Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ground Broken for New Coliseum!

On this date in 1921--December 30--ground was broken at Exposition Park to build our Coliseum at an estimated cost of $800,000. The Los Angeles Library confirms that the final cost was $955,000.  But both the library and Wiki claim that ground was broken on December 21, 1921.  I'm looking at the Proquest reproduction of the Los Angeles Times articles dated the 31st that begins "Ground was broken yesterday..."  so I'll go with that.

This intriguing photo was taken in 1925, at night. You can just make out the Coliseum's entrance at the end of the double row of cedar Christmas trees, put up by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. Hopefully, clicking on the picture will give a larger view.

A race track once occupied the Coliseum's land, but it had closed long before 1921. City builders had been hauling sand and gravel from the site for construction for so long that the Times reported the place "stands today as a region of hollows." Nevertheless, an additional 300,000 yards of earth had to be removed "by a five-yard scoop bucket in the formation of the great elyptical embankment." The plan was that the field of the Coliseum would sit 32 feet below ground level, and the stands would rise to 75 feet above the playing field.

LA hoped to snap up the 1928 Olympics--in fact, they were ready to go for 1924 just in case Paris bowed out (which I don't think anyone seriously expected). Amsterdam got the1928 Olympics, though. The 1932 Olympics were the first held in Los Angeles and at the Coliseum--sadly, we were the only city to bid for them because of the Depression. And LA is noted for building the first "Olympic Village" in Baldwin Park, but it was a community of MALE athletes only! Hmph!

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