The Pan-Pacific Auditorium, a landmark structure in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles, California, once stood at 7600 West Beverly Boulevard near the site of Gilmore Field, an early Los Angeles baseball venue predating Dodger Stadium.
For over 35 years it was the premier location for indoor public events in Los Angeles. The facility was closed in 1972, beginning 17 years of steady neglect and decay. In 1978 the Pan-Pacific Auditorium was included in the National Register of Historic Places, but 11 years later the sprawling wooden structure was destroyed in a fire.
Built and designed by Los Angeles architects Wurdeman & Becket, the Pan-Pacific Auditorium was opened on May 18, 1935. Noted as one of the finest examples of Streamline Moderne architecture in the United States, the green and white facade faced west, was 228 feet (69 m) long and had four stylized towers and flagpoles.
Throughout the following 30 years the Pan-Pacific would host the Ice Capades and the Harlem Globetrotters, serve as home to the Los Angeles Monarchs of the Pacific Coast Hockey League along with UCLA ice hockey, UCLA men's basketball, USC men's basketball, professional tennis, car shows, political rallies and circuses. During the 1940s it was used for audience-attended national radio broadcasts and in the 1950s for televised professional wrestling shows. At its height, most major indoor events in Los Angeles were held at the Pan-Pacific. Leopold Stokowski conducted there in 1936, 1950s actress Jeanne Crain was crowned "Miss Pan Pacific" there in the early 1940s, General Dwight D. Eisenhower spoke to a beyond-capacity crowd of 10,000 in 1952 a month before being elected President of the United States, Elvis Presley performed there in 1957 shortly before he was drafted into the Army and Vice President Richard Nixon addressed a national audience from the Pan-Pacific in November 1960. The building carried on as Los Angeles' primary indoor venue until the 1972 opening of the much larger Los Angeles Convention Center, after which the Pan-Pacific Auditorium was closed.
Last Fire and Decay
The building was neglected for many years and damaged by small fires started by transients. In 1975, the Pan-Pacific made a brief appearance as the entrance to the NBC Studios in Hollywood for the movie Funny Lady. Interest in the building was rekindled somewhat with its 1978 inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. The 1980 release of the movie musical Xanadu brought renewed hopes the building might be saved. The auditorium continued to deteriorate throughout the 1980s, mostly owing to neglect. A large loading door on the southeast corner was often forced open, allowing free access to anyone. On the evening of May 24, 1989 (six days after the 54th anniversary of its opening), the Pan-Pacific Auditorium was destroyed by a fire, the smoke from which was visible throughout the Los Angeles basin. The site is now Pan-Pacific Park and has a recreation center, with a scaled-down replica of one of the famous towers, which opened in 2002.