Los Angeles Athletic Club

Los Angeles, California | C.1880

Photo Credit: Josh Telles


The Los Angeles Athletic Club (LAAC) is a privately owned athletic and social club in Los Angeles, California. Established in 1880, it was the first private club in the city, founded when the town only had 11,000 residents and the preferred mode of travel was the stagecoach.

By the end of its first month of existence the fledgling club counted 60 enlisted members. The first gymnasium equipment consisted largely of a trapeze, flying rings, long horse, Indian clubs, and dumbbells; more reminiscent of a circus than a gym.

In 1912, the club moved into its own new location in Downtown Los Angeles. The twelve-story Beaux-Arts style clubhouse was designed for the LAAC by John Parkinson and George Bergstrom, and is a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument. The building was notable for being the first in Southern California to have an interior swimming pool built on an upper floor.

The LAAC had significant success during its first 60 years, with membership reflecting its position in Los Angeles society and early Hollywood culture. During its heyday, the LAAC founded a number of other institutions, including the California Yacht Club (1922) and Riviera Country Club (1926), which are now separate entities.

Athletes from the LAAC have earned numerous medals in the Summer Olympics, with a particularly high number during the 1932 Los Angeles Olympiad. The total Olympic medal tally for the LAAC is 97 medals, including 47 gold.

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