Trinity Auditorium

Last updated
Trinity Auditorium
Trinity Building LA.jpg
Alternative namesEmbassy Hotel
General information
Architectural styleBeaux-Arts
Coordinates 34°02′42″N118°15′33″W / 34.04491°N 118.25915°W / 34.04491; -118.25915 Coordinates: 34°02′42″N118°15′33″W / 34.04491°N 118.25915°W / 34.04491; -118.25915
Construction started1911
CostUS$1 million
Owner Chetrit Group
Technical details
Floor count9
Design and construction
Architect Harry C. Deckbar
Thornton Fitzhugh
Frank George Krucker

The Trinity Auditorium, later known as the Embassy Hotel, is a historic building in Los Angeles, California, USA. It was built as a plant for the Methodist Episcopal Church, South in 1914. The Los Angeles Philharmonic debuted in this auditorium in 1919. It was used for jazz and rock concerts as well as labor union meetings from the 1920s to the 1950s. It was an annex of the University of Southern California from 1987 to 1998, when it was sold to the New York-based Chetrit Group. As of 2015, it has been vacant for more than a decade, with plans to remodel it into a new hotel.

Church planting is a process that results in a new (local) Christian church being established. It should be distinguished from church development, where a new service, new worship center or fresh expression is created that is integrated into an already established congregation. For a local church to be planted, it must eventually have a separate life of its own and be able to function without its parent body, even if it continues to stay in relationship denominationally or through being part of a network.

The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, or Methodist Episcopal Church South (MEC,S), was the Methodist denomination resulting from the 19th-century split over the issue of slavery in the Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC). Disagreement on this issue had been increasing in strength for decades between churches of the North and South; in 1844 it resulted in a schism at the General Conference of the MEC held in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic is an American orchestra based in Los Angeles, California. It has a regular season of concerts from October through June at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and a summer season at the Hollywood Bowl from July through September. Gustavo Dudamel is the Music Director, Esa-Pekka Salonen is Conductor Laureate, and Zubin Mehta is Conductor Emeritus.



The building is located on the corner of 9th Street and Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles. [1] [2]

Grand Avenue (Los Angeles)

Grand Avenue is a major north-south thoroughfare in Los Angeles, California. In 2007, a $3 billion Grand Avenue Project was proposed to revive Downtown Los Angeles. Details of the development can be found here.

Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood of Los Angeles in Los Angeles, California

Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) is the central business district of Los Angeles, California, as well as a diverse residential neighborhood of some 58,000 people. A 2013 study found that the district is home to over 500,000 jobs. It is also part of Central Los Angeles.

Reverend Charles Claud Selecman. Charles Claud Selecman, pastor of Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church.jpg
Reverend Charles Claud Selecman.


The nine-storey building was constructed with steel and concrete from 1911 to 1914. [2] It was dedicated on September 20, 1914. [3] It cost US$1 million to build. [3] It was designed in the Beaux-Arts architectural style by Frank George Krucker as the main architect, assisted by Thornton Fitzhugh and Harry C. Deckbar. [2]

Beaux-Arts architecture expresses the academic neoclassical architectural style

Beaux-Artsarchitecture was the academic architectural style taught at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, particularly from the 1830s to the end of the 19th century. It drew upon the principles of French neoclassicism, but also incorporated Gothic and Renaissance elements, and used modern materials, such as iron and glass. It was an important style in France until the end of the 19th century. It also had a strong influence on architecture in the United States, because of the many prominent American architects who studied at the Beaux-Arts, including Henry Hobson Richardson, John Galen Howard, Daniel Burnham, and Louis Sullivan.

Thornton Fitzhugh (1864–1933) was an American architect. Among his major works are the Beaux Arts and Romanesque Pacific Electric Building in downtown Los Angeles, California, and a number others which are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

The building was a church planting for the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, [4] with a large auditorium boasting the largest pipe organ in the Western United States and a men-only hotel on the six upper floors (renamed the Embassy Hotel in 1930). [3] It also came with "a cafeteria, roof garden, library, gymnasium, smoking room, bowling alley, nursery, barber shop, hospital and 16 club rooms." [3] The pastor was Reverend Charles Claude Selecman, [3] who later served as the third president of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

Pipe organ wind instrument that produces sound by driving pressurized air (called wind) through pipes selected via a keyboard

The pipe organ is a musical instrument that produces sound by driving pressurized air through the organ pipes selected via a keyboard. Because each pipe produces a single pitch, the pipes are provided in sets called ranks, each of which has a common timbre and volume throughout the keyboard compass. Most organs have multiple ranks of pipes of differing timbre, pitch, and volume that the player can employ singly or in combination through the use of controls called stops.

