From Daisy Dell to the Hollywood Bowl, a Little Musical History for Summer

L.A. as Subject's latest contribution to KCET's SoCal Focus blog looks at the 90-year history of the Hollywood Bowl, the famed outdoor ampitheater nestled in the Hollywood Hills. The post features images from the Hollywood Bowl Museum and other members of the L.A. as Subject research collective.

Every summer, Southern Californians flock to the Hollywood Bowl for evenings of music and picnicking under the stars. As the Los Angeles Philharmonic begins its 90th season at the venue, we look back at the Bowl's history through archived images from the Hollywood Bowl Museum and other L.A. as Subject members.

The Bowl's origins as a musical venue date back to 1919, when the newly-formed Theatre Arts Alliance dispatched two of its members, William Reed and his son H. Ellis, to the Hollywood Hills to find a suitable location for outdoor productions. After a long search, the Reeds finally found their desired site: a shaded canyon and popular picnic spot known as Daisy Dell. Nestled in the hills near the entrance to the Cahuenga Pass, the site was a natural amphitheater, as H. Ellis Reed discovered:

"I scaled a barbed wire fence, went up to the brow of a hill," Reed said. "Dad stood near a live oak in the center of the bowl-shaped area and we carried on a conversation. We rushed back to the Alliance with a glowing report."

Daisy Dell—soon to become known as the Hollywood Bowl—hosted concerts, graduation ceremonies, and other community events in 1920, but it was in 1921 that the Bowl's best-known association began. On March 27, 1921, the outdoor venue hosted its first Los Angeles Philharmonic performance, an Easter sunrise service attended by more than 800 concertgoers. The following year, the Philharmonic played its first official summer season in the Hollywood Bowl.

Keep reading the full post on the KCET website.