In an earlier post about population density, I mentioned the Lankershim Hotel. That building was on the corner of Broadway and 7th.

Before the hotel was begun in 1902, there was a vineyard. Yup--that's according to On the Old West Coast, Further Reminiscences of a Ranger by Horace Bell--who never lied or exaggerated, lol.

Bell wrote that that the 7th and Broadway site was the home and vineyard of Judge Wilson Hugh Gray--a well-respected man who had personally hidden and saved many Chinese men during the massacre of 1849 (there was a massacre in 1871; not sure what Bell meant).

The Lankershim Hotel, all nine stories of it, was completed in 1905 as an imitation of the Hotel St. Francis in San Francisco--far superior to any other hotels in L.A. at the time.

It had 200 servants, 250 rooms, and 160 baths.

Seismic studies apparently finished the hotel before its 80th birthday. In the mid 1980s, the order was signed to bring down the top seven of its nine floors. No one had lived in them for years because they'd been deemed unsafe since the 1971 Sylmar quake.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for providing really informative posts on your blog. How can I subscribe to it?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this info and for your blog on the whole. I’ve just bookmarked it.

Unknown said...

Let me add my thanks to those of the others. I love these bits of history at our access and I appreciate your efforts!

Muhammad Amjad said...

You provide an informative blog.... I appreciate your efforts.
Hotel furniture

Bill's Brain said...

My father William Tappan worked at the Lankershim from the 50's until 1971 (guess)He was the building's chief engineer. He was took me into the boiler room when I was a kid. I remember it was like walking into a cavern or cave. It made a perfect back drop for a Frankenstein lab. All that was missing were the Tesla coils. My Dad started as a bus boy, then assistant barman, then Bar tender. From there he apprenticed with the building engineer, and eventually became chief engineer. After the hotel closed my Father returned to school and obtained his operating engineer credential and went on to work for Kilroy Industries where he managed the building air conditioners and general building maintenance in the Sepulveda/ LAX area. He retired in late eighties (another guess) he's 92 now and still resides in his same home of 54 years with his wife of 30+ years.

Vickey Kall said...

Wow--thak you, Bill, for your comments and the history. I hope your father is writing his memoirs, or at least jotting down stories for his family. What a wealth of information! And how sweet that he lives in his same home with his wife. I mean that in the nicest way; my parents lived in the same house for 50 years, and even before that my Mom rented that house during WWII. One of her roommates was Louis Zamperini's sister, Sylvia.

John Wishon said...

I was browsing through my father's (John Albert Wishon) genealogy work that he left me, and found that my grandfather Frank Rowntree Wishon owned this hotel from 1934-1950. Thank you for posting the picture.

Vickey Kall said...

You're welcome. A fascinating building.

Irene Edwards said...

The Lankkershiem Hotel was fascinating to an 8 yr. old girl in 1940. My aunt and cousin worked in the cigarette/cigar stand in the lobby, and it was a treat when I was able to spend the day With them at work. Thier names were Sally and Lupe Sandoval. I have a picture of me and my aunt at the corner of 7th and Broadway, circa 1940. Have been wracking my brain to remember name of . Company that owned the cigar stand. Wonder if John Wilson or Bill' relatives might remember.

Jeanette Ivy said...

In 1968,dwntwn los Angeles. I had just gotten off work. I was 18 yrs old then and quite naieve. Guy approaches me..says he has men's leather coats for sale at his hotel room. It was close to the Christmas holidays. I said I would love one for my husband. He says they're $100 bucks. I was skeptical.Told him I wasn't giving him my money til I see the coat. He agrees and says come with me. As we are walking to the Lankershim hotel..another guy approaches and says"man, my wife loved her new coat and that he wants another one for his sister. Well..I felt more at ease then.Because here was a satisfied customer coming back. We get to the Lankershim lobby..we catch a rickety ol elevator and go to the 5th floor.The guys says give me your money cause I hv to go in cause the guy who has the coats doesn't know you guys. Well..the guy who wants the coat for his sister hands over his $100 and so do I. The guys tells us to wait on the steps. We do. The guy goes up to another floor. As we sit there waiting.We hear him knock..we hear a door open.The door has a squeaky sound. After 10 mins..the guy waiting with me says he is gonna go knock and see whats taking so long. I say "yeah..go check". The guy goes up and I can hear a knock..then a squeaky door opens.Im sitting on the steps by myself for 5 mins. Suddenly reality hits like a slap in the face but I don't wanna believe it. I go upstairs..began knocking at several doors. No answers. I come to a final door at the end of the hallway located next to the fire escape. I knock..no answer. I try the door knob. The door opens with a creeky noise. Inside,there is a commercial mop and bucket and cleaning supplies along with a housekeeping cart. I close the door.I go to the fire escape..look out the large window. The fire escape leads down to the alley.This was a life lesson of a scam for me. This scam, I learned later is called the "Pigeon drop". This is my story of my experience in the Lankershim hotel.I never forgot it. Im older and wiser now. Thank you for allowing me to share***

Vickey Kall said...

Great story--but must have been a meager Christmas after getting taken that way! Thank you for sharing it, Jeannette!

Martin said...

This is what history is made of. I just loved the chronology of things here and happy to have bumped on this and the story of the "Pigeon drop" by Jeanette Ivy just made my day.

Martin
Medina Palm Resort Watamu

Dave Miller said...

I have a picture book published by M. Rieder in the early 1900s. It includes photos of the City Hall, the County Court House, Hotel Van Nuys and Hotel Lankershim. I purchased this book along with 4 others at an antique shop in Germany in 1973. The other books are from the same time and include Philadelphia, New York, Niagra Falls, and the U.S. Navy.