Description

The Forum is the largest and most iconic building in Inglewood. Because of the Forum and the Lakers, Sparks and Kings sports teams who made it their home, Inglewood became known as the 'City of Champions'. The story of the Forum begins with Jack Kent Cooke, the larger than life personality who was a part owner of the Lakers. He wanted to bring the NHL to Los Angeles, planning to install them in the LA Memorial Sports Arena. After he was rebuffed by a competing bid by the Rams, he decided to construct a new, more spectacular arena in Inglewood and promised to have a team ready to play in the Arena by December 31, 1967, less than a year later. This gesture netted him the National Hockey League franchise and the City of Inglewood got the Forum, although at that point he had neither site nor financing. As his architect, he chose Charles Luckman reaching out to him as a man "with a reputation who could solve an impossible problem". There was no time to be lost. Luckman was allocated a month for the design; the building had to be fast tracked which meant that construction would start while design was underway. In his autobiography, Luckman said that he was inspired by the Roman Coloseum thinking that Cook would be a Classicist. A month later, Cooke was shown a rendering of the column free circular building seating 17,000 resting on a podium with a sign calling it the Forum. Cooke declared it fabulous. The name stuck. Cooke was sent off to fulfill his part of the bargain which was that he would leave the design team alone. Needless to say, construction took on a frenzied pace with workers building round the clock. An on-site factory was constructed to create the 60' Romanesque arches which were too big to be transported on the street. Helicopters were even used to deploy the rooftop mechanical units. When the building finally opened on schedule Cooke gave a spectacular New Year's Eve party featuring a ribbon cutting ceremony with an 85 ft long ribbon and a lengthy cast of dignitaries to cut it. One of the first stadiums to have naming rights, the Forum was formally known as the Great Western Forum from 1988 - 2003 due to the sponsorship of Great Western Savings and Loan. Pretty much every performer of note has played there. The lengthy list includes: Steppenwolf, Cream, the Jackson 5, Barbra Streisand, the Eagles, KISS, Fleetwood Mac, and Diana Ross, among others. Major sports events were held. Highlights include the basketball tournament and the finals of Men's team handball for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. By 2000, the Forum was sold and transformed into the Faithful Central Bible Church. In 2012 it was sold to Madison Square Garden in 2012 who embarked on a renovation. The Forum reopened in January, 2014 with an extravaganza featuring six concerts by the Eagles.

Constructed, 1965
Renovation, 2014

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