Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Pantry of Death

The Ambassador Hotel Ballroom on the night Robert Kennedy won the California Primary in 1968. A note on the back fo this photo speculates whether one figure in the "left center area" is Sirhan Sirhan.

This extraordinary picture is from the LAPL's online collection. It was published by the Herald Examiner in 1988, on the 20th anniversary of RFK's assassination.

The picture was taken by Bob Shultz.

This thumbnail photo of the pantry of the Ambassador, where Kennedy died, accompanies Patt Morrison's column from the Los Angeles Times of June 5, 2008. Title: "Where History Turned." According to Morrison, here's what's preserved of the Ambassador Hotel pantry where Bobby Kennedy was shot to death by Sirhan Sirhan, 40 years ago:
"sample pieces--2-foot-diameter cores of floor, walls and ceiling, along with doors, electrical panels and the biggest piece, the ice machine behind which Sirhan Sirhan stood, waiting to open fire. It's all on 30 pallets, shrink-wrapped and stored in a secure, undisclosed location, waiting for a special commission and the school board to decide what historical institution might deserve them."

A quick history of the hotel precedes the passage, offering some explanation of why the site was not preserved--as (Morrison points out) the Texas Book Depository or Ford Theatre was.

Of course, those sites languished for years too, as unappreciated and dismal reminders of violence. The difference, it seems to me, is that Dallas and 19th-century DC were not hot real estate markets in the way Wilshire Blvd is. The sites could sit, until people formed groups dedicated to preserving history.

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