Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Ambassador Pantry in Limbo

The LAUSD still isn't sure what to do with artifacts collected from the Ambassador Hotel's now-demolished pantry, where Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in 1968. The Kennedy family wants the pieces to be destroyed. The pantry itself was supposed to be preserved -- but was too damaged, supposedly, to be saved. And for now, remnants of the crime scene sit in containers.

The LA Times picks up on the story:

The two unmarked metal bins sitting in a storage lot in Los Angeles' garment district hold artifacts from one of the most shocking events in modern American history: equipment and fixtures from the pantry where Robert F. Kennedy was fatally wounded June 5, 1968.

The 29 items from the now-demolished Ambassador Hotel, including chandelier lights, wainscoting and the ice machine behind which assassin Sirhan Sirhan may have hid, face an uncertain fate.

Are they really the stuff of history? Do they enhance national memory? And what is to be done with them as school officials prepare to build a campus on the former hotel site?

As with anything connected to assassinations and the Kennedys, answers do not come easily.

Some preservationists contend the collection should be used in a re-creation of the pantry at the school. Some historians want the artifacts given to a museum or library for permanent safekeeping. The Kennedy family wants all of them destroyed and kept out of the hands of ghoulish collectors.

By the way, if you haven't checked out Robert Peate's heartbreaking collection of shots from the Ambassador's last days, do so. It's at his site, www, Here's one from Jan. 31, taken from next door, at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles offices:

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Classic Ambassador

Reader and frequent The Ambassador's Last Stand contributor Tess has been researching the late, grand hotel at the library, where she's found more than 100 photos of the Ambassador through the years.

She shares a few:

A "Music Week Parade" takes place on the Ambassador's front lawn, in 1941. Tess notes: You can see that the facade of the Cocoanut Grove is quite different than the one you and I were used to..

Indeed, those arches in the front of the Cocoanut Grove have only become visible recently as the former hotspot as been almost completely gutted.

Aerial view of the Ambassador, credited to 1924.