Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's Official: The Ambassador Hotel School Will Be Named After Robert Kennedy

It obviously makes sense that the high school rising from the ashes of the late, great Ambassador Hotel be named after Robert F. Kennedy. Kennedy, of course, was assassinated at the hotel in 1968, moments after giving a victory speech for winning California's presidential primary.

The historic value of the Ambassador was one of the arguments used in the attempt to save the hotel from destruction. Students might have once been able to go down to the actual pantry where RFK was shot; instead, they'll have to make do with knowing they're on the same grounds.

The Kennedy family weren't so nostalgic about the site, having put their weight behind tearing the hotel down in order to more quickly build a school.

On the bright side, there does seem to be an effort to at least pay tribute to history. The school itself has been built over the exact same footprint as the hotel -- which means it takes the same shape as seen from the street. And the LAUSD has restored the old entryway to how it once looked.

Here's the details from the L.A. Times:

he education complex at the site of the once-grand Ambassador Hotel will be named in honor of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, who was killed there by an assassin in 1968. The long-expected honor, approved by the Los Angeles Unified school board this afternoon, faced no opposition. The discussion quickly evolved into a tribute to the senator, who was cut down as he celebrated his win in the Democratic presidential primary at the storied Wilshire Boulevard hotel.

“We can now continue the legacy of Robert F. Kennedy,” said Kennedy friend Paul Schrade, who has worked with local allies for years to create a school as a fitting memorial for the senator.

The Ambassador school project has become “a symbol of hope for so many of us,” said board member Nury Martinez, who like others struggled to keep her composure.

The effort that resulted in the Kennedy complex began in the 1980s, when the school district battled over the decaying Ambassador Hotel with developer Donald Trump, who wanted to build the world’s tallest building on the site. That tug-of-war persisted for more than a decade, even after Trump ceded his interest to other developers.

I guess that's one other bright spot -- thank goodness Trump's nutty idea of building the world's tallest building on the site never got anywhere.

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