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Vol. 1 - No. 3 June, 2019 Nooseletter Home SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Say Goodbye to the Sportsmen's Lodge
Sportsmen's Lodge Postcard View (1958)
Sportsmen's Lodge Postcard View (1958)
Photograph by Los Angeles Public Library
As many of you may be aware, the iconic Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City, California suffered from a electrical fire last January. In an article on, "a crew of 57 Los Angeles Firefighters fought this stubborn fire for more than two hours as it traveled through the ventilation system and ravaged the event center". Thankfully, nobody was hurt, but this small kitchen fire not only damaged the kitchen, but it evidentially destroyed a good portion of the Events Center as well.

According to an article on Curbed Los Angeles, "the Sportsmen's complex had plans in 2015 to raze the structures in order to make way for a high-end retail center; those plans were approved, but never acted upon". This would line up to developer Richard Weintraub original plans when he purchased the land in 2007. Those plans did not come to fruition tho, as he sold the property in 2017 to New York's "Midwood Investment & Development".

The Sportsmen's LodgeThere are many rumors floating around that they are going to rebuild the Events Center, but that turns out not to be true; the current plan is to go back to the old plan. The Sportsmen's Lodge, not the Hotel, is going to be torn down, and according to a 2019 article on the Daily News website, "the Studio City landmark’s events center will transform into 94,000-square-feet of shops and restaurants (with 450 parking spaces)".

There are many memories attached to the Sportsmen's Lodge, and I believe that it should be declared as a National Landmark for its historical significance in the Hollywood Movie Industry. There was an application in 2001 to designate the Lodge's banquet center as a Historic-Cultural monument, but it was opposed by the current City Councilman, Jack Weiss, who said that "he does not know anyone who considers the Sportsmen's Lodge to be significant". Obviously, he was not paying attention to his constituents, or he needs to walk the streets and talk to the people of his own community.

In my humble opinion, it is a damn shame to lose this valuable piece of history forever. Lately, it seems that there is an active war on history. Hiding and/or destroying national monuments, landmarks, and other valuable historical resources in lieu of the shiny and new; whitewashing over the old, in the hopes of making everyone forget where we came from and the lessons we learned. They seem to feel that it is better to hide negative events in our history, then actually learn from them.

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Trout Fishing at 'Hollywood Trout Farms' (1960)The Sportsmen's Lodge opened their doors as the "Hollywood Trout Farms" in the 1880s, before the beginnings of the movie business, and even before it's location was known as "Studio City". It was known for its collection of man-made trout-fishing ponds that were on the property. It was a popular hangout, as families were given rods and bait to catch their fish and make dinner; they spent the day fishing, then eating what they caught (cooked courtesy of the lodge's restaurant). The Hollywood Reporter stated that "John Wayne taught his kids to cast a rod here". Trout Fishing at 'Hollywood Trout Farms' (1960) The pier was even said to be Clark Gable's favorite fishing spot; Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were also regulars there. This was well before any freeways were built across the San Fernando Valley. At that time, all traffic passed along two dirt lanes, known as Ventura Boulevard. That name lasted until about 1930, when it changed to "Trout Lakes".
click on an image to see a larger version
Governor Pat Brown with Democratic Group (1958) 'Cowboy Chuck' Ryan Performs (1958) New Chamber of Commerce Members (1959) Armed Forces Day (1961)
Governor Pat Brown with Democratic Group
'Cowboy Chuck' Ryan Performs
New Chamber of Commerce Members
Forces Day
In 1945, the property was renamed again, this time it was changed to "The Sportsmen's Lodge", and a formal restaurant and cocktail lounge was added. The official website states that "this time, it found itself at the center of the Hollywood Studio boom", and "the hang-out of choice for newly minted celebrities such as Clark Gable, Bette Davis, John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Spencer Tracy, and Katharine Hepburn", "while silver screen royalty such as Tallulah Bankhead, Lena Horne, and Bette Davis are said to have lounged around the pond picnic-style, eating dinner on white linens and drinking martinis.".

In addition to being a popular hotspot for the entertainment industry, it was also used by many other organizations for fund raisers, political events, weddings, business meetings, family gatherings, just to name a few. According to an article by Chris Nichols at, "When a politician visited the Valley, a stop at Sportsmen’s Lodge was always on the agenda", and "When a charity needed a hall to raise funds, they turned to the Sportsmen’s Lodge".

In the May, 2007 edition of the High Chaparral Newsletter, it states "When you visit The Sportsman's, you may see guests like Randy Travis, Billy Bob Thorton, and Tricia Yearwood". Obviously, even in 2007, it was STILL a popular celebrity hangout.
click on an image to see a larger version
American Hellenic Educational Progressive (1964) Valley College Journalism Convention (1964) San Fernando Valley Debs Assisteers (1964) Charity Fashion Show (1965)
American Hellenic Educational Progressive
Valley College Journalism
San Fernando
Valley Debs
The Sportsmen's Lodge is an extremely important and iconic place for thousands of people, including all the members of the Reel Cowboys, who have been hosting the Silver Spur Awards show in their event center for the past twenty-one years. You can see plethora of photos of these events on the Silver Spur Awards website, including the dozens of celebrities that have received awards. Now, just like many other organizations, the Reel Cowboys have to find a new location for the award show. None will have the historical significance that the Sportsmen's Lodge did, and that in itself, as a lover of history, brings a tear to this cowboy's eye.
Sportsmen's Lodge - Notice of Demolition
The Sportsmen's Lodge Event Center in Studio City
May 20th, 2019
Photo by Hams Gutnecht, Los Angeles Daily News
Article by Charles Scott
Call 818-395-5020 for more information
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