Note: This is an encore post from 2006.
In the gritty, industrial heart of the 8th Ward at Holly Street and St. John, officials are planning a large recreation facility “as an oasis in the wilderness,” The Times says. The building, designed by the firm of Hunt, Eager and Burns, will offer an alternative to “those who have no pleasure grounds but the streets and the saloons,” The Times says, noting: “Happy people are nearly always good people.”
The center was to include a gymnasium, baths, bowling alleys, clubrooms, a stage, a regulation running track and organized athletics “to counter the influences of pool rooms [and] saloons,” The Times says.
The city’s habit of renaming streets makes it difficult to locate the center precisely. As best as I can tell, it was at 1546 St. John, a street that has disappeared but would be the northern continuation of Magdalena past Leroy. The facility survived at least into the late 1920s, according to news accounts.
Bonus fact: Hunt, Eager and Burns also designed the Los Angeles Country Club in 1910.
Holly Street, St. John and the Rec Center all show on this 1910 map.
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