Western United States Region in the United States

The Western United States is the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States. As European settlement in the U.S. expanded westward through the centuries, the meaning of the term the West changed. Before about 1800, the crest of the Appalachian Mountains was seen as the western frontier. The frontier moved westward and eventually the lands west of the Mississippi River were considered the West.

Charles Claude Selecman American academic and bishop

Charles Claude Selecman (1874–1958) was an American Methodist minister and educator. He served as the third President of Southern Methodist University from 1923 to 1938. In 1938, he was elected as an American bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

Beyond Methodist services, the auditorium was used to show silent films. For example, actress Norma Talmadge watched a film she starred in, The Battle Cry of Peace , in this auditorium in 1915. [3] Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Philharmonic debuted here in 1919. [3] From the 1920s to the 1950s, the auditorium was used as a venue for labor union meetings. [3] Additionally, from the 1930s to the 1950s, jazz artists like Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Charlie Parker performed here. [3] By the 1960s, the auditorium was used for rock concerts. [3]

Norma Talmadge American actress and film producer

Norma Marie Talmadge was an American actress and film producer of the silent era. A major box-office draw for more than a decade, her career reached a peak in the early 1920s, when she ranked among the most popular idols of the American screen.

<i>The Battle Cry of Peace</i> 1915 film by J. Stuart Blackton, Wilfrid North

The Battle Cry of Peace is a 1915 American silent war drama film directed by Wilfrid North and J. Stuart Blackton, one of the founders of Vitagraph Company of America who also wrote the scenario. The film is based on the book Defenseless America, by Hudson Maxim, and was distributed by V-L-S-E, Incorporated. The film stars Charles Richman, L. Rogers Lytton, and James W. Morrison.

Duke Ellington American jazz musician, composer and band leader

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and leader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death over a career spanning more than fifty years.

The building was acquired by the University of Southern California in the 1987, when it was used as a residential building and an annex. [1] They sold it to the Chetrit Group, chaired by Joseph Chetrit, in 1998. [3]

University of Southern California Private research university in Los Angeles, California, United States

The University of Southern California is a private research university in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1880, it is the oldest private research university in California. For the 2018–19 academic year, there were 20,000 students enrolled in four-year undergraduate programs. USC also has 27,500 graduate and professional students in a number of different programs, including business, law, engineering, social work, occupational therapy, pharmacy, and medicine. It is the largest private employer in the city of Los Angeles, and generates $8 billion in economic impact on Los Angeles and California.

Joseph Chetrit is an American real estate investor and developer and founder of the Chetrit Group.

By 2005, the Chetrit Group decided to remodel the building as the Gansevoort West hotel scheduled for 2006. [3] The new hotel was supposed to be an LA version of the Hotel Gansevoort in New York City. [3] However, by 2007, the project had been cancelled. [5] By 2012, the owners decided to turn it into another hotel called the Empire Hotel, [6] with "183 hotel rooms, a groundfloor restaurant, an outdoor garden, a bar, and an entertainment venue." [7] The remodel was still underway in 2014. [7] [8]

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  1. 1 2 "Embassy Hotel & Auditorium". Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. University of Southern California. Retrieved October 10, 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 "Trinity Auditorium Building, Los Angeles, CA". Pacific Coast Architecture Database. University of Washington. Retrieved October 10, 2015.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Vincent, Roger (September 19, 2005). "Another L.A. Comeback: A landmark auditorium will reopen as part of the conversion of a defunct downtown hotel into the Gansevoort West". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 10, 2015.
  4. "Trinity Auditorium Asking Conference for Moral Support". Santa Ana Register. Santa Ana, California. October 25, 1913. p. 1. Retrieved October 10, 2015 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  5. "No Gansevoort for Downtown LA". Curbed. May 15, 2007. Retrieved October 10, 2015.
  6. Broverman, Neal (June 25, 2012). "Grand Ave.'s Trinity Auditorium to Become the Empire Hotel". Curbed . Retrieved October 10, 2015.
  7. 1 2 Barragan, Bianca (March 13, 2014). "Sneak a Look Inside the Beautiful Trinity Auditorium's Slow Transformation Into a Hotel". Curbed . Retrieved October 10, 2015.
  8. Barragan, Bianca (November 21, 2014). "DTLA's Super-Delayed Clark and Embassy Hotels Finally, Actually Moving Forward". Curbed . Retrieved October 10, 2015.