ARCHITECTURE LOS ANGELES

Whats Inside The Historic Park Plaza Hotel?

November 4, 2014
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Although it’s called the Park Plaza Hotel, you won’t find any pillow top mattresses, room service, or concierge here. Even if you haven’t tried (and failed at) booking a stay, you’ve probably seen the Park Plaza Hotel dozens of times without even realizing it. Due to its unique and historic interior and exterior, it has been used in countless movies (Gangster Squad, anyone?), TV shows and commercials. When it isn’t being used for a set location, it is usually booked for weddings, private parties, and other special events.

So why even call it a hotel?

Park Plaza Aerial 1920s

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Park Plaza interior 2

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Park Plaza Memorial hall

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Park Plaza interior 3

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Park Plaza interior 1920s

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Constructed from 1923-1924, Park Plaza was originally built for the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks to serve as Elks Lodge No. 99. Renowned Art Deco architect Claud Beelman, then co-owner of the prestigious firm Curlett and Beelman, designed the Elks Lodge as a memorial to the soldiers who had fallen in World War I. The massive Neo-Gothic style structure is adorned with sculpted busts dressed in varying military uniform and enormous cast stone angels around the corners of the exterior. A brass sculpture of elk antlers surrounds the clock above the main entrance to the building. The interior is covered with intricately painted ceilings by famed muralist Anthony Heinsbergen, who later created murals for dozens of LA landmarks as well as private homes.

Elks Lodge No. 99 hosted many wealthy and elite members with 169 hotel rooms overlooking the then-pristine MacArthur Park. Aside from it’s sprawling ballrooms, the building also had a gymnasium, a bowling alley and a pool for the guests’ enjoyment. Eventually, the Elks memberships diminished and the building was sold in the 1960s. The building then served stints as a YMCA, a luxury retirement hotel and a punk rock venue. Over time, the neighborhood has suffered through urban decay but the Park Plaza Hotel name remains. In 1983 it was designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument. It is unclear when the upper hotel room floors were removed, but the tower is now vacant and the gym, bowling alley and pool remain hidden away in unsavory condition. Still, the main lobby and the ballrooms make Park Plaza Hotel easily one of the best remaining buildings in Los Angeles.

Park Plaza Hotel
607 S. Park View St.
Los Angeles, CA 90057

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4 Comments

  • Reply paul November 6, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Absolutely beautiful.

    • Reply South On Spring November 6, 2014 at 6:35 pm

      Thank you! We couldn’t agree more – there’s nothing else quite like it in L.A.

  • Reply steve shriver November 6, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Such a cool spot! Great shots of it too!

    Heinsbergen Company used this ceiling design, which is based on the Villa Madama in Rome, in several spots, including his own house in Pacific Palisades. I restored that one a few years ago and have some pics of it on flickr.com (link here- https://www.flickr.com/photos/art-works/4993696296/in/set-72157624962897058)

    Keep up the good work!

    Steve

    • Reply South On Spring November 6, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      Thanks for sharing your picture, Steve! Love your flickr feed, seems like you have an incredible job. We were just at the Millennium Biltmore and spent quite a bit of time looking at the Heinsbergen ceiling murals. We’ll be touring the Warner San Pedro this Sunday, which was decorated by the company as well.

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