The Elk's Lodge No. 99 / Park Plaza Hotel is located at 607 Park View Street just off Wilshire Boulevard near downtown Los Angeles, California. It was created by renowned Art Deco architect Claud Beelman, during the time he was a Senior Partner at the prestigious firm he co-owned in the 1920s, Curlett + Beelman.
The building originally was designed for the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (B.P.O.E). Done in the Gothic Revival architecture style (Neo-Gothic), the building still sports a brass sculpture of a set of elk antlers embedded in the clock above the grand entry to the building. Eventually, the Elks sold the building due to shrinking attendance in their ranks, and the building ended up being transformed into a luxury hotel, set perfectly then on the shores of what was once a very glamorous MacArthur Park.
Though the neighborhood has gone through a period of urban decay and now urban renewal, the building, replete with angels at every corner, has lost none of its ethereal beauty and elan, making it truly one of the classic examples of Beelman's architecture left standing in the modern world. The building is now vacant, mainly used as a rental for movie shoots and special events, however, the City of Los Angeles thought the architecture significantly important enough to warrant a City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department Historic-Cultural Monument No. 267, as far back as the early 1980s. This is significant in that many other Wilshire Boulevard area landmarks fell prey to the wrecking ball during that time period, such as the notable Brown Derby. Luckily, despite the demolition of important landmarks all around it, the grand entrance and ballroom of the Elk's No. 99 / Park Plaza building still bears its old "jazz age" grandeur, much to the relief of Los Angeles architectural aficionados. The elaborate interior murals and decorative paintings were designed and executed by Anthony Heinsbergen and Co, noted painter of many Los Angeles cultural landmarks. The central design of the lobby ceiling is based on the Villa Madama, a Renaissance era project by Raphael and Giulio Romano.
Claud Beelman was a prominent architect in his day, having worked his way up from a lowly draftsman in the midwest at the turn of the 20th century, to one of the popular architects in all of Los Angeles, if judged by the importance given the innumerable structures still standing that still bear his name. Sadly, Beelman was nearly forgotten in the modern age until the Wilshire Center and Downtown areas of Los Angeles went through a recent renaissance, and luckily, the beauty of Beelman's austere body of work has been discovered by a new fan base, internationally.
In popular culture
The music video for Steve Perry's 1984 hit song "Oh Sherrie" was filmed here.
The 2013 film Gangster Squad starring Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin and Nick Nolte had the final shootout scene filmed at the Park Plaza Hotel.
- Official website
- Silver Lake News: Treasures of Los Angeles Architecture (For interior photos)]