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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Neighborhood Fixture: Silver Lake’s Good Ship Grace

Silver Lake, history ship

The Good Ship Grace is permanently docked in Silver Lake | Marni Epstein

By Marni Epstein

It’s pretty hard to miss a ship that’s run aground on Hyperion Avenue in Silver Lake. So each time that I pass that ship-like structure at 2432 Hyperion I wonder how the odd structure, also known as the Good Ship Grace, drifted out this way.

While Silver Lake is miles away from the coast, that didn’t stop evangelical preacher Paul Myers (aka “First Mate Bob”) and his nautically-themed radio crew though from commissioning  the construction of The Good Ship Grace in 1941, portholes and all. Myers and his crew were part of the Haven of Rest ministries who broadcast a radio show from within the hull of this Streamline Moderne structure. Over time, as the the ministry grew The Good Ship Grace became a religious recording studio as well, according to Los Angeles Magazine.

A New York Times story notes that Myers, who before beginning the ministry had fallen on hard times, received his call to the ministries on the San Diego docks. The nautical theme stuck and thus “First Mate Bob” was born. The building may be in keeping with Myers’ calling, but it  also acutely reflects the Streamline Moderne movement’s devotion to industrial design: motion, speed and (for its time) futuristic technology. The Good Ship Grace conveys these tenets through its curved corners and steel detailing. Characteristics that make this structure particularly eye catching.

For its quintessential design and colorful history, the Good Ship Grace is today a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument (2007). The Haven of Rest ministries operated in the building until 1998 whereupon it moved to Riverside, according to the monument nomination.

At that time, the broadcast studio was purchased by John R. King and Michael S. Simpson, or perhaps better known to music lovers as King Gizmo and E.Z. Mike of The Dust Brothers. The hip-hop producers passed the building on in 2010, again keeping it in musical hands. The building is currently home to an enterprise belonging to Michael Balzary, aka  Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, according to Cortera. The building is not as shipshape as it once was, but the Good Ship Grace continues attract attention as an architectural fantasy.

Neighborhood Fixture  provides a bit of history and background about buildings and places that catch our attention.  Got info about a neighborhood landmark? Send details to hello@TheEastsiderLA.com

Marni Epstein Epstein is an entertainment, music, and lifestyle Journalist and resident of Echo Park. She has previously worked in the film and digital media industries with FOX and Sony Pictures Entertainment. She is currently also pursuing a Masters in Historic Preservation.

6 comments

  1. I’ve always wondered about this place. Thanks for this!

  2. A lot of amazing albums were recorded there in the years leading up to Flea’s purchase. Supposedly, he bought it as a gift for his daughter, yet it was barely ever used after the purchase. Sadly, some good people lost valid music jobs in that purchase for it to just sit there stagnant today. Hopefully one day Flea will sell it to someone who will book sessions again.

  3. I always got a creepy feeling from it. Now I know why.

  4. Thanks for the ‘rest of the story’ about a fascinating building I’ve always wondered about. It would be nice to do something fun with it……I see smiling people leaning on the deck railing, Margaritas in hand!

  5. it’s know as “the boat” amongst engineers, producers, and musicians.

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