#TBT South LA: The Shrine Auditorium

The Shrine Auditorium in the 1920s | LA Public Library

The Shrine Auditorium in the 1920s | LA Public Library

Even as University of Southern California students bike past the Shrine Auditorium and Angelenos attend the venue for its frequent raves and award shows, many are not aware of the long history of this distinctive building.

The Shrine Auditorium was first built in its location off of Jefferson and Figueroa in 1906 as a civic center. The Al Malaikah Shriners, a fraternal organization founded in 1871 that contributes to the community with hospitals and other charities, intended the auditorium to be used as a temple and meeting place for the organization.

The auditorium’s Middle Eastern architecture is characteristic of many buildings constructed by Shriners. The auditorium was rebuilt in 1926, after a fire burnt down the original.

With a capacity of 6,300, the Shrine is one of the largest theaters in Southern California. In the eight decades since it has been remodeled, a large amount of widely televised events have taken place, including the NAACP Awards, the Academy Awards and the Grammys. Before the Galen Center was built, the USC men’s basketball team even held some of their games at the Shrine. The Shrine is also the location where Michael Jackson infamously had his hair set on fire while filming a Pepsi commercial.

Most recently, the Shrine hosted 10,000 revelers for a music festival called Supersonico featuring both legendary and up-and-coming latin alternative artists, mostly hailing from Latin America.

The Shrine pictured in 2009 | Waltarrrrr / Flickr

The Shrine pictured in 2009 | Waltarrrrr / Flickr

View Larger Map

Like Intersections on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and sign up for the Newsletter to stay in the loop on news and views from South L.A.

Speak Your Mind