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Old Posted Aug 7, 2014, 4:27 PM
Sonny☼LA Sonny☼LA is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2013
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Police Academy Rock Garden & Olympic Buildings

Originally Posted by sadykadie2 View Post
Thanks Sady! All good fun.

Here's some more.

The Police Academy Rock Garden in Elysian Park is not particularly noirish nor is it horribly obscure as it is a known wedding location (no extra charge for background gunfire) - but it's a beautiful place to visit and we had an amazing impromptu hour-long tour and history lesson from the officer on duty at the gate.

Aside from the view of downtown, there are trails all around and through the rock garden, itself with a thoroughly Hollywood-set vibe to it. Appropriate, as it's been said it was the location for many films and TV series, including Tarzan. I assumed it would be the later Johnny Weissmuller Tarzans, as the rock garden was built in 1937, but I couldn't find any screenshots or specific location listings.

Here's a Memorial Day celebration from 1958:


And the garden today, larger and more multi-tiered than it looks:

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The view:

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The Police Academy itself has not been covered too many times on the thread, I don't think, though the eminent Mr. Bariscale did a great writeup on his Big Orange Landmarks blog here.

The non-Hollywood history is what really interests me, though - starting with the front gates which are built from granite paving stones pulled from the streets of Los Angeles somewhere. There's a story on Roadside America that says stonework was done by men arrested one night for drunkenness - make of that what you will. The LAPRAAC website states the rock garden was built by officers and trustees so the Roadside story might refer to the construction of the gates or earlier structures. I'd like to think it's true. On the right is our human encyclopedia and gracious host for the afternoon...I hadn't read the forced labor story until after we visited so I couldn't ask him.

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It seems the Revolver and Athletic Club was founded in the 1920's, with the complex expanding after the 1932 Olympics. The shooting range was used for the Games and after their conclusion the department received several buildings from the Olympic Village. The LAPD officially took residence in 1936, with the construction of the rock garden shortly thereafter.

Some past posts regarding the Olympic Village - Flyingwedge did a great writeup of the 1932 Olympic Games and the construction of the village housing...

...and Tovangar mentioned another recipient of Olympic Village housing, University High School:

According to this interesting article from the '84 Games era (from the Toledo Blade but I believe it's an LA Times story), Olympic housing went to the Police Academy, a shop on Olvera Street, out to the PCH in Malibu, across state lines and out of the country. Also that police cadets eat in one of the original Olympic dining halls.

Toledo Blade, July 16, 1984

So here's the main hall of the village in '32...

-Getty Images

...certainly similar to today's Gates Lounge & Dining Center:

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An undated postcard of the swimming pool:


At sunset today, with a trainee in the middle lane.

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Chief Parker with his command staff in the Gymnasium, 1948


The same gym today:

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The sign under which all graduating classes pass:

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And, for the hell of it - a brief search for the Olympic cottage on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. I forget how or why I narrowed the location down to this collection of small cottages at 19355 E Pacific Coast Hwy - nonetheless, here they are. Possibly the old Malibu Lodge connection mentioned in the article. Inconclusive. But another nice place to visit. Too nice. Not noirish enough.

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