The Ambassador Hotel, sight of so much American history (The Cocoanut Grove, RFK’s assassination 40 years ago) is being torn down in full today. LA Observed has some observations and pictures, and a few years ago the New Yorker published a fantastic article about the building, its history, and its accomplished designer, Paul Williams.
Paul Williams was one of the city’s greatest architects and designers, but as an African American working in times of discrimination and segregation, he often would never have been allowed to dine in his own resturants, sleep in his own houses, or visit his own hotels. The Ambassador Hotel, which he contributed so much to, was one of the most outstanding of his many accomplishments, and it is particularly sad to see a symbol of African American achievement razed to rubble.
The property will be used to create a new school in the LAUSD system, and I hope that the students who attend it are taught about its history.
Other things in LA, besides houses, that Paul Williams worked on include the LAX Theme building and the Beverly Hilton.
Pictures of the hotel, its designer, and its notable history are under the cut.