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Know Your City No. 37 – U.S. Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Training Center

Dec. 22, 1955: A cannon sits in front of the entrance to the United States Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Training Center in Chavez Ravine.

This John Malmin photo appeared in the Dec. 24, 1955, Los Angeles Times as part of the Know Your City photography series. The original caption reported:

KNOW YOUR CITY, NO. 37 — Silly to make these things so simple. If the gun doesn’t tip you off, the lettering on the building should. But for those who don’t recognize it, the answer is on Page 18, Part ll.

ANSWER: The one in the picture is not, of course, the only big gun at the United States Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Training Center in Chavez Ravine, the entrance of which is shown in the photo.

The Art Deco Naval and Marine Corps Training Center was built from 1938 to 1941, through the Works Progress Administration. It opened just before World War II. During the war, 20,000 sailors passed through the training center, including reservists Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and director John Ford.

On Feb. 27, 1980, a fire heavily damaged the center. Los Angeles firefighter Frank Hotchkin was killed when a portion of the roof collapsed.

The building is now operated by the Los Angeles City Fire Department at the Frank Hotchkin Memorial Training Facility.

April 22, 1938: Ground is broken on the Naval and Marine Armory in Chavez Ravine near downtown Los Angeles. This photo appeared in the April 23, 1938, Los Angeles Times.

Nov. 28, 1939: The new U.S. Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center nears completion in Chavez Ravine. This photo was published in the Dec. 3, 1939, Los Angeles Times. Credit: Paul Calvert / Los Angeles Times.

Sept. 27, 1980: A fire damages the Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Training Center near Dodger Stadium. This photo appeared in the Sept. 28, 1980, Los Angeles Times. Credit: Larry Sharkey / Los Angeles Times.

Sept. 27, 1980: A firefighter checks the auditorium of the United States Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center in Chavez Ravine. A fire in part of the complex caused $500,000 in damage to the building.  Credit: Barbara Martin / Los Angeles Times.