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A Guide to the Long-Lost Pro Sports Stadiums of Los Angeles

The NFL is returning to Los Angeles with a super-fancy new stadium in Inglewood. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Rams (and possibly the Chargers) will play in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where they played some of LA's first pro football games back in the 1940s. That venue is also set to become the Olympic Stadium if LA wins the 2024 games. With new and old stadiums back in the spotlight, we're looking back at some of the Los Angeles stadiums that have already come and gone long ago. In doing so, we travel back to a time when baseball and football shared a single venue, when the original Wrigley Field hosted games on the West Coast, and when a team called the Los Angeles Angels actually played in Los Angeles.


Gilmore Field (1939-1958): Gilmore Field, at Beverly and Fairfax in the Fairfax district, was home to minor league team the Hollywood Stars (their rivals: the Los Angeles Angels; no relation to today's major league team). "Small and intimate," remembers the Vin Scully of Gilmore Field, game announcer Jim Healy, in a 1990 LA Times article. (Healy also announced games at Wrigley Field.) "The stands were about 15 feet from the baselines. Nobody fouled out. There was so little room between the lines." Both venues were built by Earl Bell Gilmore, who is credited by several sources with inventing the self-serve gas station, and who, along with his father Arthur F. Gilmore, built Gilmore Oil Company. (Their nearby plot eventually became the Original Farmers Market.) The field was demolished in 1958.


Gilmore Stadium (1934-1952): Gilmore Stadium is the older of the two venues bearing the name of oilman Earl Gilmore. Opened in May 1934, the "football-oriented" Gilmore Stadium was where LA's first pro football team—the Los Angeles Bulldogs—played. It also hosted Hollywood Stars baseball games until, in 1939, baseball-centric Gilmore Field opened nearby. It was demolished in 1952.


Wrigley Field (1925-mid-1960s): Named for the chewing gum baron William Wrigley Jr., LA's Wrigley was the first stadium to have the name attached to it. (Sorry, Chicago.) Wrigley purchased the minor league Los Angeles Angels in 1921 (he also owned the Chicago Cubs), then bought this land near Avalon Boulevard and Forty-Second Place in Historic South-Central, where he put up a marvel for the Angels to play in: "fireproof, all steel-and-concrete, [and with] room for 30,000 fans", the stadium was built for the then-princely sum of $1.5 million. In the late 1950s, the Angels had to relocate, and by 1965, the City Council was moving on plans to demolish the stadium. Now, Gilbert Lindsay Recreation Center sits on the site.


Washington Park (1911-1925): Located at present-day Washington and Hill in Historic South-Central, this stadium "built specifically for baseball" opened in 1911 with a game pitting the Vernon Tigers against the Boston Red Sox. Washington Park went on to be shared by the Tigers and the Los Angeles Angels until the Angels moved to Wrigley Field. It also hosted high school and college sports (rugby, football, baseball). It was demolished in 1925 and there's a huge mixed-use development in the works on the approximate site today.


McLaglen Sports Center (1935-?): The first LA Times mentions of actor/sportsman Victor McLaglen's stadium at Riverside Drive and Hyperion, on the border between Los Feliz and Atwater Village, came in 1935, when the center hosted a gathering of what was expected to be about 20,000 Masons and Sciots. There were plenty of sports here, too, though. A big soccer fan and owner of a team called the Lighthorsemen, McLaglen brought a variety of activities to his stadium, including soccer, polo, rugby and football. Located right next to the LA River, it was considerably damaged by the severe flooding in 1938 and was repaired, but despite all the trouble, it "simply faded from use during World War II," according to one account.
· A History of L.A.'s Baseball Stadiums: Stars, Angels, the Battle for Chavez Ravine [KCET]
· 10 L.A. Sports Venues That Are No More [LAW]
· Sorry, Chicago—Los Angeles Was Home to the First Wrigley Field [Gizmodo]
· When the Angels and Stars Ruled Los Angeles [SABR]
· Take a Good Look Around Los Angeles's Future NFL Stadium [Curbed LA]
· 7 Very Big-Deal Plans in Los Angeles's New 2024 Olympics Bid [Curbed LA]