Eagle Rock Theatre And Art Center 1946



Some millions of years ago a strange combination of geological forces created, in
the foothills of Southern California’s mountains, a gigantic isolated formation, which is
now known as the Eagle Rock. In the state’s pre-Spanish period, this rock was used by the coastal Indians as a landmark and lookout, and its natural caves became their occasional dwelling places. Six years before our colonial forefathers penned the Declaration of Independence, the Eagle Rock was discovered by explorers from Spain. It became a cornerstone marker of the old San Rafael Rancho, granted to the Verdugos by the Spanish king. The bandit Vasquez used it in the 1870’s as a lookout and hiding places following his forays in the sleepy town of Los Angeles, seven miles away. From the shelter of its caves he could see the dust of an approaching posse and had ample time to flee.

For seventy years, in the history of modern Los Angeles, the Eagle Rock has-been a familiar haunt and playground for almost every boy who grew up in the northern portion of the city. On any fine weekend at the present time, it is not uncommon for as many as 200 persons to come up and explore the caves. Members of the Sierra Club, as an annual event, scale the rock’s bold face to test their skill as mountain climbers. Sleepy Los Angeles has grown into a great city, yet a thirteen-acre tract surrounding the Eagle Rock has remained comparatively untouched. The area is rich in the color of California wild flowers and chaparral, and is a natural retreat for birds and wild life. Every type of land bird known to Southern California is said to have been observed here. Deer have been seen recently on the top of the rock itself. Yet this rock today commands a view of great cities- Los Angeles, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Glendale, and Pasadena. Southern California has become metropolitan; yet the rock remains unchanged.

The Eagle Rock also looks out to the Pacific Ocean. Los Angeles today, in addition to being the natural center of America’s Southwest, is the gateway to Mexico and Latin America, and to all the countries of the Pacific basin. It is the plan of the present
owners of the Eagle Rock- Francis and Helen Line-to treat here a regional theatre and art
center which will preserve the rock forever as an historical monument and natural
showplace, and which will enhance its already rich interest and indigenous beauty,


Francis and Helen Line are motion picture photographers and lecturers. Their plan
is to build near the Eagle Rock a “folk” or “regional” theatre. Here they will show their
own natural color motion pictures of the Southwest, of Mexico, and of the countries of the Pacific- of all the areas, in short, of which Los Angeles is the natural gateway. In
connection with each film program, a small group of international dancers will portray the folk dances and customs of the country concerned. The theatre will not be of the ordinary type; it will be built with one side of glass, so that curtains may be drawn to reveal a close-up and breathtaking view of the rock itself, with its huge caves and natural Indian face looking down onto the theatre. This great stone face, incidentally, has never been observed by more than a dozen or so persons, and can be seen only from the location at which the theatre will be built. There will be dramatic lighting effects to reveal the caves and the back of the rock to those within the theatre.  There will be pageantry and special music. Thus each evening’s program will be a combination of colored motion
pictures, folk dancing, music, and dramatic lighting effects. The Lines are considered
among the best colored motion picture photographers in America; two of their present
feature films have just been voted the best in the nation, in competition with films by
such persons as Burton Holmes, Osa Johnson, Julien Bryan, Singapore Joe Fisher, etc. They are still definitely “on the way up” in their profession. They have a sense of the correct and the dramatic and their theatre will present programs, which will be inspiring and powerful in their natural charm.

The entire thirteen acres owned by the Lines around the Eagle Rock will be
landscaped to preserve the beauty of the wild flowers and chaparral. On the lower portion
of the tract an art center will be created, with studios at which artists will live and
where they will produce arts and crafts of the Pacific region. No building will be
constructed in close proximity to the rock itself, or in such a way that its view or beauty
will be marred in any way. Everything, which is done, will enhance the charm of the
surroundings and the entire tract will become a Southern California— perhaps a national-
showplace. As in the past, the rock will continue to be a cornerstone, but of an area with
greatly widened horizons.

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