California Governor Earl Warren flew down from Sacramento to man the power shovel and speak at the groundbreaking for the Statler Hotel (now called the Wilshire Grand) on July 5, 1950. Actress Celeste Holme stood at Warren’s side as they were surrounded by 500 civic and business leaders. According to the Los Angeles Times (7/5/1950), the Statler would be the largest hostelry to be constructed anywhere in 20 years.
The Wilshire Grand sits on the property once owned by Samuel Calvert Foy (the Victorian house has since been moved to Angelino Heights). His daughter, 88-year-old Mary Foy, also helped shovel dirt for the 1950 groundbreaking (her picture).
Closed since last December, the hotel will be demolished and replaced by a 45-story hotel tower and a 60-story office tower. Recently the blog Paradise Leased illustrated a wonderful homage to the hotel that was once “the largest hotel to be built in the United States since the Waldorf Astoria in 1931.”
[Photo comes from the Herald Examiner collection housed at the Los Angeles Public Library.]