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Hollywood Athletic Club Photos

Hollywood Athletic Club Organized

The first vision of the Hollywood Athletic Club came to its founders in 1921, when there was a need for a club in which businessman could meet and lunch as well as develop their minds and bodies through physical exercise. The idea was born when Frank K Galloway and George Moore were lunching at Sam Kress's drugstore. Frank suggested that George start such a club. George called a meeting in the basement of the old library building which was attended by more than 75 Hollywood citizens. As a result, the Hollywood athletic club was formed.

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At this meeting, several men were chosen to act as directors and organizers of the Hollywood Athlecic Club.  These man included Frank Galloway, George Eastman, Charles Toberman, and James Irsfeld. 

The outcome of this conclave was the proposal that memberships be sold and the funds be used to purchase a site and build a clubhouse. To accomplish this end, George Moore and Clarence Huron Incorporated the Hollywood finance company and undertook to dispose of the memberships, first at a nominal cost, but as the IDF found favor, at a greatly increased price.

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New Clubhouse

Plans for the building were tentatively drawn, but almost from the very outset, those more deeply interested in the project realized that it was too small for a permanent institution. The charter members agreed to undertake the financing of a much larger project. Through the efforts of Pres. Galloway and his fellow officers, a deal was transacted for the purchase of a site on the northeast corner of Sunset Boulevard and Hudson Avenue. Plans for a larger clubhouse were then drawn.

The construction of the building and the furnishing and equipping of the facility required the combined efforts of the various club committees. When the nine story building was completed in late 1923, Hollywood boasted of having the most modern and envied athletic club in the country.

Some of the appointments included such features as a billiard room with six billiard tables, a 25 yard indoor swimming pool, a large gymnasium, spacious lounging rooms, library, men's and women's locker rooms, barbershop, cigar store, haberdashery, and rooms and apartments for bachelor members.

The club was so popular that by 1926, it had close to 1000 members. In addition to the many activities for its own members, the Hollywood athletic club sponsored teams in basketball, wrestling, track, tennis, swimming, boxing, squash, handball, water polo and fencing.

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Women Members

Even though the club was built primarily for use by men, the wives and daughters of the members were not lost sight of for one moment. Gymnasium and swimming classes were held regularly, thus providing the women with a complete physical education program. clubs and civic organizations responsible for the development of Hollywood.

Over the years the club made a drastic mistake by not attempting to cultivate young new members. Consequently, I 1955, with membership waning, and operating cost rapidly increasing, the once famous club became history. The large building was sold to the University of Judaism for use as their Los Angeles headquarters.

Before the club closed, the Academy of television arts and sciences held the first Emmy awards at the Hollywood athletic club. It was hosted by Walter O'Keefe, who substituted for Rudy Vallee at the last minute.

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New Owner

In 1978, Gary Berwin purchase the building and converted it into the Berwin entertainment center. He spent a great deal of money refurbishing the building in order to make it a complete entertainment facility. The squash courts were converted into it a state of the art, full-service recording facility known as Baby O Studios where George Srummer, the Beach boys and George Clinton all frequently recorded.

In 1986 the Nourmand family acquired the ownership of the property and embarked on a crusade to revitalize the Hollywood landmark.

The largest collection of Hollywood Athletic Club photos is on the hollywoodphotographs.com website.

 

 

 

 

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