Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Ambassador Pantry in Limbo

The LAUSD still isn't sure what to do with artifacts collected from the Ambassador Hotel's now-demolished pantry, where Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in 1968. The Kennedy family wants the pieces to be destroyed. The pantry itself was supposed to be preserved -- but was too damaged, supposedly, to be saved. And for now, remnants of the crime scene sit in containers.

The LA Times picks up on the story:

The two unmarked metal bins sitting in a storage lot in Los Angeles' garment district hold artifacts from one of the most shocking events in modern American history: equipment and fixtures from the pantry where Robert F. Kennedy was fatally wounded June 5, 1968.

The 29 items from the now-demolished Ambassador Hotel, including chandelier lights, wainscoting and the ice machine behind which assassin Sirhan Sirhan may have hid, face an uncertain fate.

Are they really the stuff of history? Do they enhance national memory? And what is to be done with them as school officials prepare to build a campus on the former hotel site?

As with anything connected to assassinations and the Kennedys, answers do not come easily.

Some preservationists contend the collection should be used in a re-creation of the pantry at the school. Some historians want the artifacts given to a museum or library for permanent safekeeping. The Kennedy family wants all of them destroyed and kept out of the hands of ghoulish collectors.

By the way, if you haven't checked out Robert Peate's heartbreaking collection of shots from the Ambassador's last days, do so. It's at his site, www, Here's one from Jan. 31, taken from next door, at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles offices:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it just me or is anybody else feeling empty? I would look forward to looking everyday to seeing a new entry or comment, even though I hated that the hotel was leaving us chunk by chunk. Now, what is there to say? Well all I can say now is that those schools that ripped a piece of AMERICAN history off the map(God Bless America), better produce grade A students so that the hotel wouldn't have died in vain! (but we all really know that it will not be the case! SSSSSOOOOOO sad!!

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By Matthew Robillard:

Ambassador's Requiem

I lived beside the Ambassador Hotel in 1993, empty and imposing, but a happy reminder of what the city of L.A. must have been in better days: a leader, a pioneer, a force that beckoned the world west in search of a dream, or maybe just a new start. A forgiving town full of giving people.

But by 1993, the Wilshire district was starting to die. The riots had happened the previous year, and everyone was still spooked. Gradually, the business people started moving out and off the Miracle Mile, to safer, lesser sectors. The army of Homeless prowled around at night like zombies, selling bottles and cans to men in white vans, the jarring clang of their shopping carts a fitting counterpoint to the ominous drone of police choppers hovering in the sky above like sentries.

It was during those scorching summer nights I would watch the Ambassador from my hotel room, a gloomy oasis of overgrown palm trees and dusty vistas. I could smell and taste the ghosts of its gilded age that still lingered, dancing amongst the bungalows and over the mesa roof tiles. The poor Ambassador, a forgotten and lonely soldier, guarding L.A.'s glorious past. Waiting. For better times.

10:45 PM  
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