Nathan Marsak


  1. Grover
    June 2, 2008 @ 7:52 am

    I may be wrong but isn’t the Ascot Park site now the location of the L.A. Coliseum?


    • nathan
      June 3, 2008 @ 2:29 pm


      Or, instead of living near the Ascot, you may take Pacific Electric lines Maple, Pedro or Vernon. Anyway — Ascot Park was bordered by Avalon, Slauson, Florence and Central (Avalon then being called "South Park Avenue"). Around 1908 they began having motorcycle and auto racing, and it became a full-fledged speedway after 1910. In 1919 it was sold out to Goodyear, who by the end of 1920 had built its mammoth Goodyear plant.

      The next ascot, the New Ascot Speedway, was built in 1923-24. It was on Alhambra Avenue in Lincoln Park (though it’s really El Sereno and there’s no more Alhambra Avenue — its site basically from Multnomah up to the corner of Mission and Soto). In 1928 Glendale American Legion 127 took over the speedway, it thereafter was known as the Legion Ascot. The Legion eventually bowed out of sponsoring the Ascot because it became internationally famous–not because it attracted world-class drivers, but because it killed them. And their spectators. Twenty-one dead in ten years, and about a dozen in the grandstands.




      By ’36, after the crash of noted racer Al Gordon and his mechanic Spider Matlock, and the desertion of the fans from the sprint racers of Ascot for the midget racers at Gilmore Stadium (3rd & Fairfax), Ascot shut down and subsequently burned down April 26, 1936 (arson’d by a teenage janitor Linden Emerson who, he testified seven years later, didn’t want to see any more of his friends die there). A collection of homes and Multnomah Elementary is now on the site.

      There was a third Ascot Speedway, aka the Southern Ascot Raceway, that operated in South Gate from 1937 to 1942, and a fourth in Gardena at 182nd and Vermont that ran from 1957-1990.

      I don’t know if that really answers your question, if its original import was what was originally on the site of the LA Coliseum? I’m going to get back to you on that.


  2. nathan
    December 20, 2008 @ 3:49 pm

    A shot of the Munn, on our left, as we peer down toward Fifth and Olive, ca. 1925.


    Where once the Munn looked out over small houses, the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Building (1924, far right) changed that.

    Of course the Munn didn’t have to worry about that for too many years:


    …the Munn having been demolished to service the front-end of the 1931 Pacific Electric Railway Co. Hill St. Station electric train shed (part of the 1925 Subway Terminal Building).


  3. nathan
    January 23, 2009 @ 11:27 am

    A view of the site of the Munn–once nestled up against the back of the Philharmonic Auditorium–from the parking lot where the Olive Street School once stood (next door to the Trenton).

    Ok, so mostly this shot’s here because I love the neon sign so much.


    Credit where credit is due: all hail the Metro Library Archive!



    • nathan
      February 15, 2009 @ 7:48 pm

      Here’s that neon sign again…


      …vaguely visible front and center.

      Wer’e looking at 419 S. Olive:


      former site of the Olive Street Public School, once between the Hotel Trenton (a slice of which is seen on the left) and the Fremont (lost to the 4th Street Cut). The backside of 414-416 South Grand looms in the distance.


      A shot from the Metro Library Archives, of course.

      As long as we’re on the subject, a shot from the other side:


      Which we talk a little bit more about here.


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