Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Sportsmen's Lodge - Studio City

Nearly 10 years ago I claimed a very small place in the local Los Angeles history books when I rented out a small banquet hall at the Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City, CA. During the planning of that event, I learned a lot about the rich culture and history of this local treasure. It's origin dates back to 1913 when it opened as the Hollywood Trout Farm. Back then, this attraction featured ponds and a bait and tackle shop. A gentleman named Dave Harlig bought the property near the end of World War II and reopened on December 31, 1946 as the Sportsmen's Lodge featuring a dining room, kitchen, and restaurant. The newly opened property rapidly became a popular hangout for the movie crowd.



Charlton Heston, Clark Gable, John Wayne, Bettie Davis and many other Hollywood Celebrities were known to frequent this quaint San Fernando Valley hot spot. In fact, Ronald and Nancy Reagan hosted their wedding reception here. This was a time when most of this area was surrounded by orange groves and sheep grazed the local hillsides that were later purchased by Universal Studios. The patrons were allowed to catch their own fish and have it prepared (fried) in one of the on-site kitchens. Further, Robert Kennedy stayed on the fifth floor of the hotel the night before his assassination. How's that for a bit of trivia?


Today, the lodge looks a little different and serves as a popular gathering spot for some avid salsa dancers as well as a dinning spot for many of the local retired folks. I'm told that people will travel several hours to dance with the stars! Or maybe that's "Dance where the Stars have danced."








Sadly,



"On New Year's Day, (tomorrow) the Sportsmen's Lodge and its collection of well-known eateries, including the Caribou Restaurant, Muddy Moose Bar & Lounge and a handful of banquet rooms, will be temporarily shut down for remodeling. A new owner plans to reopen the historic venue in Studio City as a modern restaurant and boutique shopping center, perhaps with a new name." (See Los Angeles Times' Story)




(Imagine the people who have sat around this fireplace and the stories they can tell)






A shot of the swimming pool and some of the rooms above




Yesterday, I stopped by the Sportsmen's Lodge and I watched the sun set on yet another section of Hollywood's history. As the name of this institution and the stories associated with it become legend, I know that I'll remember the past and treasure the culture that this property offered. The name will change, no doubt, and the property will be updated - I hope the history will be preserved.




9 comments:

goooooood girl said...

i like your blog......

Jane Turley said...

I felt the same way when the pier in my home town burnt down; it's sad to lose something with so much history - especially if it had personal memories too. But I'm sure that many parts of The Lodge will be retained Mr I; it would be plain daft to loose all those features that draw in the crowds.

A Happy New Year to you Mr I! May it bring you lots of good fortune. (And a new wardrobe.)

intrepidideas said...

Miss Jane - Your pier burned down? How did that happen? And when? That would be a good post to read. A Happy New Year to you too! More frilly shirts?

Jane Turley said...

Here it is Mr I; I expect you were off travelling for a while or sunning yourself on a beach somewhere!

http://janeturleydiaryofamadhousewife.blogspot.com/2008/07/help-its-school-holidays.html

Frilly shirts will do just nicely!

Jane Turley said...

Oh, doesn't look like that link came out; the post is in June and it's called "Help, it's the School Holidays"

Funny, that I should remark in that post that the only tie left to my home town was my mother. Didn't expect the ties to be cut so soon though...

intrepidideas said...

Thanks Jane. I'm headed there now.

Footsteps said...

-Haven't been in the Hollywood area in a few years. -Sounds like I missed an interesting local spot. I'd have loved to see it as the trout farm too!
This reminds me of Mayhew Lodge near the trail head of the West Fork Trail in Sedona, AZ. Once a get-away for presidents and celebrities (and birthplace of "Call of the Canyon"), the buildings and pool have now tumbled into a state of fascinating ruin.
At least the Sportsmen's Lodge will retain beverage service... ;-D

Anonymous said...

I actually fished here in 1968. It was exciting for a little kid. Check out a Perry Mason episode called Ice-Cold Hands. It shows people fishing and what it was like circa 1964.

intrepidideas said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for the great tip. I'm looking for the episode right now.