Los Angeles Athletic Club

The Los Angeles Athletic Club, designed by architects John Parkinson and Edwin Bergstrom, was nicknamed “the Club” shortly after it opened in 1912. Its address is 431 West Seventh Street.

According to Photoplay Magazine, the Los Angeles Athletic Club quickly became the “capital of the screen rialto – the Lambs, Players and Friars rolled into one.” It was a place where “the great and near-great of filmdom” met to “court physical perfection, enjoy social intercourse, exercise their mental attributes, practice table athletics, and – in rare instances – talk about themselves.” It’s famous phone number was “Broadway 444.”

The Athletic Club’s third floor brandished a workout gym and swimming pool, which was affectionately nicknamed “the Tub.”

Los Angeles Athletic Club
The Los Angeles Athletic Club’s swimming pool. Undated. LAPL.

The upper floors contained apartments where Charles Chaplin and Mack Sennett once resided. The Club’s famous clientele also included Hobart Bosworth, Noah Young, Donald Crisp, Bobby Harron, Robert Z. Leonard, Charlie Ruggles, and Jack Pickford. Not only did the building offer privacy for the male rich and famous, it also sported a boxing ring, handball courts, a chess and checker room, a fencing room, and plenty of wet bars.

Los Angeles Athletic Club Bobby Harron Donald Crisp
Bobby Harron and Donald Crisp at the Los Angeles Athletic Club, circa 1917. Photo: Stagg.

Many of the slapstick comedians from Keystone and Al Christie Studios used the sports facility to stay fit. These comedians included Ford Sterling, Fred Mace, Eddie Lyons, Harry Ham, and Lee Moran. The building also attracted moguls like Colonel William Selig, William H. Clune, Oliver Morosco and Thomas Ince.

Los Angeles Athletic Club Oliver Morosco
Oliver Morosco at the Los Angeles Athletic Club in 1917. Photo: Stagg

But the Club wasn’t just a private meeting place for motion picture professionals. It hosted swimming meets, water polo matches, basketball games, amateur boxing matches, and other sporting events. Professional athletes and wealthy male Angelenos joined the Club to network and participate in sporting and drinking activities.




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